Yesterday, I snarked about the American Indians, how they were still in the Stone Age when the Europeans showed up.
I don't like to camp. I don't like setting up tents, I don't like sleeping on the ground and I really, really hate striking camp before leaving. If it was up to me, whenever we camped, we'd just leave our gear behind us when we got tired of living in dirt. Which, for me, would be 2 days at most.
Where do I get off sneering at people who lived in dirt every day? I'd have been contemplating suicide after a month if I had to live like they did. Geeze, the fact that the Kumeyaay survived at all in the desert that is San Diego was one heck of an accomplishment. That they didn't know PHP and MySql is not something to laugh at.
But that's the whole point of the snark. The same goes for the Spaniards. At the time of Columbus' voyage, the Spanish had just completed an existential struggle with the Moors. As in lots of people dying from blunt instruments hitting their heads and sharp and pointy things impaling their bodies. Infections were often deadly and breech births were a death sentence for a woman. Who are we to act all high and mighty about them when most of us couldn't live like that for even a couple of days? The hardships of their day-to-day lives are inconceivable to us.
And yet, the Europeans not only had writing, but sophisticated theology, impressive engineering, fine literature and the foundations of modern science. For cryin' out loud, let's give the poor devils a break and get off this kick of judging them by 2015 standards.