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HIST102: Early Globalizations - East Meets West (1200s-1600s)

Unit 8: Early Latin and South America   Beginning in the fifteenth century, the empires of Portugal and Spain founded large colonies in Latin America.  As a result of these conquests, disease and warfare destroyed or transformed many of the native peoples who lived there.  Gradually, a new syncretic civilization emerged in the Americas and became an integral part of the world market.  Societies comprised of Africans, Spanish, Portuguese, and native peoples developed a sophisticated market economy driven by gold and silver mining as well as plantation agriculture.  We will see how the colonial systems implemented by the Spanish and Portuguese in the New World had roots in the political and religious institutions of Europe.

In this unit, we will begin by examining the founding of Spain’s first New World colony—New Spain—in an area now known as Mexico.  We will study how the Spanish defeated the Aztec empire and subsequently erected a colonial government and economy.  We will then turn to Portugal’s main colonial enterprise in the Americas—Brazil.  We will study Brazil’s indigenous population and the effects of Portuguese colonization, as well as the evolution of Brazil’s economy from plantation agriculture to mining.

Unit 8 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 9.5 hours to complete.
 
☐    Subunit 8.1: 6 hours
 
☐    Subunit 8.2: 3.5 hours

Unit8 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the factors that help explain the Spanish and Portuguese conquests in the Americas.
  • Identify the ways in which both empires sought to economically exploit their gains in the New World.
  • Discuss the manner in which these events involved the Catholic Church and its relations   with the dynastic powers.

8.1 New Spain   8.1.1 The Spanish Conquest   - Reading: MexConnect: Dale Hoyt Palfrey’s “The Spanish Conquest (1519-1521)” Link: MexConnect: Dale Hoyt Palfrey’s “The Spanish Conquest (1519-1521)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage in order to get a sense of the Spanish conquistadores’ defeat of the Aztec Empire.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Canadian Libraries Internet Archive’s version of Bernal Diaz del Castillo’s *True History of the Conquest of Mexico* Link: Canadian Libraries Internet Archive’s version of Bernal Diaz del Castillo’s True History of the Conquest of Mexico (HTML)
     
    Also available in:

    Kindle
    Google Books

    eBook

    PDF
     
    Instructions: Read Chapters 7 and 8 for Castillo’s description of the Aztec capital city as well as the course of negotiations between Montezuma and the Spanish force.
     
    Note on the text: You may view this text online or on the device of your choice, or you may choose to download the PDF version. This account, written around 1568, describes the invasion of Mexico by Don Hernán Cortés and his 600 Spanish conquistadors in 1519. Despite their advanced society, the Aztecs were no match for European disease and warfare; three years later, in 1521, the Aztec capital surrendered to Cortés. Written from the perspective of the European conquerors, this document is one of only a few texts that elucidates the collision of Spanish and Aztec cultures in the New World.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

8.1.2 The Founding of New Spain   - Reading: MexConnect: Dale Hoyt Palfrey’s “Mexico’s Colonial Era, Part 1” Link: MexConnect: Dale Hoyt Palfrey’s “Mexico’s Colonial Era, Part 1”(HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage.
 
Note on the Text: This article will help you get a better sense of the establishment of the Spanish colony of New Spain.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.1.3 Conversion of Indigenous Peoples   - Reading: MexConnect: Dale Hoyt Palfrey’s “Mexico’s Colonial Era, Part 2” Link: MexConnect: Dale Hoyt Palfrey’s “Mexico’s Colonial Era, Part 2”(HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage.
 
Note on the text: This article will help you get a sense of how and why the Spanish crown’s wanted to convert the indigenous inhabitants of New Spain to the Catholic faith.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.1.4 Colonial Economy   - Reading: MexConnect: Dale Hoyt Palfrey’s “Mexico’s Colonial Era, Part 3” Link: MexConnect: Dale Hoyt Palfrey’s “Mexico’s Colonial Era, Part 3”(HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage in order to get a sense of New Spain’s raw materials—predominantly silver and gold—that fueled the wealth of the Spanish Empire.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.1.5 Encomienda   - Reading: Swarthmore College's version of Bartolemé de Las Casas’ Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies (1542) Link:Swarthmore College's version of Bartolemé de Las Casas’ Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies (1542) (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this webpage.
 
Note on the Text: Reading this primary source will help you gain an understanding of the conquistadores’ system of oppression and exploitation of native peoples, the encomienda, and how the Spanish missionary Bartolomé de las Casas worked to eradicate it.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

Subunit 8.1 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 8.1" Link: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 8.1" (PDF)
 
Instructions: Once you have worked through all of the assigned resources in the subunit above, please open the linked PDF and respond to all questions.  When you are done--or if you are stuck--please check your work against The Saylor Foundation's "Guide to Responding to Reading Questions for Subunit 8.1" (PDF).

8.2 The Portuguese in Brazil   8.2.1 The Indigenous Population   - Reading: US Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s Brazil: A Country Study: “The Indigenous Population” Link: US Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s Brazil: A Country Study: “The Indigenous Population” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article in order to get a sense of the indigenous peoples who made Brazil their home on the eve of the Portuguese invasion.
 
Note on the Text: This website contains electronic texts of previous publications printed by the Library of Congress and sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Army from 1986-1998.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

8.2.2 Frontier Expansion   - Reading: Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute: Jeannette Gaffney's "Dividing the Spoils: Portugal and Spain in South America" Link: Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute: Jeannette Gaffney’s “Dividing the Spoils: Portugal and Spain in South America” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV in
order to get a sense of how and why Spain and Portugal vied for
control of South America in the fifteenth century.    

 Note on the Text: This webpage provides an excellent overview of
the reasons for and consequences of Spanish and Portuguese
colonization of the Americas.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above
  • Reading: US Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s Brazil: A Country Study: “Frontier Expansion that Shaped Brazil” Link: US Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s Brazil: A Country Study: “Frontier Expansion that Shaped Brazil” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this article in order to learn about Portugal’s early exploration of Brazil.
     
    Note on the Text: This website contains electronic texts of previous publications printed by the Library of Congress and sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Army from 1986-1998.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

8.2.3 Early Colonization   - Reading: US Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s Brazil: A Country Study: “Early Colonization” Link: US Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s Brazil: A Country Study: “Early Colonization” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article in order to get a sense of early contact between indigenous peoples and Portuguese settlers.
 
Note on the Text: This website contains electronic texts of previous publications printed by the Library of Congress and sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Army from 1986-1998.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

8.2.4 French and Dutch Incursions   - Reading: US Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s Brazil: A Country Study: “French and Dutch Incursions” Link: US Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s Brazil: A Country Study: “French and Dutch Incursions” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article, which explains how Portugal fended off military and commercial threats from the Dutch and French in Brazil.
 
Note on the Text: This website contains electronic texts of previous publications printed by the Library of Congress and sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Army from 1986-1998.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

8.2.5 Gold Mining and Cane Farming   - Reading: US Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s Brazil: A Country Study: “Gold Mining Displaces Cane Farming” Link: US Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s Brazil: A Country Study: “Gold Mining Displaces Cane Farming” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article about how the discovery of gold in colonial Brazil began supplanting the sugar economy.
 
Note on the Text: This website contains electronic texts of previous publications printed by the Library of Congress and sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Army from 1986-1998.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

  • Assessment: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 19, Multiple Choice Quiz” Link: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 19, Multiple Choice Quiz” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please take the assigned multiple choice quiz on this webpage in order to assess your understanding of Spain and Portugal’s New World colonial pursuits.  Clicking on “Submit Answers for Grading” at the end of the webpage will redirect you to the answer key for the quiz.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 8 Essay: Europe and the Americas” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 8 Essay: Europe and the Americas” (HTML)

    Instructions: This is an ungraded activity. If you choose to complete the activity, you may record your answer anywhere you like. You do have the option to use the link above to save your answers on Saylor.org, though you will need to create a free account in order to do so --  this will only take a minute, and you may do so here.

    • As indicated in the unit resources from Unit 8, the Spanish and the Portuguese had a long “head start” in the exploration and colonization of the Americas, but were ultimately joined by other European powers, such as the English, Dutch and French. Although there are a number of factors that could be used to compare how these different powers operated in the Western Hemisphere, please focus on the attitudes and policies which each directed toward the indigenous peoples with whom they came into contact. What were some of the common features of these interactions? Do historians note any special distinctions or aspects of these encounters that serve to distinguish, say, Spanish relations or attitudes toward the Native Americans from those of the English?

      Tips for getting started: Your initial review of the resources from this unit should have alerted you to a number of similarities and differences in the manner in which the European powers came into contact with the native inhabitants of the Americas and their subsequent relations. Carefully study and analyze these materials again for common forms of interaction from one regional setting to the next as well as points of difference.