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Early Latin America Essay Sample

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Early Latin America Essay Sample

-During the 15th+16th centuries, Spain and Portugal colonized the Americas •Colonies were dependent (unlike Russia’s expansion)
-Created economic dependency on W w/ lasing effects
•Colonies maintained special contact w/ W (like Russia)
-But Russia could decide what to borrow; colonies had W forms imposed •Superior tech., horses, and disease allowed conquerors to dominate natives •Social hierarchy changed by intermarriage of natives+Europeans and African slaves •Both Europeans and natives tried to maintain original way of life •European exploitation-plantations worked/precious metals mined through forced labor

Spaniards and Portuguese: From Reconquest to Conquest
-The Spaniards and Portuguese came from societies long in contact w/ other ppls •Many inhabitants during history; frontier between Christianity and Islam -Conflictstrong tradition of military conquest+rule over culturally diff. ppls •Christian kingdoms by 15th century-Portugal on coast, Aragon in E Spain, Castile in center -Political and religious unification under Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille •Fall of Granada (last Muslims kingdom) in 1492Christian control of Iberian Peninsula -Isabella ordered Jews to convert/leaveJews leftdisrupted Castilian economy -Isabella and Ferdinand also supported Christopher Columbus

-Iberian Society and Tradition
•Spanish and Portuguese forms exported to the Americas
-Spanish and Portuguese are very urbanurban setting exported to New World -Commoners who came to America tried to become new nobility w/ Indian serfs -Patriarchal household trait imposed on plantations

-Large estates+encomiendas (grants of laborers)economic dominance by Europeans -Use of African slaves (unlike most of Europe) brought to Americas -Bureaucracy+church served as foundations of Iberian politics; also brought over -Portuguese merchants est. extensive colonies in Atlantic islandsmore slave trade; same thing in Brazil -The Chronology of Conquest

•Spanish and Portuguese conquest+colonization of Americas in 3 periods -1st-Conquest from 1492-~1570-Main administration+economy est. -2nd-Consolidation from~1570-~1700-Colonial institutions and societies became defined -3rd-Reform during 18th century intensified colonial dependence; eventually led to revolt •Period from 1492 to~1570/1600 was very destructive/constructinve -Large amts. of territory and ppl brought under European control -Bases of economic system of dependency est.; flow of immigration+commerce -Destruction/transformations of Indian societies; introduction of African slaves -Mexico+Peru became focus of initial colonization

-The Caribbean Crucible
•After Christopher Columbus’s voyage in 1492…
-1493-Expedition est. colony of Santo Dominigo (Hispaniola)
-Expeditions from Santo DominigoPuerto Rico (1508), Cuba (1511), -Settlements in Panama and N coast of S America by 1513
-Similar stuff in Brazil under the Portuguese
•Taino Indians provided enough labor to be distributed to individual Spaniards in grants -Gold hunting, slaving, and European diseasesdepopulation of Caribbean -Major ports in Caribbean, but it became colonial backwater until sugar and slaves allowed resurgence •Caribbean served Spain as a testing ground for colonization -Iberian-style cities had to be adapted to Americas; Spanish cities set-up according to a grid plan -Royal administration-Bureaucracy and law code developed based on Spain’s+American exp. -Church missionaries came and spread Roman Catholicism

-Merchants regulated provisions and commerce
•Immigration+importation of slavesshift from conquest to settlement -Early gold-hunting attempts replaced by est. of plantations -Settlementdepopulation of Indiansimportation of slaves for labor -Destruction of Indians expeditions went further toward mainland from island to island -Mistreatment of natives attempts to help from priests+admins •By time of conquest of Mexico and Peru, colonial system was in place

-The Paths of Conquest
•Conquest of Americas=/=unified movement; =series of indie initiatives w/ gov’t approval •1519-Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, est. base at Veracruz -Fought some battles vs. subjects of Aztecs; able to ally w/ Indians -Reached Tenochtitlan; Aztec emperor Moctezuma II captured+killedforced to retreat -W/ allies, cut off+besieged Tenochtitlan; victory in 1521

-Mexico City built on top of Tenochtitlan
-By 1535, most of C Mexico under Spanish control as New Spain •2nd main conquest moved from Caribbean to Panama and then S into Inca Empire -1533-Francisco Pizarro conquered Inca capital of Cuzcol; by 1540, most of Peru under Spanish control •Spanish expeditions went N and S from Mexico and Peru

-Francisco Vasquez de Coronado penetrated into SW US as far as Kansas -Pedro de Valdivia conquered the Araucanian Indians of C Chile and set up Santiago in 1541 -Other expeditions went into the Amazon basin; others went into rainforests of C and S America -By 1570, 192 Spanish cities/towns were in the Americas

-The Conquerors
•General contract-conqueror gets authority of area, Spanish crown gets share of whatever •Forces recruited through grants of shares of booty+profits; unequal distributiondissatisfaction •Few conquerors were pro soldiers; usually just ppl who wanted “gold, God, and glory” -Came to see selves as nobility w/ power over Indians despite humble beginnings •Advanced tech., horses, and disease helped Europeans defeat Indians •Internal strife in Indian empires reduced ability to fight back •By 1570, age of conquest was ending as the colonial system took hold; -Conquerors replaced by bureaucrats, merchants, and colonists -Conquest and Morality

•Conquests involved violence, domination, and theftmoral dilemma -1548-Juan Gines de Sepulbeda argued (a la Aristotle) that conquest was justified -1550-Spanish king suspended conquests and called for arguments for/against
-Father Bartolome de Las Casas argued for the Indians

-The crown backed Las Casas, but not much really changed

The Destruction and Transformation of Indian Societies
-The Indians ppls responded in many ways to the European conquest/rule •All suffered severe decline in population from disease, conquest, slaving, and mistreatment •Spanish seized abandoned land+used encomienda to tax/work the natives •Demographic decline made it hard to retain social and economic structures •European livestock flourished while Indian populations declined -Exploitation of the Indians

•Indian nobility maintained for tax collection/imposition of labor for the Spanish •Enslavement prohibited, but labor/taxation was imposed
-Encomiendas given to ppl who could use their Indians for labor/taxes -As Indian population declined, the value of encomiendas did, too -Spanish crown began ending the institution in the 1540s; encomiendas pretty much gone by 1620s -Colonists began trying to get grants of land instead of Indians •Colonial gov’t labor/tax demands on natives increased

-Adopted the Inca mita system; Natives required to send groups of laborers to work -Indians were paid, but Europeans abused the system
•Indians left villages to avoid labor/tax obligationsgrowth of wage labor system -Worked for wages for Spanish land owners on mines/farms or in the cities •Despite European disruption, some aspects of Native American culture retained -Managed to adapt to European institutions-natives staffed local councils and learned to use courts/law -Many cultural aspects remained; Indians were selective in adopting European foods, tech., and culture

Colonial Economies and Governments
-Spanish America was an agrarian society
•80% of the population lived and worked on the land
-Colonial commercial system based on mining, though
-The Silver Heart of Empire

•Major silver discoveries in Mexico and Peru; large mining towns developed -Potosi in Upper Peru was largest mine; Mexico’s Zacatecas was also a large mining center -Labor provided by Indian slaves and encomienda workers; replaced by mita system •Most mining methods were European. Though native methods were used initially -Silver mining depended on amalgamation w/ mercury to extract silver from ores -Discovery of mercury mountain at Huancavelica in Peru increased silver production •Individuals owned the mines and processing plants, but were required to pay 20% to the crown •Mining stimulated other aspects of the economy like farming and transportation -Haciendas and Villages

•Spanish America was still an agrarian economy
-Indian communal agriculture of traditional crops continued
-Spanish ranches and farms developed as Indian population declined -Rural estates (haciendas) developed; most of the labor came from Indians and mestizos -Haciendas became symbol of wealth and power for the local aristocracy -Most agriculture was meant for colonial consumption; only a small portion was exported -Indian communal farming competed w/ haciendas

-Industry and Commerce
•Sheep raisingdevelopment of textile industry in the Americas -America became self-sufficient for basic needs; looked to Europe only for luxury goods •Spanish commercial system organized around mining industry •Only Spain was allowed to trade w/ Spanish colonies; tight trade restrictions on colonies -American trade w/ Spain went through the Casa de Contratacion (Board of Trade) in Seville/Cadiz -Merchant guilds (consulado) controlled goods and handled silver; tight control allowed prices to be kept high •To discourage pirates, the Spanish set up a convoy system composed of galleons (large, heavily-armed ships) -Trade from Spain passed trough fortified ports w/ coast guard fleets taking out potential raiders •Supply of American silver was continuous; seemed worth it -Used for wars, debts, and manufactured goods; only about ½ stayed in Spain -Influx of silverinflation in W Europe during the 16th century -Spain’s state revenues depended more on taxes than American silver -Spanish rulers built up lots of debts b/c of silver

-Ruling an Empire: State and Church
•Spanish control of its colonies based on the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) -The treaty between Castile and Portugal drew a N-S line through the Americas -Portugal got everything E of the line; Spain got everything W of the line •The Spanish colonies had a bureaucracy based on a judicial core -University-trained lawyers (letrados) from Spain staffed the bureaucracy -Division of power not clear; judicial officers also had legislative and administrative authority -The Recopilacion (1681) codified laws into the basis of colonial gov’t •The king ruled through the Council of the Indies in Spain -Spain created 2 viceroyalties, one based in Mexico City and the other based in Lima -Viceroys were direct representatives of the king in charge of the colonies -The viceroyalties were subdivided into 10 judicial divisions controlled by courts (audiencias) -At the local level, appointed magistrates enforced laws, collected taxes, and assigned work, etc. -Under the magistrates were a bunch of other bureaucrats

•The clergy was kinda another branch of the bureaucracy
-Catholic religious orders carried out widespread conversions of the Indians -Missionaries also defended Indian rights and respected their culture -Missionary church eventually replaced by more formal structure of parishes and bishoprics -Bishops were state-appointedclergy tended to be supporters/influencers of state policy •The Catholic church influenced cultural and intellectual life in the colonies -Construction of churches stimulated the work of architects and artists -Printing presses produced a lot of religious books and some other stuff -Schools and universities were set up by the clergy to educate ppl -The Inquisition set up colonial offices to control orthodoxy; executed religious dissenters, etc.

Brazil: The First Plantation Colony
-The Portuguese created the 1st great plantation colony of the Americas in Brazil •Portuguese Pedro Albares Cabral reached Brazilian shore in 1500 -There wasn’t much to attract European interest at first other than dyewood trees along the coast -Pressure from the FrenchMilitary action to clear French from Brazil; new system of settlement est. in 1532 •Portuguese nobles given strips of land (capitaincies) along the coast -Many nobles lacked capital+had problems w/ local Indian population -In some places, towns were est.+colonized and Indian relations were peaceful -Sugar plantations were est. initially using Indians and then African slaves •1549-Governor general+other officials arrived to create capital at Salvador; missionaries, too -Indian resistance broken by 1600 through military action, missionary activity, or disease -String of settlements extended along the coast based on port cities served sugar plantations -Sugar and Slavery

•Brazil became the world’s leading sugar producer
-Labor came from African slaves who made up 50% of the population by the end of the 1600s -Served as model for later European plantation colonies in the Caribbean •Even after later economic diversity, Brazil’s social hierarchy reflected plantation origins -White planter families, merchants, and bureaucrats were at the top; slaves were at the bottom -Ppl of mixed origins from miscegenation (mixed marriage) served as free laborers, farmers, and artisans •Portugal created bureaucratic structure to govern Brazil -Governor general ruled from Salvador, but governors in ea. captaincy were pretty independent -Missionary orders constructed churches, schools, and a network of missions -Royal officials trained in law formed the core of the bureaucracy -Unlike Spain (exception: Philippines), Portugal had colonies/outposts in Asia, Africa, and Brazil -Brazil had no printing presses or universities, so intellectual life was an extension of Portugal’s -So…Brazil’s more dependent intellectually while Latin America’s more dependent economically -Brazil’s Age of Gold

•American colonies affected by European political change
•By the 1680s, the Dutch, English, and French est. plantation colonies in the Caribbean -Competitionrising slave prices and falling sugar pricesproblems for Brazil •Brazil lost sugar domination, but Paulistas had been exploring interior -Led to larger claims; 1695-Discovery of gold at Minas Gerais (General Mines) •Gold rush began; ppl left coastal towns and plantations+lots of immigrants -Labor in the mines came from slavesslave population increased a lot -Portuguese gov’t est. administration and police to bring order -Brazil became the greatest source of gold in the Western world •Discovery of gold was a mixed blessing

-Further discovery of goldopened interior to settlementbad for Indians -Disruption of coastal agriculture overcome by gov’t control of slave trade; cash crops were still important -Miningnew areas open to agriculture to supply food to mining areas -Rio de Janiero grew in importance and became capital in 1763 -Local wealth used to build churches, which stimulated artists, architects, and composers -Mining zones still had the social hierarchy of the plantations •Gold allowed Portugal to continue economic policies harmful in the long run -Portugal used gold to buy manufactured goods b/c Portuguese industry=/=well developed -Treaty signed w/ England in 1703 to ensure trademost Portuguese gold went to England -Supply of gold dwindling after 1760; another difficult position (economic dependency on England)

Multiracial Societies
-The conquest and settlement of Latin Americalarge multiethnic societies •Africans, Indians, and Europeanshierarchy of European dominance •By the 18th century, the castas (ppl of mixed origins) were a large segment of the population •Some preconquest Indian social organization preserved to serve goals of Spanish gov’t -The Society of Castas

•European social organization existed, but social hierarchies were altered by miscegenation -The sociedad de castas (caste society) had social hierarchy that reflected racial origins -Mixed marriages were commonLarge groups of ppl of mixed background (mestizos) -Mestizos < Europeans, but > Indians; similar stuff in Brazil (Europeans+Africans=mulattos) -Ppl of mixed origins (castas) made up large percentage of the population -Movement “between races” was possible; phys. characteristics only one part of social status •Distinctions developed among whites; peninsulares=born in Spain, Creoles=born in New World -Peninsulares were the highest social group, but Creoles dominated local economies -Growing sense of self-ID from the peninsularesmovements for independence later on •Racial hierarch+traditional Iberian distinctions of gender, age, and class -Children remained under legal authority of father until age of 25 -Women were subordinate, but had rights in dowry and inheritance -Widows often had power in family; lower-class women had some control in commerce

The 18th-Century Reforms
-The 18th century had lots of intellectual activity in Spain+Portugal and their colonies •In Spain+colonies, small groups (amigos del pais-friends of the country) met to discuss reforms •In Portugal, foreign influencesa group of progressive thinkers and bureaucrats •Expansion of population and economy+higher demand for American products+warsnew importance of colonies •Changes strengthened the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, but also created social unrestindependence movements -The Shifting Balance of Politics and Trade

•By the 18th century, the Spanish colonial system and control over its colonies was weak -Problems-weak rulers, foreign wars, increasing debt, declining population, and revolts -France, England, and Holland used piracy and raids vs. Spain; seized Caribbean islands to use as plantations -Failure of colonial system-silver payments declined, non-Spanish exports, self-sufficient colonies, corrupt colonial gov’t -Despite Spanish decline, the Indies still attracted European interest •1701-Spanish king Charles II died w/o heir

-European nations backed claimants hoping to get control of Spain and its colonies -Philip of Anjou, a Bourbon *, was declared the successorWar of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713) -Treaty of Utrecht (1713)-branch of Bourbons=rulers, French and English merchants can trade w/ Spain+colonies -Spain’s commercial monopoly ended***

-The Bourbon Reforms
•The new Bourbon dynasty in Spain tried to reform the internal and colonial gov’ts -Enlightened despots like Charles III wanted to reform gov’t, economy, and military -Opposition to reforms was suppressed; ex: the Jesuit order was kicked out in 1767 •Reforms were aimed at material improvements, not social/political upheaval -French bureaucratic models were introduced; the tax system was reformed -The navy was reformed and new ships were built; the convoy system was abandoned -1778-policy of commercio libre opened more ports in Spain and America •In the Indies, the Bourbons implemented broad reforms

-New viceroyalties-New Granada (1739) and Rio de la Plata (1778); better administration of these regions -Royal investigators (ex: Jose de Galvez) sent to Indies revealed corruptionCreoles removed from gov’t -Corregidores (local magistrates) replaced by intendants (provincial governors) based on French gov’t -Measures improved taxation and gov’t, but angered Creoles whose political power declined •Spain allied w/ France during 18th century; English threatSpanish colonial defense improved -Regular Spanish troops sent+militia units led by Creoles created -Colonization renewed; unoccupied/loosely controlled places settled (ex: California) •During Bourbon reforms, the gov’t took an active role in the economy -State monopolies est. for essential items; new areas opened up for development -Monopoly companies given exclusive rights to areas in return for developing them -Monopolies stimulated economy, but control of import pricescomplaints+rebellion -Caribbean commerce expanded greatly under more open trading policies -Buenos Aires in Rio de la Plata expanded and prospered

-New mining techniques and reforms+discovery of new veins expanded mining, esp. in Mexico -The major centers of Spanish America grew rapidly in the 2nd half of the 1700s •The Bourbon reforms revived the Spanish Empire, but…

-European imports became cheaper, so local goods couldn’t compete -Links to int’l trade tightened while economic diversity in the colonies decreased -Exclusion of Creoles from gov’t+increasing dependencysocial tensions -Pombal and Brazil

•The Bourbon reforms in Spain were paralleled by the Pombal reforms in Portugal -The Marquis of Pombal wanted to reform Portugal to break England’s hold -Opposition to reforms also suppressed; ex: Jesuits expelled in 1759 -1778 treaty w/ Spain est. frontier between Brazil and Spanish colonies •Pombal’s reforms focused on Brazil

-Eliminated contraband, gold smuggling, and tax evasion; administrators sent to enforce changes -Monopoly companies created and new crops introduced to stimulate agriculture •New regions in Brazil began to flourish

-Rio de Janiero and its hinterland became the center of agricultural growth -A monopoly company was created to develop the Amazonian region -Cotton and cacao plantations grew in the Amazon basin
-The southern plains of Brazil were colonized and grew wheat and cattle •Social reforms also made
-Pombal abolished slavery in Portugal to ensure steady supply to Brazil -Freed Indians from missionary control+encouraged intermarrying w/ them •Although new policies were instituted, not that much changed -Brazil was still dependent on slavery

-Trade imbalance w/ England reduced, but Brazil was still a raw materials producer -Pombal’s policieseconomic boom in Brazil that set the stage for Brazilian independence -Reforms, Reactions, and Revolts

•In the 18th century, the populations and economies of the Spanish/Portuguese American colonies grew rapidly •Reforms disrupted older patterns of power and influencemore serious revolts -1781-Comunero Revolt in New Granada almost succeeded in ending Spanish control ~ the same time-Indian uprising under Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui (Tupac Amaru) in Peru -1788-Planned uprising for independence in Brazil discovered and stopped before it began •Social and ethnic divisions in the colonies prevented unified revolts

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