File Name: conquest and commerce spain and england in the americas .zip
- Portuguese Exploration and Spanish Conquest
- Spanish colonization of the Americas
- Slavery in colonial Spanish America
- Introduction: The Making and Unmaking of an Atlantic World
Beginning in the fifteenth century, people, plants, pathogens, products, and cultural practices — just to mention some key agents — began to move regularly back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean. As the connections and exchanges deepened and intensified, much was transformed. New peoples, economies, societies, polities, and cultures arose, particularly in the lands and islands touched by that ocean, while others were destroyed.
Portuguese Exploration and Spanish Conquest
In , no European knew that North and South America existed. By , Spain -- a small kingdom that had not even existed a century earlier -- controlled the better part of two continents and had become the most powerful nation in Europe. In half a century of brave exploration and brutal conquest, both Europe and America were changed forever.
This map of the kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula from to shows the kingdoms of Castile, Aragon, and Portugal. In the s, "Spain" as we think of it today did not exist. The Iberian peninsula, the piece of land that juts out of southwestern Europe into the Atlantic Ocean, included three kingdoms: Aragon, a small kingdom bordering France on the Mediterranean Sea and focused on trade with Italy and Africa; Portugal on the Atlantic coast; and Castile, a large rural kingdom in the middle.
The southern part of Iberia, meanwhile, was under Muslim rule, as it had been for centuries. In the early s, Berber a name given by the Arabs to the North African people living in settled or nomadic tribes from Morocco to Egypt.. Over the following seven and a half centuries, the Christian kingdoms to the north gradually retook control of the peninsula, and by , Muslims controlled only Granada, a small region in the south of present-day Spain. But the Reconquista , or Reconquest, was not complete until The Reconquista was a brutal conflict fueled in part by devotion to Christianity -- not just a war between kingdoms but a crusade against infidels.
In al-Andalus -- the Arabic name for Muslim-controlled Iberia -- Christians and Jews had significant religious freedom. The Christian rulers to the north did not return the favor. The rulers of Spain's kingdoms found that their shared Christianity could unite them and set them apart from the Muslims to the south.
The men who fought in the Reconquista were convinced of their superiority to their enemies who had rejected Christianity, and they developed rules of war based on that superiority -- including the right to enslave the people they conquered.
Once Spain was reconquered, Muslims and Jews were forced to convert to Christianity or be expelled from Spain. The long Reconquista tended to make the Spanish, and especially Castilians, not only strongly devoted to Christianity but militaristic and romantic.
Castile was an agricultural society based on personal relationships, in which a person's reputation and honor were tremendously important. One historian writes that -. Castilian men were tough, arrogant, quick to take offense, undaunted by danger and hardship, and extravagant in their actions.
They would suffer hunger, hardship, extremes of climate, and still fight savagely against great odds Sixteenth-century Spaniards were fascinated with herioc stories, the adventures of perfect knights, ceremonious and courtly behavior, and strange and magical happenings. Finally, the Reconquista was driven by a desire for land and profit. Because kings in the Middle Ages were not as strong or as wealthy as they would later become, most military actions against the Moors were privately financed.
Leaders of armies, since they had risked their own money, won rights to conquered land and a share of conquered peoples' wealth. The reconquerers, in short, were the perfect men to cross a dangerous ocean and conquer a "New World" of dense uncharted forests, tropical diseases, and hostile heathens. They were devoted to God, king, and queen; they were tough; and they were eager for wealth and glory.
And after , with the Reconquista complete, they were in the market for a new crusade. Conveniently enough, Christopher Columbus gave them one. Many books will tell you that Europeans, lacking refrigeration, needed spices to preserve food or to cover up the taste of spoiled food.
Maybe so, but it seems more likely that spices just taste good. Imagine a world without pepper, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, or chiles, in which only herbs and a few spices like caraway were available to season food!
Given such a bland diet, how much would you be willing to pay for a little cinnamon? In the late Middle Ages, Europeans were fascinated with the idea of Asia and its wealth. During the Middle Ages, though, trade and travel between Europe and Asia stopped almost entirely. The Crusades, in which Europeans fought to retake the Holy Land from Muslims, brought them into contact with eastern cultures for the first time in centuries.
They wanted spices, silks, jewels, gold, and other luxury goods from China, India, and the East Indies -- the islands southeast of the Asian continent, including the modern nation of Indonesia. But east Asia lay thousands of miles away, across vast deserts and the Himalaya Mountains, and the road from Europe to China was controlled by foreign rulers and by middlemen who charged money to pass the goods along.
As a result, by the time spices and other goods reached Europe, they were extremely expensive. Portugal, which had completed its own Reconquest in the thirteenth century, was the first European nation to try to trade directly with Asia.
In Bartolomeu Dias sailed all the way around the southern tip of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope, proving that there was an ocean route around the continent. In , Vasco da Gama followed Dias' route, then sailed north and east to India -- opening up the riches of Asia to Portugal. In , Christopher Columbus, a sailor from Genoa then an independent city-state in northern Italy , convinced Isabella and Ferdinand to finance a voyage across the Atlantic to Asia.
Although it was widely accepted in Europe by this time that the earth was round, scholars disagreed about the size of the globe. Columbus argued that the riches of China and the East Indies lay only 2, miles to the west of Spain -- making the Atlantic Ocean about the width of the Mediterranean Sea -- but most others said it was much farther.
Finally, the new monarchs of reconquered Spain, eager for new sources of wealth and opportunities to spread Christianity, decided to give him a chance. They named him governor of any new lands he discovered and promised him a ten percent share in their wealth, sent him to sea -- and, quite possibly, expected never to see him again. Columbus was wrong, of course -- bold enough to sail thousands of miles into uncharted waters, but completely mistaken in his geography.
Asia lies more than 12, miles west of Europe, and had the Americas not been waiting in the middle, Columbus would never have reached land. He reached the Bahamas instead, more or less where he thought the East Indies should have been, and after three more voyages to the Caribbean and the coast of South America he died in still believing he had been exploring mainland Asia. But Columbus' incredible and lucky mistake turned out to be one of the most important events in the history of human civilization.
The world's two great land masses -- North and South America in the western hemisphere and Europe, Asia, and Africa in the eastern hemisphere -- had been isolated from each other for 10, years. In the hundreds of thousands of years before that, the two halves of the world had evolved different animals, plants, and microbes. Over the millenia , the human inhabitants of the "old" and "new" worlds developed vastly different cultures, languages, and religions; they found different ways of adapting to their different envinronments; and their bodies over hundreds of generations became resistant to the diseases of their different worlds.
When the two great land masses were rejoined by European exploration, the resulting exchange of people, crops, animals, ideas, and diseases -- called the "Columbian exchange" -- changed both worlds forever. But they didn't stay long, and they didn't spread word of their discovery in Europe.
There are also theories that Chinese explorers found the west coast of North America sometime before Columbus' journey, but if the stories are true, the Chinese, like the Vikings, returned home without making an impact on either continent. Immediately, the Spanish set about conquering the world they had discovered. Within a hundred years this small European nation had claimed the better part of two continents. They relied on a combination of military superiority, occasional diplomacy , luck -- and their greatest ally, disease.
Then, convinced that the peoples of the Americas were uncivilized heathens, they set about destroying much of what they found. This painting depicts Columbus' arrival in the New World.
Columbus easily dominated the peoples of the Caribbean, who were for the most part friendly and peaceful. They practiced advanced agriculture, traded extensively among the islands, and had a great deal of leisure time. Columbus, believing he was off the coast of India, called them "Indians" and hoped they would be faithful subjects of Ferdinand and Isabella. But faithful subjects, to Columbus, would convert to Christianity and grow crops that would make money for Europeans. In his journal, he wrote,.
It seemed to me that they were a people who were very poor in everything. They go as naked as their mothers bore them, even the women, though I only saw one girl, and she was very young.
All those I did see were young men, none of them more than thirty years old They do not carry arms and do not know of them, because I showed them some swords and they grasped them by the blade and cut themselves out of ignorance They ought to make good slaves for they are of quick intelligence, since I notice that they are quick to repeat what is said to them, and I believe that they could very easily become Chirstians, for it seemed to me that they had no religion of their own.
God willing, when I come to leave I will bring six of them to Your Highnesses so that they may learn to speak To a European, a "civilized" person was someone who lived in a house, ate his meals at a table -- and, certainly, wore full clothes! These nearly naked people with no understanding of metal weapons must have seemed incredibly primitive to Columbus and his men -- like something, perhaps, out of the Garden of Eden. If the people of the "Indies" were so poor and uncivilized, Columbus believed he had every right to take their land and make them into "servants.
Columbus' legacy is a complicated one. Smallpox was endemic to Europe and Asia -- it was common there, and over thousands of generations people had built up a resistance to it. Even so, it was a fast-spreading, deadly disease. As late as the eighteenth century, hundreds of thousands of Europeans died of smallpox each year.
With the native population gone, the Spanish began to import slaves from Africa to grow their sugar cane -- beginning an institution that would create misery and profit in the Americas for almost years. This map shows the extent of the Aztec empire before its conquest by the Spanish. Within two years his conquistadores , conquerors, had won control of the Aztec kingdom that spanned most of present-day Mexico and Central America.
The Aztec empire, unlike the small tribes that dotted the Caribbean -- and more than a little like Spain -- was a complex state built on military conquest. It seems incredible that so few men could conquer so great an empire, but its centralized authority -- its vast territory was ruled by one man from a single city -- actually made it easier to conquer.
Once the capital was taken and the emperor captured, the entire empire fell under Spanish control. Of course, the conquistadores had other advantages -- some of them accidental. Map showing the extent of the Inca Empire in South America.
Like the Aztecs of Mexico, the Incas of Peru controlled a vast empire with great riches, including the gold and silver the Spanish desperately wanted. The Incas maintained their power by forcing conquered peoples to adopt their language and religion. To manage their empire, they built a network of roads through the Andes mountains. Also like the Aztecs, the Incas fell quickly to the Spanish. Francisco Pizarro landed in Peru in , and his small army with their steel weapons, armor, and horses dominated the Incas in battle.
Disease had already spread south from Mexico and weakened the Inca people. Pizarro captured the Inca emperor, Atahualpa, and quickly took control of the empire. Within a few decades, the Spanish controlled most of South America. The many Aztec gods demanded human sacrifice -- to ensure that the sun would coninue to rise in the morning, to grant fertility , or to guarantee a good harvest. The Aztecs fought wars with neighboring peoples to capture victims for sacrifice.
In the most famous ritual, the victim was spread-eagled on a round stone atop a great pyramid while a priest cut out his heart and offered it, still beating, to the god Huitzilopochtli.
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Roanoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina, is settled by the first English colonists in America — with disastrous results. A new group of English settlers arrives at Roanoke Island and makes a second attempt at a settlement. An English ship, the first to arrive at Roanoke Island since , finds no remaining trace of the settlers or their settlement. Colonists establish the first lasting British settlement in the new world, at Jamestown. Go to Jamestown in World Encyclopedia 1 ed.
Conquest and Commerce: Spain and England in the Americas. (Studies in Social Article PDF first page preview. Article PDF first page.
Slavery in colonial Spanish America
Portuguese colonization of Atlantic islands in the s inaugurated an era of aggressive European expansion across the Atlantic. In the s, Spain surpassed Portugal as the dominant European power. This age of exploration and the subsequent creation of an Atlantic World marked the earliest phase of globalization , in which previously isolated groups—Africans, Native Americans, and Europeans—first came into contact with each other, sometimes with disastrous results.
The Spanish colonization of the Americas began under the Crown of Castile and spearheaded by the Spanish conquistadors. The Americas were invaded and incorporated into the Spanish Empire , with the exception of Brazil , British America , and some small regions in South America and the Caribbean. The crown created civil and religious structures to administer this vast territory. The main motivations for colonial expansion were profit through resource extraction  and the spread of Catholicism through indigenous conversions. Beginning with the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean and gaining control over more territory for over three centuries, the Spanish Empire would expand across the Caribbean Islands , half of South America, most of Central America and much of North America.
Slavery in the Spanish American colonies was an economic and social institution which existed throughout the Spanish Empire.
Introduction: The Making and Unmaking of an Atlantic World
John T. Juricek, James Lang. Conquest and Commerce: Spain and England in the Americas.
E-mail: b. At its inception, the idea of civilization was imbued with a sense of progress, peace, and optimism. The historical record, however, belies much of this sense of optimism.
Hispanic American Historical Review 1 May ; 56 2 : — This book is a stimulating and evocative comparison of English and the Spanish colonial societies from the beginning of settlement until independence. The author is a young, historically oriented sociologist trained at Michigan and now teaching at Vanderbilt. Although a separate section is devoted to each colonial society, the concluding chapter concisely highlights the dramatically divergent contrasts between the two. Among those patterns analyzed are: How effectively did organized colonial groups challenge metropolitan authority, and what form did resistance to royal power take? What sources of wealth did each central government aspire to dominate? Spain sent bishops, priests and bureaucrats to the New World; the English dispatched customs officials.
Into the "New World"
In , no European knew that North and South America existed. By , Spain -- a small kingdom that had not even existed a century earlier -- controlled the better part of two continents and had become the most powerful nation in Europe. In half a century of brave exploration and brutal conquest, both Europe and America were changed forever. This map of the kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula from to shows the kingdoms of Castile, Aragon, and Portugal. In the s, "Spain" as we think of it today did not exist. The Iberian peninsula, the piece of land that juts out of southwestern Europe into the Atlantic Ocean, included three kingdoms: Aragon, a small kingdom bordering France on the Mediterranean Sea and focused on trade with Italy and Africa; Portugal on the Atlantic coast; and Castile, a large rural kingdom in the middle.
Western colonialism , a political-economic phenomenon whereby various European nations explored, conquered, settled, and exploited large areas of the world. With these events sea power shifted from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic and to the emerging nation-states of Portugal, Spain , the Dutch Republic , France , and England. By discovery, conquest, and settlement, these nations expanded and colonized throughout the world, spreading European institutions and culture. Medieval Europe was largely self-contained until the First Crusade —99 , which opened new political and commercial communications with the Muslim Near East. Although Christian crusading states founded in Palestine and Syria proved ephemeral , commercial relations continued, and the European end of this trade fell largely into the hands of Italian cities.