Objective: To identify and explain significant effects of the European Encounter with the Americas

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Objective: To identify and explain significant effects of the European Encounter with the Americas

Do Now: List several motives for European Exploration.
he Encounter




  1. European Expansion

  1. Early modern empires of Western Europedistinctiveinitiated by maritime expansionAnd conquered territories lay an ocean away

  2. Following Columbus, Spanishfocused empire-building in Caribbean and then in the early 16th century turned towards mainland (Aztecs/Incas)

  3. Portuguese established themselves along the coast of present-day Brazil

  4. Early 17th centuryBritish, French, Dutcheast coast of North America

  5. GeographyCountries on the Atlantic rim of Europe (Portugal, Spain, Britain, France) led the way to Western Hemispherecloser to Americas

  1. Fixed winds of the Atlantic blew steadily in the same direction

  1. Other Factors

  1. European seafaring technology, often from Chinese and Islamic, helped

  2. Ironworking, gunpowder, horses had no parallel in the Americas

  3. Divisions within and between local societiesSubject peoples of the Aztec Empire resented Mexica dominationhelped CortésAnd violent dispute between two rival contenders for the Inca throne, brothers Atahualpa and Huascár helped the European invaders

  1. Most significant of European advantages lay in their germs and disease

  1. Native Americans had no immunitiesdecimated societies

  2. Long isolationlack of most domesticated animalsdevastated by smallpox, measles, typhus, influenza, malaria, yellow fever

  3. In many cases up to 90% of the population diedThe Great Dying

  4. Many died from diseaseMany from hungerToo sick to get food

  1. Great Dying and Labor Shortage

  1. Newcomers, colonizing Europeans and enslaved Africans

  1. Columbian Exchange

  1. Global cultural diffusionplants and animals

  1. American food crops such as corn, potatoes, and cassava spread widely in the Eastern Hemisphereled to great population growth

  2. Potatoes especially allowed Ireland’s population to grow enormously but an airborne fungus, from the Americas, destroyed crop in mid-19th century “Great Hunger” or “Great Famine”

  3. In China, corn, peanuts, and sweet potatoes supplemented rice and wheat to sustain China’s modern population explosion

  4. Never before in human history had such a large-scale and consequential exchange of plants and animals operated to remake the biological environment of the planet

  5. Drove the process of globalization and reshaped the world economy of the early modern era



  1. The Silver Trade

  1. Silver mines of Mexico and Peru fueled transatlantic and transpacific commerce, encouraged Spain’s unsuccessful effort to dominate Europe

  2. Enabled Europeans to buy the Chinese tea, silk, and porcelain

  1. The Transatlantic Slave Trade

  1. The plantation owners of the tropical lowland region needed workers and found them by the millions in Africa

  2. Brought these workers to the colonies, and the sugar and cotton trade

  3. Created a lasting link among Africa, Europe, and the Americas, while scattering peoples of African origin throughout the Western Hemisphere

  1. The Columbian exchange” gave rise to something wholly new in world history; an interacting Atlantic world connecting four continents

  2. Long-term benefits of this Atlantic network were very unequally distributed

  1. Western Europeans were clearly the dominant players/greatest rewards

  1. Mercantilism

  1. Belief: Countries’ economic interests served best by encouraging exports and accumulating bullion (silver and gold)

  2. Colonies provided closed markets for manufactured goods of “mother country” and possibly supplied great quantities of bullion as well

  1. Differences Among Colonial Societies

  1. Settler-dominated agriculture, slave-based plantations, ranching/mining

  2. In former lands of the Aztec and Incas, economic foundation lay in commercial agriculture, on large estates, and silver and gold mining

  1. Native peoples provided laborForced Native American Indian labor known as the Encomienda System in Spanish colonies

  1. Colonial hierarchy

  1. At the top of colonial society were the peninsulares or Spanish settlers

  2. Spaniards born in the Americas (creoles) resented peninsulares

  3. The emergence of a mestizo, or mixed-race population, Spanish-Indian

  4. At the bottom were indigenous peoples, known as “Indians”

  1. Indians were subject to gross abuse and exploitation

  2. Many learned Spanish and converted to Christianity

  3. Christian saints blended easily with specialized indigenous gods

  1. In Brazil, ruled by Portugal, and in the Spanish, British, French, and Dutch colonies in the Caribbean, sugar became an important cash crop

  1. Massive use of slave laborBrazilian slave owners calculated the useful life of their slaves at just seven yearsBut more slaves were voluntarily set free in Brazil than in North America

  2. Color in Brazil and Latin America was only one criterion of class status

  1. Third type of colonial society in British colonies of New England, New York, and PennsylvaniaNumerous small-scale and independent farmers

  1. A largely Protestant England

  1. Preferring to rely on joint stock companies or wealthy individuals operating under a royal charter, Britain had nothing resembling the elaborate bureaucracy that governed Spanish colonies



  • What enabled Europeans to carve out huge empires an ocean away from their homelands?

  • What large-scale transformation did European empires generate?

  • What was the economic foundation of colonial rule in Mexico and Peru?  How did it shape the kinds of societies that arose there?

  • How did the plantation societies of Brazil and the Caribbean differ from those of southern colonies in British North America?

  • What distinguished the British settler colonies of North America from their counterparts in Latin America?

  1. Most sugar plantations in the New World were located in

  1. The southern British colonies and Mexico

  2. The Caribbean and Peru

  3. The French colonies in North America and Brazil

  4. New Granada and la Plata

  5. The Caribbean and Brazil

  1. Which of the following had the highest social status in Latin American colonies?

  1. Peninsulares

  2. Creoles

  3. Amerindians

  4. Mestizos

  5. Mulattos

  1. Which of the following areas was probably the destination for the MOST slaves during the period 1450 to 1750?

  1. Brazil

  2. British West Indies

  3. French West Indies

  4. Spanish America

  5. Southern British colonies

  1. Which of the following is the clearest example of Portuguese and Spanish ethnocentrism during the late 15th century?

  1. The Columbian Exchange

  2. The Treaty of Tordesillas

  1. Which of the following most accurately compares the relationship that English and Spanish colonists had with Amerindians?

  1. Both English and Spanish colonists rejected Amerindian crops and planting techniques

  2. The English colonists dominated Amerindians; Spanish colonists pushed Amerindians out of the way.

  3. The English colonists pushed Amerindians out of the way; the Spanish colonists put Amerindians to work for them.

  4. English colonists were more likely to marry Amerindians than the Spanish colonists were.

  5. The English colonists were more interested in converting Amerindians to Christianity than Spanish colonists were.

  1. Why did the production of sugar differ from that of other agricultural commodities of the western hemisphere?

  1. Sugar production was particularly hard on the environment.

  2. Sugarcane required extensive processing to turn it into a profitable export.

  3. African slaves were the only ones who knew how to grow sugarcane.

Excerpt from Digitalhistory.uh.edu

Primary Source: Bartolomé de las Casas
Among other massacres was one which took place in Cholula, a great city of some thirty thousand inhabitants. When all the dignitaries of the city and the region came out to welcome the Spaniards with all due pomp and ceremony, the priests to the fore and the high priest at the head of the procession, and they proceeded to escort them into the city and lodge them in the houses of the lord and the leading citizens, the Spaniards decided that he moment had come to organize a massacre (or "punishment" as they themselves express such things) in order to inspire fear and terror in all the people of the territory. This was, indeed the pattern they followed in all the lands they invaded: to stage a bloody massacre of the most public possible kind in order to terrorize those meek and gentle peoples. What they did was the following. They requested the local lord to send for all the nobles and leading citizens of the city and of all the surrounding communities subject to it and, as soon as they arrived and entered the building to begin talks with the Spanish commander, they were seized without anyone outside getting wind of what was afoot. Part of the original request was they should bring with them five or six thousand native bearers and these were mustered in the courtyards when and as they arrived. One could not watch these poor wretches getting ready to carry the Spaniards' packs without taking pity on them, stark naked as they were with only their modesty hidden from view, each with a kind of little net on his shoulders in which he carried his own modest store of provisions. They all got down on their haunches and waited patiently like sheep. Once they were all safely inside the courtyard, together with a number of others who were also there at the time, armed guards took up positions covering the exits and Spanish soldiers unsheathed their swords and grasped their lances and proceeded to slaughter these poor innocents. Not a single soul escaped…
....The pretext upon which the Spanish invaded each of these provinces and proceeded to massacre the people and destroy their lands--lands which teemed with people and should surely have been a joy and a delight to any true Christian--was purely and simply that they were making good the claim of the Spanish Crown to the territories in question. At no stage had any order been issued entitling them to massacre the people or to enslave them. Yet, whenever the natives did not drop everything and rush to recognize publicly the truth of the irrational and illogical claims that were made, and whenever they did not immediately place themselves completely at the mercy of the iniquitous and cruel and bestial individuals who were making such claims, they were dubbed outlaws and held to be in rebellion against His Majesty.

Thesis Statement: Comparative: For the period from 1500 to 1830, compare North American racial ideologies and their effects on society with Latin American/Caribbean racial ideologies and their effects on society.
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