ESPIRIT Chart on Spanish conquest

MI: The Spanish colonization used coerced laborers or slaves to create plantations and mine deposits of precious metals or diamonds, which led to a commercial system.
  • The merchants of Spain had extensive experience with the slave trade and plantation agriculture on the earlier colonized Atlantic islands.
  • The state continued to extract labor and taxes from Indians, who worked in mines and other state projects. Many Indians, to escape forced labor, fled their villages to work for wages from landowners or urban employers.
  • The Spanish maritime commercial system was organized around the exchange of New World precious metals, especially silver, for European manufactured goods.
  • The exchange made Latin America a dependent part of the world system.
  • Potosí in Bolivia was the largest mine, and Zacatecas in Mexico, resulted in the creation of wealthy urban centers.
  • Mines were worked by Indians, at first through forced methods and later for wages.
  • Private individuals worked the mines at their expense in return for giving the crown one fifth of production.
  • The government had a monopoly on the mercury used. The industry, dependent on a supply of food and other materials for workers, was a stimulus for the general economy.
  • Using Indian and mixed-ancestry workers, they produced grains, grapes, and livestock primarily for consumers in the Americas.
  • The haciendas became the basis of wealth and power for a local aristocracy. In some regions, there was competition between haciendas and Indian farmers.
  • All trade was reserved for Spaniards and was funneled through Seville and Cádiz. A board of trade controlled commerce with the Indies.
  • The board often worked with a merchant guild (consulado) in Seville that had extensive rights over American trade.
  • Private investment under royal contract, and a trade in gold and slaves proved unworkable, and a more extensive colonization pattern quickly developed.
  • The agricultural Taino Indians of the islands provided enough surplus labor to make their distribution to individual Spaniards feasible, and thus began what would become the encomienda, or grants of Indians to individual Spaniards in a kind of serfdom.
  • Gold hunting, slaving, and European diseases rapidly depopulated the islands, and there were little left there to hold Spanish attention by the time of Hernan Cortes's conquest of Mexico.
MI: A first conquest period between 1492 and 1570 established the main lines of administration and economy. In the second period, lasting to 1700, colonial institutions and societies took definite form. The third period, during the eighteenth century, was a time of reform and reorganization that planted seeds of dissatisfaction and revolt.
  • Diseases and internal divisions and rivalries within Indian empires so could divide and conquer -New empires examples of gunpowder plus metal equipment, horses and pool of diseases.
  • In place of slavery, the government awarded encomiendas (land grants) to conquerors who used their Indians as a source of labor and taxes.
  • To protect their silver fleets from rivals and pirates, the Spanish organized a convoy system made possible by the development of heavily armed galleons.
  • Spain's wealth depended more on taxes than on American silver, although the prospect of its continuing import stimulated unwise government spending.
  • The Spanish empire became a bureaucratic system built on a juridical core of lawyers letrados who had both legislative and administrative authority.
  • The king ruled from Spain through the Council of Indies; in the Americas there were viceroyalties based in Mexico City and Lima.
  • The viceroys, high-ranking nobles, represented the king and had extensive legislative, military, and judicial powers. The viceroyalties were divided into ten divisions run by royal magistrates.
  • At the local level, other magistrates, often accused of corruption, managed tax and labor service regulations.
  • The spanish created the encomeinda then the mita to tax Indians and make them work.
  • Recopilancion codified the laws and the basis for the governement the colonies.
  • The king ruled the councils of the Indies in Spain issued laws and advised them.
  • Mexico and Peru, with their large sedentary populations and mineral resources, attracted the Spaniards and became, after the short initial Caribbean stage, the focus of immigration and institution building.
  • The Inca capital of Cuzco, high in the Andes, fell in 1533, but the Spanish decided to build their major city, Lima, closer to the coast.
MI: Iberian Society and Tradition. The natives lives changed forcing many of them into labor. The distinctive features of Iberian societies became part of their American experience. It was influenced by growing racial categories.
  • They were heavily urban; many peasants lived in small centers.
  • Commoners coming to America sought to become nobles holding Indian-worked estates.
  • Strong patriarchal ideas were reflected in the family life, which was based on encomiendas, large estates worked by Indians. The Iberian tradition of slavery came to the New World.
  • Indian women suffered sexual exploitation from Europeans, and the crown sponsored marriages in a society where there were few European women.
  • The result was mestizo population possessing higher status than Indians.
  • A similar process occurred in colonies with large African slave populations.
  • Europeans were always at the top; African slaves and Indians occupied the bottom.
  • Mestizos filled the intermediate categories. Restrictions were placed on mixed-origin people, but social mobility was not halted.
  • Over time, distinctions grew between Spaniards born in Spain (peninsulares) and the New World (Creoles).
  • The latter dominated local economies and developed a strong sense of identity that later contributed to independence movements.
  • Society as a whole remained subject to Iberian patriarchal forms.
  • Women were under male authority; upper-class women were confined to household occupations, but many from the lower class participated in the economy.
  • The patriarchal family was readily adapted to Latin America, where large estates
    and grants of Indian laborers, or encomiendas, provided the framework for
    relations based on economic dominance.
  • Multiracial societies were created in which hierarchies of color, status and occupation all operated. (Sociadad de castas based on racial origins.)White on top then black slave then the Natives any mix is in the middle.
MI: Religion and the Catholic Church were closely linked to the state.
  • The Church was represented at first and then missionaries such as Dominicans participated in interprises.
  • Converting Indians to Christianity was a necessary duty. In 1550, the Spanish ruler convoked a commission to rule on such issues.
  • Father Bartolomé de las Casas defended the Indians, recognized them as humans, and argued that conversion had to be accomplished peacefully.
  • The activities of men such as the Dominican friar Bartolome de Las Casas (1484-1566), a conquistador turned priest, initiated the struggle for justice that was also to repeat itself elsewhere in the Indies.
  • The clergy performed both secular and religious functions.
  • They converted Indians and established Christian villages.
  • Some defended Indian rights and studied their culture.
  • In core areas, the formal institutional structure of the church eventually prevailed; since the state nominated church officials, they tended to support state policies.
  • The Jesuits were expelled from Spain and the empire in 1767, but the church remained an ally of the regime.
  • Although the Americans Indians usually were exempt from jurisdiction Jews, protestant, ans other religious were prosecuted to impose Orthodoxy.
MI: The church profoundly influenced colonial cultural and intellectual life through architecture, printing, schools, and universities.
  • Sharp social divisions among colonial groups hindered effective revolutionary action until Spain and Portugal were weakened by European political and social turmoil.
The second trajectory of conquests led from the Caribbean outposts to the coast of northern South America and Panama.
  • The pattern of European concentration on areas of denser Indian populations was already forming.
  • The destruction of the Indians led to further expeditions toward the mainland;
  • It also caused a transformation of the islands' economies toward activities like sugar production, which called forth the African slave trade.
MI: There was limited technological advancement because of the occupation for the Spanish with wealth and Indian conquest.
  • Architecture advancement building of cathedrals and projects.
  • Weaponry and naval ships and navigational tools.
  • firearms, steel weapons give technological edge;
Summary: The Spanish colonization had an impact on the Americas by the adoption of European cultures, technology and crop plantations. The large colonies of Spain provided an important place in the expanding world economy. By the eighteenth century, weakened internal situations allowed European rivals to benefit directly from Iberian colonial trade. Spain had transferred their cultures to the Americas, recreating there a version of Iberian life modified by local influence. Surviving Indian populations adapted to the colonial situation and a distinctive multiracial society emerged that mixed the cultures of all participants. Where slavery prevailed, African cultures played a major role. Latin American civilization was distinct from the West, but related to it. In world markets, Latin American products remained in demand, maintaining a society with its economic life dependent on outside factors.

Notes on Brazil
Brazil: The First Plantation Colony.
MI: The Portuguese reached Brazil in 1500 as Pedro Alvares Cabral voyaged to India. There was little to interest Europeans apart from dyewood trees; In 1494, at the direction of the pope, the Spanish and Portuguese signed the Treaty of Tordesillas, in which the world was divided in half for the two signatories to exploit.
· Merchants received licenses for their exploitation.
· When French merchants became interested, a new system was established in 1532.
· Portuguese nobles were given land grants (captaincies) to colonize and develop.
· Towns were founded and sugar plantations were established using Indian and later African slave workers.
· In 1549, a royal governor created an administration with a capital at Salvador.
· Jesuit missionaries also arrived. Indian resistance was broken by disease, military force, and missionary action.
· Port cities developed to serve the growing number of sugar plantations increasingly worked by African slaves.
The Portuguese produced agricultural surplus when they introduced sugar cane from the Caribbean and slaves from Africa. With these assets, Brazil grew rich and, as more colonists explored the interior, they discovered valuable metals. Portugal focused its colonization efforts on Brazil because the populations of Africa and Asia resisted Portuguese attempts at settlement, though they gladly engaged in trade.
While it was virtually impossible for a nonwhite to attain high political office, whites, natives, and blacks mingled freely in society and culture. The Brazilian Portuguese were as brutal in their treatment of slaves as any owners anywhere, but they treated free blacks with openness. Mixed-race marriages were common, and children of these unions were accepted without social prejudice. Of all the imperial experiences, only the British in New Zealand approached the racial openness of Brazil. Perhaps this was why Brazil did not chafe at Portuguese control; either they enjoyed the public equality or, by being denied education, had little knowledge of nationalism.

Sugar and Slavery
MI: Brazil became the world's leading sugar producer. The growth and processing of sugar cane required large amounts of capital and labor.
· Brazil, with a single crop produced by slave labor, was the first plantation colony.
· In its social hierarchy, white planter families, linked to merchants and officials, dominated colonial life.
· Slaves, composing about one half of the total population at the close of the seventeenth century, occupied the bottom level.
· In-between was a growing population of mixed origins, poor whites, Indians, and Africans who were artisans, small farmers, herders, and free workers.
· Portugal created a bureaucratic administrative structure under the direction of a governor general that integrated Brazil into the imperial system.
· The cores of the bureaucracy were lawyers.
· Regional governors often acted independently and, along with the governor general, reported directly to Lisbon.
· Missionaries had an important role; they ran ranches, mills, schools, and church institutions.
· During the seventeenth century, Brazil became the predominant Portuguese colony.
· It remained closely tied to Portugal; there were no universities or printing presses to stimulate independent intellectual life.
Brazil's Age of Gold
MI: Between 1580 and 1640, Portugal and Brazil shared the same monarch, the Habsburg ruler of Spain. During the seventeenth-century struggles between Spain and Holland, the Dutch occupied part of Brazil until expelled in 1654.
· Meanwhile, the Dutch, English, and French had established sugar plantation colonies in the Caribbean.
· The resulting competition lowered sugar prices and raised the cost of slaves.
· Brazil lost its position as predominant sugar producer, but exploring backwoodsmen (Paulistas) discovered gold in the Minas Gerais region in 1695.
· People rushed to the mines and formed new settlements. Mines were worked by slaves.
· Government controls followed to tightly manage a production that peaked between 1735 and 1760.
· Brazil then was the greatest source of gold in the Western world.
· The gold and later diamond, discoveries opened the interior to settlement, devastated Indian populations, and weakened coastal agriculture.
· The government managed to reinvigorate coastal agriculture and control the slave trade, while the mines stimulated new ventures in farming and ranching.
· Rio de Janeiro, nearer to the mines, became a major port and the capital in 1763. A societal hierarchy based on color remained in force.
· The gold and diamonds did not contribute much to Portuguese economic development.
· The resources gained allowed Portugal to import manufactured goods instead of creating its own industries.
Pombal and Brazil
MI: The Marquis of Pombal directed Portuguese affairs from 1755 to 1776. He labored to strengthen the Portuguese economy and to lessen his country's dependence on England, especially regarding the flow of Brazilian gold to London.
· The authoritarian Pombal suppressed opposition to his policies;
· The Jesuits were expelled from the empire in 1759. Reforming administrators worked in Brazil to end lax or corrupt practices.
· Monopoly companies were formed to stimulate agriculture.
· New regions began to flourish, among them the undeveloped Amazon territory. Rio de Janeiro became the capital.
· Pombal abolished slavery in Portugal, but not in Brazil.
· To help increase population growth, Indians were removed from missionary control and mixed marriages were encouraged.
· The reforms had minimal effect on society: the colony remained based on slavery.
· The trade balance first improved, but then suffered when demand for Brazilian products remained low.
· The movements had different social bases, but they demonstrated increased local dissatisfaction with imperial policies.
· Sharp social divisions among colonial groups hindered effective revolutionary action until Spain and Portugal were weakened by European political and social turmoil.


The picture shows how in the Americas the people were encountering other people they have never seen before. There was many racial mixtures between different parts of the world. The Spanish society classifies everyone and has everyone in a category.

Marked up documents

The debate revolved around the long-debated question of the judiciousness of declaring war against the Indians before instructing them in the Christian faith so as to facilitate their conversion. As noted above, the two sides based their arguments on the Bible, the Church Fathers, and Spanish medieval as well as Renaissance thought and law. For his part, Ginés de Sepúlveda put forward four propositions in favor of the just war against the Native Americans: first, the Indians were barbarians; second, they committed crimes against natural law; third, the Indians oppressed and killed the innocent among themselves; and fourth, they were infidels who needed to be instructed in the Christian faith. Las Casas, in contrast, set out to expand and clarify each one of these points. In the process, he came to advocate the essential unity of humankind; that is, the Indians, though at a different and backward stage of human development than the Europeans, were no less rational and adept to peacefully receive the Christian faith than the peoples of the Old World. Also, Las Casas came to conclude that Spain’s sole role in the New World was spiritual rather than economic or political. In sum, since the Indians were rational and civilized human beings, Spaniards had no right to subject them neither to slavery nor to war.17

Sepulveda talked about how the war with the Indians was a rightful act to do to the fact that the were seen as lower human beings. His evidence was the fact that they were uneducated and uncivilized. He used aristole's theory of the nature of slavery and those who are powerful can be masters on other poeple to rule over them. They leave their lives to be ruled by god giving sacrifice of their own people goes againt what they believe in Christianity. But Bartolome disagrees whith him. He thought that the Spanish were wrong about having a war with The Indians. He believed that the Indians had a vibrant and sophisticated culture. And that the spanish could be more dangerous than their counterparts. Finally, he made the point about how the Spanish went through the same torture from Rome, when they were viewed as uncivilized themselves, back then they didn't it was right for Rome to do that I don't see why they did it with the Indians. It is mainly becasue they got stronger in place in Europe.