Spanish settlements. Finally, the Arawaks fought back. Their sticks and stones were no
more effective against the armed and clothed Spanish, however, than the earthlings' rifles
against the aliens' death rays in War of the Worlds.
The attempts at resistance gave Columbus an excuse to make war. On March 24, 1495, he
set out to conquer the Arawaks. Bartolome de Las Casas described the force Columbus
assembled to put down the rebellion. "Since the Admiral perceived that daily the people
of the land were taking up arms, ridiculous weapons in reality… he hastened to proceed
to the country and disperse and subdue, by force of arms, the people of the entire island… For this he chose 200 foot soldiers and 20 cavalry, with many crossbows and small
cannon, lances, and swords, and a still more terrible weapon against the Indians, in
addition to the horses: this was 20 hunting dogs, who were turned loose and immediately
tore the Indians apart." Naturally, the Spanish won. According to Kirkpatrick Sale, who
quotes Ferdinand Columbus's biography of his father: "The soldiers mowed down dozens
with point-blank volleys, loosed the dogs to rip open limbs and bellies, chased fleeing
Indians into the bush to skewer them on sword and pike, and 'with God's aid soon gained
a complete victory, killing many Indians and capturing others who were also killed.' "
Having as yet found no fields of gold, Columbus had to return some kind of dividend to Spain. In 1495 the Spanish on Haiti initiated a great slave raid. They rounded up 1,500 Arawaks, then selected the 500 best specimens (of whom 200 would die en route to Spain). Another 500 were chosen as slaves for the Spaniards staying on the island. The rest were released. A Spanish eyewitness described the event: "Among them were many women who had infants at the breast. They, in order the better to escape us, since they were afraid we would turn to catch them again, left their infants anywhere on the ground and started to flee like desperate people; and some fled so far that they were removed from our settlement of Isabela seven or eight days beyond mountains and across huge rivers; wherefore from now on scarcely any will be had." Columbus was excited. "In the name of the Holy Trinity, we can send from here all the slaves and brazil-wood which could be sold," he wrote to Ferdinand and Isabella in 1496. "In Castile, Portugal, Aragon,.. . and the Canary Islands they need many slaves, and I do not think they get enough from Guinea." He viewed the Indian death rate optimistically: "Although they die now, they will not always die. The Negroes and Canary Islanders died at first."
In the words of Hans Koning, "There now began a reign of terror in Hispaniola."
Spaniards hunted Indians for sport and murdered them for dog food. Columbus, upset
because he could not locate the gold he was certain was on the island, set up a tribute
system. Ferdinand Columbus described how it worked: "[The Indians] all promised to
pay tribute to the Catholic Sovereigns every three months, as follows: In the Cibao,
where the gold mines were, every person of 14 years of age or upward was to pay a large
hawk's bell of gold dust; all others were each to pay 25 pounds of cotton. Whenever an
Indian delivered his tribute, he was to receive a brass or copper token which he must
wear about his neck as proof that he had made his payment. Any Indian found without