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New Worlds: The Americas and
Chapter 24
Intro: Colliding Worlds
• European advantages: technology, divisions
among indigenous peoples, epidemic diseases
• Spanish conquer Aztec and Inca Empires
• Portugal’s sugar plantations in Brazil
• French, English, and Dutch settler colonies
The Spanish Caribbean
• Taino: manioc farmers, small villages with chiefs,
met Columbus (trade, little resistance)
• Spanish arrival: Hispaniola (Santo Domingo) as
base, nothing to trade, wanted gold
– Encomienda system: gold mines
– Small pox ravaged Taino population
• By mid-1500s, focus shifted to Mexico and Peru
for silver
• English pirates, then (1640s), French, English,
Dutch plantations (enslaved Africans)
The Conquest of Mexico and Peru
• Early 1500s: conquistadors in Mexico, then
Central and South America
• 1519-21: Cortes defeated Aztecs (invasion, then
siege of Tenochtitlan)
• 1532-33: Pizarro defeated Incas
• Advantages: weapons and horses, support of
imperial enemies, epidemic disease
• Looted, gave land and labor rights to their men
Iberian Empires in the Americas
• By 1570: formal Spanish rule (bureaucrats)
• Mexico City, New Spain (Mexico) and Lima, New
Castile (Peru)
– Each had a viceroy responsible to the king (little
control) and audiencias to keep them in check
– Difficult to govern without communication and
transportation systems -> local areas governed by
audiencias or town councils
• New cities: as migrants increased, bureaucracy
and territory increased
Iberian Empires (cont.)
• Portuguese Brazil: 1494 – Treaty of Tordesillas
(divided Atlantic between Spain and Portugal)
– Early, land grants to nobles to develop and colonize ->
sugar plantations
– Later, governor to oversee and implement royal policy
• Iberian Empires: European-style cities, indigenous
lifeways persisted in rural areas
– Spain and Portugal: focus on exploitation and
administration (not settlement and colonization – but
there were many migrants)
Settler Colonies in North America
• 1500s: Spain sought opportunities in north (towns,
forts, missions)
• Mid-1500s: Dutch, French, and English in mid-Atlantic
(fish and NW passage)
• Early 1600s: colonies (difficult life), funded by private
investors, subject to royal authority, governed by
local assemblies
– Natives didn’t “own” land, so they cleared it and used it
(legitimized with treaties, and progress)
– Some clashes with natives; pop decreased due to diseases
and conflict
Intro: Colonial Societies in the
• Relations between Natives, Europeans, and
Africans -> mixed societies and ethnic groups
• But, Europeans dominated political and economic
affairs (mining, cash crop farming, trapping)
Formation of Multicultural Societies
• Lots of mixing between European men and native
women -> mestizo population
– Europeans + Africans = mulattoes
– Natives + Africans = zambas (Brazil = more diverse than
Spanish areas)
• Social Hierarchy: Euro. migrants = peninsulares,
American-born = criollos, mestizos, mulattoes and
zambas, slaves
• Sexual hierarchy: men dominated women, but
depended on ratio of men to women, local economy,
life stage, race and class
North American Societies
• French and English colonies: more women (-> less
ethnic mixing)
– But, French men sometimes mixed with native women
around trading posts
– Very little in English colonies (due to racism); did not
accept or acknowledge people of mixed parentage
Mining and Agriculture in the Spanish
• Silver:
– northern Mexico (Zacatecas): used indigenous,
voluntary labor
– Central Andes (Potosi): voluntary labor and mita (each
native village had to send 1/7 of male pop. To work for
4 months in the mines) – low wages, bad conditions
• Supported Spanish American economy and
stimulated global economy (European markets,
traded to Asia for luxury goods, Manila galleons)
The Hacienda
• Site of agriculture and craft production in New
• Labor: first – encomienda, after 1550s – less labor,
more tribute required, later – debt peonage
• Resistance: rebellion, feet-dragging, retreat
Sugar and Slavery in Portuguese Brazil
• Portugal focused on sugar production and export
• Instead of indigenous labor (resisted/retreated/
died), 1530s - enslaved Africans
• Poor conditions -> high disease and mortality rate > constant demand
• Sugar requires lots of work to make (agri/indust)
Fur Traders in N. America
• Fur was very lucrative – high demand in Europe
• Made way into interior and set up trading posts
(natives trapped, Europeans traded wool blankets,
iron pots, guns, alcohol)
• Competition, demand, declining beaver pop. ->
conflict (between native groups and between
Settlers in North America
• Bigger threat to native lifeways – displaced
populations, took hunting grounds
• Cash crops (tobacco; later – rice, indigo, cotton)
– Labor: at first - indentured servants from Europe, early
1600s – African indentured servants, late 1600s –
slaves (esp. in South, but the north was involved in
slave trade)
Christianity and Native Religions in the
• Spanish missionaries: Franciscans, Dominicans,
and Jesuits represented the crown
– Tried to convert: learned languages, history, etc.
– Some resistance, but many converted, but
incorporated their own interests and needs
– In Mexico, Virgin of Guadalupe became popular
national symbol
• French and English missionaries: difficult
(nomadic) and English Prot weren’t really
interested (French Cath – some success)
Intro: Europeans in the Pacific
• Later than in Americas, but similar
transformations (esp. epidemic disease)
– 16th-18th centuries: exploration
– Late 18th century: permanent settlements
– 19th-20th centuries: intense interaction
Australia and the Larger World
• Early 1600s: Dutch VOC authorized exploration
but found nothing of interest
• Mid-1600s: scouted coasts -> New Holland
– Brief landfalls and encounters with locals
• 1770: Cook visited and determined Botany Bay
was suitable for settlement
• 1778: British penal colony at Sydney, plus free
settlers; little contact with aboriginal people
The Pacific Islands and the Larger
• Mostly, no big changes until 19th and 20th
centuries: limited visiting and trading (French –
Tahiti, English – Cook in Hawaii)
• Exceptions: Guam and Mariana Islands
– Marianas: 1521, Magellan and 1565, Manila galleons > contact, brief visits
– Guam: 16th century, galleons took on provisions and
traded with Chamorro ; 1670s-80s, Spain consolidated
power, under viceroy of New Spain; 1700, Spanish
garrisons and relocation of natives