Discovery Of The Americas, 1492-1800 (Discovery & Exploration)

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Thus, during Columbus 's second voyage, Benedictine friars accompanied him, along with twelve other priests. As slavery was prohibited between Christians, and could only be imposed on non-Christian prisoners of war or on men already sold as slaves, the debate on Christianization was particularly acute during the sixteenth century.


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In , the papal bull Sublimis Deus recognized that Native Americans possessed souls , thus prohibiting their enslavement, without putting an end to the debate. Some claimed that a native who had rebelled and then been captured could be enslaved nonetheless. The process of Christianization was at first violent: When the first Franciscans arrived in Mexico in , they burned the places dedicated to pagan cult, alienating much of the local population.

To reward their troops, the Conquistadores often allotted Indian towns to their troops and officers. Black African slaves were introduced to substitute for Native American labor in some locations—most notably the West Indies, where the indigenous population was nearing extinction on many islands. During this time, the Portuguese gradually switched from an initial plan of establishing trading posts to extensive colonization of what is now Brazil.

They imported millions of slaves to run their plantations. By the late sixteenth century American silver accounted for one-fifth of Spain's total budget. In the sixteenth century perhaps , Europeans entered American ports. Many immigrants to the American colonies came for economic reasons.

They were sponsored by common stock companies such as the chartered Virginia Company and its offshoot, the Somers Isles Company financed by wealthy Englishmen who understood the economic potential of this new land. The main purpose of this colony was the hope of finding gold or the possibility or impossibility of finding a passage through the Americas to the Indies.

It took strong leaders, like John Smith , to convince the colonists of Jamestown that searching for gold was not taking care of their immediate needs for food and shelter and that "he who shall not work shall not eat" A direction based on text from the New Testament. The extremely high mortality rate was quite distressing and cause for despair among the colonists.

Tobacco quickly became a cash crop for export and the sustaining economic driver of Virginia and nearby colonies like Maryland. From the beginning of Virginia's settlements in until the s, the main source of labor and a large portion of the immigrants were indentured servants looking for new life in the overseas colonies.

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During the seventeenth century, indentured servants constituted three-quarters of all European immigrants to the Chesapeake region. Most of the indentured servants were English farmers who had been pushed off their lands due to the expansion of livestock raising, the enclosure of land, and overcrowding in the countryside. This unfortunate turn of events served as a push for thousands of people mostly single men away from their situation in England. By selling passage for five to seven years worth of work they could hope to start out on their own in America.

In the French colonial regions, the focus of economy was the fur trade with the Amerindians. Farming was set up primarily to provide subsistence only, although cod and other fish of the Grand Banks were a major export and source of income for the French and many other European nations. The fur trade was also practiced by the Russians on the northwest coast of North America.

Roman Catholics were the first major religious group to immigrate to the New World, as settlers in the colonies of Portugal and Spain and later, France were required to belong to that faith. English and Dutch colonies, on the other hand, tended to be more religiously diverse. Many groups of colonists came to the Americas searching for the right to practice their religion without persecution. The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century broke the unity of Western European Christendom and led to the formation of numerous new religious sects, which often faced persecution by governmental authorities.

In England, many people came to question the organization of the Church of England by the end of the sixteenth century.

One of the primary manifestations of this was the Puritan movement, which sought to "purify" the existing Church of England of its many residual Catholic rites that they believed had no mention in the Bible. Waves of repression led to the migration of about 20, Puritans to New England between and , where they founded multiple colonies. Later in the century, the new Pennsylvania colony was given to William Penn in settlement of a debt the king owed his father. Its government was set up by William Penn in about to become primarily a refuge for persecuted English Quakers; but others were welcomed.

The lure of cheap land, religious freedom and the right to improve themselves with their own hand was very attractive to those who wished to escape from persecution and poverty. In America, all these groups gradually worked out a way to live together peacefully and cooperatively in the roughly years preceding the American Revolution.

Many of these settlers had almost utopian visions of constructing a better world. They hoped that at least some of the mistakes of the Old World could be left behind. For the citizens of what became the United States, throwing off colonial governance was an opportunity to start again, to create a society based on human rights, freedom , and justice. Slavery existed in the Americas, prior to the presence of Europeans, as the Natives often captured and held other tribes' members as captives.

Some of these captives were even forced to undergo human sacrifice under some tribes, such as the Aztecs.

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The Spanish followed with the enslavement of local aborigines in the Caribbean. As the native populations declined mostly from European diseases, but also and significantly from forced exploitation and careless murder , they were often replaced by Africans imported through a large commercial slave trade. By the eighteenth century, the overwhelming number of black slaves was such that Native American slavery was less commonly used.

Africans, who were taken aboard slave ships to the Americas, were primarily obtained from their African homelands by coastal tribes who captured and sold them. The high incidence of disease nearly always fatal to Europeans kept nearly all the slave capture activities confined to native African tribes.

Rum, guns, and gun powder were some of the major trade items exchanged for slaves. In all, approximately , to , black slaves streamed into the ports of Charleston, South Carolina and Newport, Rhode Island until about The total slave trade to islands in the Caribbean, Brazil, Mexico, and to the United States is estimated to have involved 12 million Africans.

In recent years, the calamitous consequences of European colonization on Native American life has been emphasized. Mann discusses the cultural arrogance that allowed the European settlers not only to exploit the Americas but to deny that before , the Americas "had no real history," being "empty of mankind and its works. Mann resists the temptation to romanticize regarding depicting "Indians as green role models," commenting that "native American interaction with their environment were as diverse as Native Americans themselves.

On the other hand, the map of the world and humankind's knowledge of the world was transformed by the European colonization of the Americas. Ancient civilizations were conquered and much of their legacy destroyed, but 31 nations, including some of the most stable democracies, have joined the world community. More people have been linked together across the globe. Some of those who settled saw their new societies as tabula rasa, where the principles of justice and equality could be put into practice, without first having to dismantle existing, non-egalitarian, unjust systems.

Of course, colonial rule qualified as unjust. However, at least in the case of the Thirteen Colonies, this did not pick up sufficient momentum to withstand revolutionary challenge. Native American spirituality often reveres nature and saw humanity as part of nature.

European Explorations in North America

Land was not "owned" by people; rather, the people were owned by the land, which was to be respected and looked after. As a result, the devastating diseases went in only one direction, from Eurasia to the Americas. Europeans won the better of the exchange. While native populations decreased ninety percent, Europeans took gold, silver, and nutritional new to them foods, such as potatoes, tomatoes, chiles, squash, vanilla, turkey, corn, and cacao to make chocolate.

Indigenous Americans received, in return, European diseases—smallpox, measles, influenza, bubonic plagues, cholera, chicken pox, whooping cough, diphtheria, and tropical malaria. There were many long-term consequences of the European conquest of the Americas and the global exchange that ensued. It took the Spanish only a few years to find and plunder the two wealthiest empires in the Americas. Huge silver mines found in Mexico and Peru in the midth century meant that Spain instantly became the largest supplier of silver in the world.

In the first years following conquest, the Spanish exported 32 million pounds of silver and , pounds of gold Marks Spain spent much of this wealth in costly wars in a failed attempt to rule Europe.


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The depopulation of large regions of the Americas also led Europeans to search for cheap labor. Perhaps the most important consequence of the Colombian Exchange was the forced migration and enslavement of millions of people. While the Spanish conquered Mexico and Peru, the Portuguese subjugated Brazil and, as a result, led the way in trafficking enslaved people to the Americas.

They started in in western Africa Getz Wherever the sugarcane crop dominated, so too did plantations with enslaved labor. Unlike Mexico or Peru, the Portuguese colony of Brazil lacked precious metals near the coast. So the Portuguese developed sugar plantations outfitted with enslaved Africans. The Portuguese took sugarcane grass from its native homeland in South and East Asia, transplanted it to Brazil, and then sold the sugar to Europe and colonial North America.

The first truly global trade was also the most nefarious. It set the precedent of using African slaves to create cash crops to be sold abroad in a global market.

Discovery Of The Americas, 1492-1800 (Discovery & Exploration)

Eighty percent of the 11 million enslaved Africans who came to the Americas went to sugar plantation regions of Brazil and the Caribbean The slave trade certainly had enormous political, economic, and social implications in western and central Africa. Europeans could not conquer African nations because many were powerful and because various diseases, such as malaria and yellow fever, made it extremely dangerous for Europeans to enter into the interior of the continent.

Along the coasts the Portuguese followed by the Spanish and English traded firearms, tobacco, cotton, Indian cloth, iron bars, and liquor for enslaved people. It is estimated that central and west Africans acquired over 20 million guns from Europeans during the slave trade, mostly between and Getz This global trade shattered the stability, wealth, and human capital of African nations. On the brutal Middle Passage alone, 1 to 1.

If they decided not to make the trade, their neighbors could grow more powerful by amassing the powerful European war technology. The terrible trade led to internal African wars and destruction. In many regions of western and central Africa, the traumatic loss of so many men had long-term negative consequences for individuals, families, communities, and nations.

Connected to all major continents on the planet, the slave trade was a key aspect of the first fully global trade. The sugar and slave trade became known as the triangular trade because the English colonies in North America were also involved. The Portuguese sold Brazilian sugar to New Englanders who turned the sugar into rum and sailed across the Atlantic to trade the liquor for enslaved Africans.

Africa, Brazil, and the English colonies in America who also produced tobacco completed the points of the triangle.

Discovery of the Americas, : Tom Smith :

By , the consumption of sugar in England had increased 2, percent from So, the first truly global trade flourished on addictive substances—alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and sugar. This new global system, with the conquest of the Americas at its core, gradually and greatly enriched the new European imperial powers—especially, early on, the Spanish and the Portuguese, and then later the English and the French.

From an economic rather than a moral perspective, Europeans had stumbled onto a package of unstoppable global free-market advantages: extremely cheap labor; free and abundant land; rich natural resources, including precious minerals; and abundant markets around the world to sell their products. Although they were latecomers to the Americas, the British stepped into the global trade network and exploited the vast market, first through piracy, then trade, and finally by selling manufactured goods, such as textiles. While the Spanish wasted much of their newfound wealth on wars in Europe, the incipient British banking system helped finance new businesses and stimulate older ones, in industries such as textiles and shipbuilding.

The conquest and settlement of the Americas is the key starting point for understanding the rise of European economic and imperial power. Throughout the early modern era, Europeans struggled to compete with Asian manufactured products in a free market. The rest of the world found cheap Chinese silk and Indian cotton too irresistible and inexpensive.

When free-market competition failed them, European governments simply barred Asian products. Great Britain banned the import of Indian cloth and Chinese silk in , and France did the same 10 years later Marks In France, it became illegal to even wear Asian cloth, much less buy it. Then European industries simply replaced Asian products—cotton, silk, sugar, indigo, pearls, and, later, coffee—with cheaper substitutions from the Americas.

This policy, what economists call import substitution , worked wonders.