SPANISH Foreign Minister Josep Borrell should apologise and be educated for claiming that only “four Indians” were killed in the fight for US independence.

The criticism came after he remarked during an event at Madrid University: “Why has the US a higher level of political integration? Firstly, they all speak the same language. And secondly, they have practically no previous history. They got independence with practically no history. All they did was kill four Indians.”

Borrell later tried to backtrack on social media, after he faced fierce criticism.

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Ciudadanos (Citizens) Party cited a March report which showed there had been 1500 wars or attacks on native Americans. By the end of the 19th century, it said only 238,000 of the native population remained from an estimate of 15 million in 1492.

Executive director of the Association of American Indians, Shannon Keller O’Loughlin, told the Catalan News Agency (CAN) that Borrell was “misinformed” about US history, and said he should look at Spanish museums, where he would find “stolen cultural heritage, sacred objects and ancestral remains”, stolen and looted from the American Indians.

She added: “To apologise, he would have to repatriate our cultural and ancestral heritage.

“Perhaps he needs a full education about the millions of American Indians that were slaughtered, ravaged by disease, dispossessed of their lands, graves robbed and children kidnapped.”

The blunder capped a bad week for Borrell, who was fined €30,000 (£26,700) by the National Securities Market Commission for using insider information – which he denied – to sell shares in tech multinational Abengoa.