This chapter discusses how the conquest of the New World gave rise to vast manhunts that continued for almost four centuries and took place all over the Americas. This was a massive phenomenon with its specially trained dogs, professional hunters, weapons, and culture. As a social phenomenon, Indian hunting was indissolubly a large-scale economic activity, a way of life, and a cruel pleasure, a macabre form of sport—and this was so from the beginning of the conquests. Acquisition hunts were intended to take future slaves. Extermination hunts were entirely different; their main goal was the eradication of the population in order to conquer the territory. These hunts of conquest had to be provided with legitimations, with theories. How could the hunts for Indians be justified? That is where, very early on, philosophers made their entrance.
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