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The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America
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The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  808 ratings  ·  133 reviews
A landmark history — the sweeping story of the enslavement of tens of thousands of Indians across America, from the time of the conquistadors up to the early 20th century

Since the time of Columbus, Indian slavery was illegal in much of the American continent. Yet, as Andrés Reséndez illuminates in his myth-shattering The Other Slavery, it was practiced for centuries as an open s
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published April 12th 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published April 5th 2016)
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Alex Abella Yes, and free blacks also owned slaves. That doesn't take away any of the horror or inhumanity of slavery. The author is just trying to redress the…moreYes, and free blacks also owned slaves. That doesn't take away any of the horror or inhumanity of slavery. The author is just trying to redress the deliberate erasing from memory of the genocidal effects of Anglo domination in the Southwest. For a romantic version of that history, try reading "Ramona." Slow going at first but a real gut wrencher by the end.(less)

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Nancy Oakes
4.5 stars rounded up.

Thinking about the subject of slavery in America will, for most people, conjure up horrific images of Africans taken from homeland and families, packed in confined spaces on ships and enduring unimaginable conditions and treatment once they reach their destination. It is a tragic and vile chapter in our history, and a reminder of the horrors that humans can inflict on other humans in the name of economic power and gain. But, as the author of this book reveals, Africans were
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting piece of non-fiction tackling the issue that is not so widely discussed. I definitely learnt a lot about slavery other than described in novels.
While I found Resendez's book interesting, his argument that enslavement was a major overlooked cause of the decimation of the New World Indian population fell short for me. I was convinced that in the early Columbian period a large segment of natives were worked to death, but the numbers for later periods seemed relatively small. Yes, enslavement of the Indians definitely happened, and the author is correct that most Americans overlook this fact and think of slavery in the United States as a Ne ...more
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Thoroughly researched and extremely informative. Over 100 pages of endnotes with extensive background information, primary source material, and a detailed account of the ‘other’ slavery, which essentially was the precursor to modern human trafficking. Focuses primarily on the Spanish (and later Mexican) aspect of the ‘other’ slavery, as the author is a Mexican historian, with only a portion of the book dealing with American trafficking of Native Peoples or other forms of coerced labor or outrigh ...more
Sara G
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really interesting history of forced servitude (a euphemism for slavery, of course) of the indigenous peoples in North America after European contact. I found some of the author's arguments to be really compelling. For example, the fact that islands like the Bahamas and my own home area of Pinellas County Florida were entirely depopulated of natives, whereas places like Mexico and South America that arguably had as much contact with the Spanish still have many people of native descent, ...more
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: new-mexico
A careful work of scholarship, the author puts to rest any notion that "slavery" in the context of the Indians of the Americas is just "spin." Though different from the enslavement of so many Africans and African-Americans, this very adaptable "other slavery" came first, outlasted the American Civil War, provided the archticture for "Jim Crow" laws, and has echoes in today's human traffiking.

And the book's documentation of New Mexico as a slaving ground for Mexico's silver mines provides a horr
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Exhaustive look at the enslavement of Native American peoples throughout the 16th-19th centuries, it was a difficult read but all-encompassing and interesting at the same time. I feel like I've learned a lot not only about American history but the concept of slavery and how persistent in different forms that it really is.
Resendez’s books is look at the slavery of Indigenous populations in North and South America during the period of colonialization. Most of the book is concerned with such slavery in Mexico and the areas of North America that originally were Spanish before being taken by the US, so the south-Western U.S. He chronicles such slavery both under Spanish and American governance.

The system of slavery that is described is actually more than one system, and what is interesting, at times, is
Darcia Helle
When you hear or see the word 'slavery', what comes to mind? As Andres Resendez points out, the vast majority of us will envision African slaves, over-crowded and disease-ridden boats, and southern plantations. While that is a tragic, inexcusable part of American history, Africans were not the only people enslaved during the early, tumultuous years of America's beginnings. The Native Americans who'd roamed the country freely, who'd called the land their own for centuries before Europeans appeare ...more
Nov 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Perhaps my expectations were raised too high by the intriguing topic and all the awards this book was shortlisted for, but I found it somewhat disappointing. Perhaps "indifferently edited" would be the aptest description? A lot of the material is fairly episodic and seems random in its inclusion. (Similarly, the book luxuriates in a pleasingly large number of maps, but they're often semi-pointless, seemingly not designed to be particularly informative or relevant.) To be fair, Reséndez did an im ...more
Jo Stafford
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In this important history of the enslavement of the Native peoples of the Americas, Andres Resendez takes us through 400 years of the buying and selling of Indian people and the exploitation of their forced labor, from the gold mines of Hispaniola in the 1500s to the silver mines of Mexico in the 1600s and the sprawling ranches of northern California in the 1800s.

There is a wealth of information in this well-researched and enlightening book. Resendez throws new light on the causes of the 1680 P
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's been a long time since I took American History in school, but I know "The Other Slavery" was not only not taught, it wasn't even mentioned which it should have been. Atrocities, mistreatment and dehumanization applied to African as well as Indian slaves; and, not just by the white man. The book takes us from Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand funding exploration of the new world (and the slavers and slavery that became an industry) through the New Mexico, the United States as it was being se ...more
Ai Miller
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting introduction to thinking about enslavement of American Indian people from the beginnings of colonization. Reséndez traces not only explicit enslavement, but also the ways in which enslavers (particularly Spanish enslavers) managed to keep systems of enslavement in place even when laws dictated they should fall apart. Through this analysis, Reséndez makes the systems of enslavement that still exist more legible as such.

His analysis does fail entirely to go into the ways
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The revelation in this book about the unbreakable cycle of slavery in the world is disheartening, but vital. When you eradicate slavery in one area, history demonstrates that a new slavery will be born in its place. That was just one of the profound insights offered in this detailed and well-constructed book. It is a fascinating thought-experiment to imagine how the world would have evolved without slaves since pretty much every mineral, wealth, and product has been (or currently is) a result of ...more
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
While an important part of Mexican and United States history, I found the book to be a bit dry at times. There is a lot of recitation of fact and not as much accounts that keep the reader engaged.
Sep 27, 2018 added it
If this book is to be believed, and I have no reason not to, it's extremely important.
David Dinaburg
Jun 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I spend a lot of time thinking about clichés. I worry that they shape experiences, a rigid form that alters the world to fit the saying. Still, they are such reliable old chestnuts and well-worn codas for a reason. When they break the surly bonds of exact meaning to stand for a lazy linguistic shortcut or in-group meme, the actual core and history behind such phrasings can be lost to the ether. Aside from the panoply of examples I have already thrown at your face, “she makes this look easy” is o ...more
Mj Brodie
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an intense read, partly because I took extensive notes while reading it, but I'm very glad I found this book and read it. The insights I gained into the Native American genocide and the conditions of slavery that prevailed across what was Mexico and eventually became California, New Mexico, Utah and other frontier states are invaluable.

This book exposes the complexity of the relationship between Native American communities and colonists early in American history. Successive
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Probably the best book on the subject out there but one should know a few things about what the author's central thesis is:

1) The definition of slavery is far too narrow. By the author's own admission the period of what we could call chattel slavery - the buying and selling of people, concomitant with the purchasing of their marginal value product, for the term of their life - occurred for a very short period toward the Native American population in the New World (the Spanish crown m
This was really good and exhaustively researched and -- when I stopped posting my rage reactions to twitter every 5 seconds -- was a fairly quick read for such a large tome. But this history is so gross and so angrifying. Everything I learned about the colonization of the Americas was a lie, basically, except for names and dates. Glad I read it, but I'll also be glad to pick up something a bit lighter in tone.

Note: the title implies that this work covers all of the Americas in detail
Harvey Smith
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating book. Prior to reading it, I never thought much about slavery, except maybe black African slaves being enslaved for use in the New World, or eventually, the United States. The topic of slavery is mentioned from time to time in writings about ancient worlds.

So, after emancipation, the new frontiers of the western U.S. couldn't exploit no cost/slave labor to make money, so the Aboriginal Americans were enslaved. Unfortunately the Emancipation Proclamation gave the
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I knew the term and definition of encomienda and thought that attempts of Native American enslavement was unsuccessful prior to reading this book, but gave little thought beyond that. Sadly, even though I teach history I never sought out much more information on the topic. Its sad to think such a dark chapter of history in the Americas lasted for such an immense span of time, and perhaps even sadder that it is discussed and known about so little. This book can be a bit heavy of on historical ter ...more
Ron Turner
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great history of Native American slavery in North America.

The low-level slavery that existed before European contact. Christopher Columbus and his enslavement of the Caribbean that set the precedent for the Spanish to enslave natives for the silver mines in Mexico and the missions of New Mexico. The experiences of frontier explorers, Mormon settlers and American government agents with native slaves in the West.

It asks some important questions. How much of a role did slavery play i
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book, heavily researched and documented but easy to read. The historical story of Indian enslavement in the Americas is eye-opening and offers important missing background to the development of the Caribbean, Latin America and the US Southwest. I was particularly moved by the chapters on New Mexico—especially a different view of the reasons for the 1680 Pueblo uprising—and the history of silver mining in Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico as that explained things in my family genealogy. I highly ...more
May 21, 2016 rated it liked it
In the back on my head, I knew that various native tribes took members of other tribes captive. And I knew that early explorers took natives back to Europe under the guise of discovery, but really as captives. Yet I had no idea how vast and organized the enslavement of Native Americans was. Literally to the extent that whole populations were basically exterminated. And this lasted for hundreds of year, up until far too recently. While this isn't a particularly captivating read, it is very inform ...more
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very few times do I read a book that uncovers virtually new uncharted data. This is the case here when Dr. Resendez delves into the widespread enslavement of Native Americans in the Western Hemisphere for over 400 years. It starts with Christopher Columbus and follows it to the American Southwest in the 1800's. The Spanish deserve the brunt of the blame but also other groups including Native Americans and the Latter Day Saints. A well written and tremendously researched award winning book.
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully well-researched. This is a perfect, not-too-dense insight into the way 'slavery' actually occurs in the colonial and in the modern world. The epilogue is clear and precise, with sharp commentary about the way in which we blind ourselves to the reality of forced labour. My only critique is the occasional repetition of statements previously made... a weird editorial choice, for sure.
Janette Mcmahon
May 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Disappointed as the title was a bit misleading. I expected more about Native American Slavery in the continental US. The author started with Columbus then to Mexico and finally to the Apaches, all of which as been written about ( and I have read before). I do feel the book was well researched and the writing fine, just not what I was hoping for.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
There are probably better and less racist books on this topic out there. Don't know what I was thinking giving anthropologists the benefit of the doubt. From a strictly date and facts perspective I learned quite a bit about the spanish and beyond enslavement of indigenous populations on this continent.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
The scope of this book is impressive and the topic one we barely touch on in the typical US history class. I learned a lot and would recommend this to any looking to advance their knowledge of US history.
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