Of course there’s also some evidence that the Indians that sold Manhatten didn’t actually live there. In which case even a pittance (which it really wasn’t, by the standards of the time) would have been a great deal for them. Cecil also points out that the Raritans sold Staten island no less than six times.
If the Indians had no concept of “ownership” then we certainly couldn’t have been “buying” land with beads and boomsticks the way it is implied. Anyways, my original question is if there is a popular misconception that this is more or less what we did. I seem to recall that white guilt over murdering Indians and putting them on reservations goes at least as far back to my youngest days in school (late 70s).
Different situation, our modern concept of property addresses things like litigation and taxation. I imagine the original deal was more along the lines of “you’re here right now, what will it cost us to make you not attack?”
Nobunaga was just a small-time feudal leader until he bought guns from the portugese. Then he wound up taking over most of Japan. Don’t underestimate the power of gun.
As seen in Kagemusha!