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HIST221: Colonial Latin and South America

Unit 4: Colonial Economy and Trade Networks   The promise of gold and silver treasures lured early Spanish explorers and settlers to the Americas, but few colonists found easy riches.  Instead, many Spanish settlers turned to mining and agriculture production as a source of revenue.  Native Americans, and later African slaves, provided much of the labor for the gold and silver mines of South America and the sugar plantations of the Caribbean.  The Spanish crown tightly regulated colonial trade and forced Spanish colonists to only conduct business with Spanish merchants in Spain.  These colonial regulations frustrated many colonists and encouraged smuggling and illicit trade partnerships with English and Dutch merchants.  Spain attempted to defend her colonies and prevent trade with other European nations, but in many ways this was a losing battle.  In this unit, we will look at the evolution of the Spanish colonial economy and examine how systems of production and trade altered the structure of colonial society.  We will also learn how Spanish mercantile trade practices hindered colonial development and led to conflicts with other European powers.      

Unit 4 Time Advisory
Time Estimate: This unit will take you 11 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 4.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2: 7 hours

☐    Subunit 4.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.4: 1 hour

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Assess the role of European Mercantile policies in the formation of colonial economies and trade networks. - Describe and analyze how production, slavery, and trade affected and altered colonial society. - Identify how and why colonial trade development led to conflicts with other European powers. 

4.1 Colonial Production   - Reading: Berkeley University: Professor William Taylor's “Early Colonial Economic Activity” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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4.1.1 Mining   - 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.  Pay attention to the description of New Spain’s raw materials—predominantly silver and gold—since they fueled the wealth of the Spanish Empire.
 
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4.1.2 Agriculture   - Lecture: Oberlin College: Professor Steven Volk's “Landed Systems in the Spanish American Colonies” Link: Oberlin College: Professor Steven Volk's “Landed Systems in the Spanish American Colonies” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please listen to or watch the entirety of the lecture (approximately 23 minutes).  This lecture explores the development of Spanish landholding patterns by focusing on the demand of Hispanic products.
 
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4.2 Slavery   - Reading: PortCities Bristol: “Spain’s Slavery Contract” Link: PortCities Bristol: “Spain’s Slavery Contract
 
Instructions: Please read the first six paragraphs of this article to gain an understanding of the slavery system that the Spaniards began building in the New World in the 16th century.
 
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  • Reading: Concepcion Saenz-Camba’s “The Atlantic World, 1492-1600” Link: Concepcion Saenz-Camba’s “The Atlantic World, 1492-1600” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read the sections titled “The Atlantic Slave Trade: Logic of Enslavement” and “The Atlantic Slave Trade: Global Consequences of the Atlantic Slave Trade” in their entirety.  Pay special attention to how the Slave Trade affected not only the Americas but also Europe, Africa, and Asia. 

    Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of Concepcion Saenz-Camba.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder.

4.2.1 Indian Slave Labor   - Reading: Oregon State University: Professor Bill Uzgalis’ “Bartolome De Las Casas (1484-1566)” Link: Oregon State University: Professor Bill Uzgalis’ “Bartolome De Las Casas (1484-1566)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage.  This article will help you gain an understanding of the conquistadores’ system of oppressing and exploiting native peoples—encomienda—and how Bartholomé de las Casas worked to eradicate it.  Initially, las Casas proposed replacing Indian slave labor with African slave labor.
 
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4.2.2 African Slave Labor   - Reading: Emory University: Dr. David Eltis’s “A Brief Overview of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade”: “The Enslavement of Africans” Link: Emory University: Dr. David Eltis’s “A Brief Overview of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade”: “The Enslavement of Africans” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please read this short article to get an idea of why Europeans turned to Africans as the major source of New World labor.
 
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4.2.3 Emergence of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade   - Reading: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American Slavery: Dr. David Wheat’s “Iberian Roots of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1440-1640” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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  • Reading: University of Calgary: Applied History Research Group’s “The European Voyages of Exploration:” “The Atlantic Islands,” “Africa,” “Brazil,” “The Caribbean: First Contact” Links: University of Calgary: Applied History Research Group’s “The European Voyages of Exploration:” “The Atlantic Islands,” (HTML) “Africa,” (HTML) “Brazil,” (HTML) “The Caribbean: First Contact” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entirety of these webpages to get a sense of how Spanish and Portuguese colonization influenced the development of the Atlantic slave trade.
     
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  • Reading: University of North Carolina Library’s “Documenting the American South”: Boyrereau Brinch’s and Benjamin F. Prentiss’s (Benjamin Franklin’s) “The Blind African Slave, or Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch, Nick-named Jeffrey Brace” Link: University of North Carolina Library’s “Documenting the American South”: Boyrereau Brinch’s and Benjamin F. Prentiss’s (Benjamin Franklin’s) “The Blind African Slave, or Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch, Nick-named Jeffrey Brace” (HTML)
     
    Instructions:  Please read pages 1-94 of this incisive tale of Brinch’s horrific journey from his native Africa to the New World.  While published in 1810, this slave narrative, is Boyrereau Brinch’s description of his journey across the Atlantic in 1758 and 1759. 
     
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  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Study Questions for Brinch and Prentiss’s ‘The Blind African Slave, or Memoirs of Boyreau Brinch, Nicknamed Jeffrey Brace’” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Study Questions for Brinch and Prentiss’s ‘The Blind African Slave, or Memoirs of Boyreau Brinch, Nicknamed Jeffrey Brace’” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please complete the questions in the assessment. You can check your answers against the "Guide to Responding" (PDF). For more information about the life and work of Boyrereau Brinch, also known as Jeffrey Brace, please visit the Poultney Historical Society (http://www.poultneyhistoricalsociety.org/about/jeffrey-brace-first-african-american-citizen-of-poultney/). This assessment should take you 4 hours to complete.

4.3 Mercantile Trade System   4.3.1 Spanish Regulation of Trade   - Reading: Southern Methodist University, Professor Peter Bakewell’s transcription of Charles V of Spain’s “Royal Instructions for the Viceroy Mendoza, 1535” Link: Southern Methodist University, Professor Peter Bakewell’s transcription of Charles V of Spain’s “Royal Instructions for the Viceroy Mendoza, 1535” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  These instructions from Charles V to Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza in 1535 describe Mendoza’s duties as Viceroy of New Spain.  Mendoza is to monitor all commercial activities in the region and make sure taxes are being paid to the crown.  He is also to ensure that the Indians of the region pay tribute in gold and silver.  Finally, he is to monitor other royal officials to make sure they are properly accounting for all taxes and payments that are due to the crown.
 
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4.3.2 Trade Networks   - Reading: U.S. Department of the Interior’s “Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans”: “The Spanish Treasure Fleet System” Link: U.S. Department of the Interior’s “Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans”: “The Spanish Treasure Fleet System” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage.  This reading offers a concise description of the treasure fleet system, why it was created, what was transported, and how the system developed.
 
This reading was compiled from texts by Robert F. Marx and Della Scott-Ireton among many others experts in the history of Ships and Shipwrecks of the Americas.
 
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4.3.3 Challenging the System   - Reading: Gettysburg College: Prof. Timothy Shannon’s “The Beginning of Piracy, 1450-1600” Link: Gettysburg College: Prof. Timothy Shannon’s “The Beginning of Piracy, 1450-1600” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this entire webpage, which draws special attention to early piracy in the New World and its effects on the Spanish economy.
 
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4.4 Defending the Empire   - Reading: Bartleby.com: Professor W.A. Neilson’s Lectures on the Harvard Classics: “Voyages and Travel” Link: Bartleby.com: Professor W.A. Neilson’s Lectures on the Harvard Classics: “Voyages and Travel” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This reading covers subunits 4.4.1-4.4.2.  Please read this page in its entirety.  Pay special attention to their “contributions to geography” a usually overlooked subject.
 
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4.4.1 The Spanish Main   4.4.2 European Incursions