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HIST321: Comparative New Worlds, 1400-1750

Unit 9: The Spanish and Portuguese Americas   Spanish and Portuguese colonial forces dominated the New World during much of the eighteenth century.  Portuguese Brazil produced gold, and, by the mid-1700s, supplied 40 percent of Europe’s sugar.  And under the Bourbon reforms of the eighteenth century, Spanish Central and South America as well as Spanish territories in the Caribbean became more efficient and centralized colonial outposts.
           
Both Spanish and Portuguese New World colonies owed much of their success to the streamlining of colonial administration and economy during the 1700s.  Colonial authorities in most cases reported directly to authorities in Europe; they had little or no autonomous rule.  Their expansionist and exploitative mining and plantation regimes resulted in the high production of gold, silver, sugar, and other products.  Of course, the result was devastating for African slaves and indigenous peoples, many of whom succumbed to disease or were enslaved or killed during conflicts with Spanish and Portuguese forces.

           
In this unit, we will consider the hegemony of the Spanish and Portuguese in the New World during the eighteenth century.  We will also study how this dominance came at a cost—the millions of Africans enslaved in the New World and the countless deaths of native peoples demonstrated the high price of colonization.

Unit 9 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 7 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 9.1: 6.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 9.1.1: 2.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 9.1.2: 2 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 9.1.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 9.2: 1 hours

Unit9 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • analyze and interpret the changing nature of the Spanish and Portuguese empires in the New World in the 1700s;
  • identify and describe New Spain, colonial Peru, and Spanish Florida; and
  • identify and describe the Portuguese empire in South America.

9.1 Spanish Central America   Note: This topic is covered in the resources under sub-subunits 9.1.1-9.1.3.

9.1.1 New Spain   - 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:

[PDF](http://ia600504.us.archive.org/15/items/bernaldiazdelcas00cunnuoft/bernaldiazdelcas00cunnuoft.pdf)  
    
 Instructions: Please read the entirety of the selection, paying
special attention to Castillo’s perceptions and observations of the
Aztec Empire.  
    
 You may view this text online, or you may choose to download the
PDF version, by clicking on the link on the left side of the page. 
This account, written around 1568, describes the invasion of Mexico
by Don Hernando Cortes and his 600 Spanish conquistadors in 1519. 
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: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: U.S. Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill’s and Ramón Miró’s (eds.) Mexico: A Country Study: “The Spanish Conquest,” “Encomiendas,” “Colonial Administration,” “The Road to Independence,” and “Criollos and Clergy” Links: U.S. Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill’s and Ramón Miró’s (eds.) Mexico: A Country Study:The Spanish Conquest,” (PDF) “Encomiendas,” (PDF) “Colonial Administration,” (PDF) “The Road to Independence,” and “Criollos and Clergy” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read each webpage in its entirety to gain an understanding of the creation of the Spanish colony of New Spain.
     
    Terms of Use: This material is part of the public domain.

9.1.2 Colonial Peru   - Reading: U.S. Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s (ed.) Peru: A Country Study: “The Colonial Period,” “The Colonial Economy,” “Colonial Administration,” “The Colonial Church,” and “Indigenous Rebellions” Links: U.S. Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s (ed.) Peru: A Country Study: “The Colonial Period” (PDF), “The Colonial Economy” (PDF), “Colonial Administration” (PDF), “The Colonial Church” (PDF), and “Indigenous Rebellions” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please read each webpage in its entirety for
information on the creation of Spanish Peru—its government, society,
economy, and clashes with indigenous peoples.  

 Terms of Use: This material is part of the public domain.

9.1.3 Spanish Florida   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Spanish Florida” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Spanish Florida” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire text.  As you read, consider the following questions: what motivated the Spanish exploration of Florida?  How did native peoples of Florida respond to the Spanish presence?  How would you characterize the relationship that developed between Spanish and native peoples?
 
Studying this reading and answering the questions above should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

  • Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales’ “The Founding of St. Augustine” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales’ “The Founding of St. Augustine” (PDF)

    Also available in:

    iBook
     
    Instructions: Please read the entire webpage.  In this account, Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, a Spanish priest, describes the landing of the Spanish fleet in La Florida in 1565.  King Phillip II of Spain had commanded that his forces explore and colonize the territory, as well as expel any Europeans—namely the French at Fort Caroline. 
                           
    Terms of Use: This material is part of the public domain.

9.2 Portuguese South America   - Reading: U.S. Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s (ed.) Brazil: A Country Study: “The Colonial Era, 1500-1815,” “Early Colonization,” and “Gold Mining Displaces Cane Farming” Links: U.S. Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s (ed.) Brazil: A Country Study: “The Colonial Era, 1500-1815” (PDF), “Early Colonization” (PDF), and “Gold Mining Displaces Cane Farming” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read each webpage in its entirety to learn about Portugal’s early exploration of Brazil.  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 material is part of the public domain.