Hist 110
American Civilization I
Instructor: Dr. Donald R. Shaffer
Upper Iowa University
Lecture 2
Spanish Colonies
Government of Spanish America
Because of the vast wealth it generated,
Spanish monarchs tried to keep their
American colonies under tight control
Colonies organized into “viceroyalties”
under a “viceroyal” directly appointed by
the king
 The Catholic Church
Bartolome de Las Casas: successfully
promoted the idea that the Indians had souls
and should not be killed or enslaved
Missions had the dual purpose of converting
the Indians to Christianity and “civilizing”
them (i.e., turning them into good Spanish
 Encomienda
A grant of land and Indian laborers to a
The Spaniard could make use of the Indian
labor, but in return was expected to work to
convert the Indians to Christianity and
civilize them
Early encomiendas involved the ruthless
exploitation of natives
Lecture 2
French Colonies
The French moved gradually into North
America in the 16th century
Like the Spanish they tried to convert
the Indians to Christianity, but initially
did not seek conquest
Like the Spanish, they initially came
looking for treasure, but found none in
what is today Quebec
They stayed, however, because they
found it profitable to trade European
goods with the Indians for animal furs
The fur trade worked best with a
limited French presence, mostly traders
 “coureurs de bois”: illegal fur trappers
who established cultural ties with
Indians, leading to creation of the
Metis (mixed French-Indian people)
Eventually the French established larger
settlements, but they were small
compared to the English
Lecture 2
Dutch in America
 Holland by the 17th century was a leading
commercial power in Europe, making it
a rival to England
In the process of gaining independence
from Spain, it developed global colonial
and trade interests, including in America
 The Dutch established a colony in the
Hudson River Valley trading for furs with
Indians at Fort Orange (present-day
 English takeover
Holland’s small population and prosperity
meant few immigrants came to America
making the colony vulnerable
 The colony, especially its commercial
capital New Amsterdam (late New York
City) also attracted a diverse population
with little loyalty to Holland
 Hence, there was little resistance when
the English invaded the colony in 1664,
renaming in it New York after its new
ruler the Duke of York (later James II)
Lecture 2
England: Establishing Virginia
 The first successful English colony in
North America was established at
Jamestown in Virginia in 1607
Established by the Virginia Company of
London, a joint-stock company charted
by James I
 The intent of the company was to emulate
the Spanish model
 Live initially by exploiting the Indians
 Find and seize Indian treasure
 This model did not work because the
Indians in the Chesapeake region
were poor hunter-farmers
 Most early colonists soon died from
disease and starvation
 Tobacco
The salvation of the colony was tobacco,
brought in from the Caribbean
 After the introduction of tobacco,
Virginia prospered, although life
remained rough and life spans short until
the late 1600s
Lecture 2
England: Life in the Early Chesapeake
 Brutish and short
 Low life expectancy: 40% dead within 6
years of arrival; 2/3 dead within 10 years
 Imbalanced sex ratio (men outnumber
 Scattered, low density population
 Primitive living conditions
 Positives: more food, chance to own land
 Maryland
Charles I established Maryland in 1632 as
a refuge for English Catholics
 Granted a proprietary colony to Cecilius
Calvert, Lord Baltimore
 Also developed a tobacco economy
 Toleration Act (1649): religious toleration
to all trinitarian Christians (meant to
protect Catholic minority from the
Protestant majority in the colony)
 This act was the first formal
legislation enacting (albeit limited)
religious freedom in American history
Lecture 2
England: Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia
 Indentured Servants
80 percent of all 17th century immigrants
 Main source of labor in the early decades
 Worked 4-7 years in return for passage
 Young and poor, overwhelmingly male
 If servants arrived before 1660 and
survived they had a decent chance of
becoming a land owning planter
A collapse in tobacco prices after 1660
made this goal unattainable
 Former indentured servants in 1676, led
by Nathaniel Bacon, pressured Gov.
William Berkeley to confiscate land from
Indians to provide them with plantations
When Berkeley refused, Bacon and his
followers rebelled, burning Jamestown
 Bacon’s sudden death and arrival of royal
troops led to revolt’s collapse
 After revolt, planters began to replace
indentured servants with African slaves
Advertisement offering reward
for runaway indentured servant
Lecture 2
England: Establishing New England Colonies
 Unlike Virginia, the colonists in New
England had religious motivations for
coming to America
The English monarchy was increasingly
hostile during the reign of Charles I to
people who refused to follow the
hierarchy of the Church of England
 Plymouth
Established by Separatist Puritans in 1620
near Cape Cod, Massachusetts
 These were the famous “Pilgrims”
 After difficult start, their colony a success
 Massachusetts Bay
Congregationalist Puritans established
the much larger colony in 1629
 “Errand to the Wilderness”
 Tried to prove Puritan approach in
England by establishing an ideal
Puritan society in America
Lecture 2
England: Puritanism and New England
 The Puritans tried to emulate what they
saw as the simplicity and egalitarianism
they saw in early Christianity
They rejected the hierarchy and practices
of the Church of England as too similar to
Catholic Church
 Congregationalist Puritans did not
formally renounce the Church of England
but they hoped to reform from within
 Separatist Puritans formally rejected the
Church of England
 Puritan Intolerance
Despite being persecuted by the crown in
England, Puritans did not hesitate to
persecute outsiders and their own people
who deviated from Puritan orthodoxy
 Roger Williams: banished from
Massachusetts and then established
Rhode Island
 Anne Hutchinson: defied Puritan
theological and male authority
Puritans walking to Sunday
church services – all people
in Puritan New England were
legally required to attend church
Lecture 2
Life in Early New England
 New England economy: more diversified
than the Chesapeake (not dependent on
a single crop or just agriculture)
 Puritans came from ‘midling sort’ of
English society, which meant they could
finance their own passage to America
They also moved to America as families,
meaning New England had a more
balanced sex ratio than the Chesapeake
 Puritans lived in compact villages rather
than on the land they farmed
Village life reinforced religious beliefs by
making all Puritans subject to scrutiny
 Their housing was much more
substantial than in the Chesapeake
 Longer life expectancy than Chesapeake
due to healthier lifestyle and climate
 Old Deluder Act (1647)
First formal provision for public
education in American history
 Puritans believed in witchcraft:
Salem Witchcraft Trial: (right click on the
link to an outside website)
Puritan home built in 1668
Salem, Massachusetts
An example of the substantial
housing built in New England
Lecture 2
England: Puritans and Native Americans
 The Puritans had an ambivalent attitude
toward Native Americans
They coveted Indian land and believed
Native Americans to be culturally inferior
and under Satan’s control
 Yet some Puritans like John Eliot also felt
an obligation to try to convert Indians to
 Praying Villages
Communities of Native American
 Converts adopted Puritan culture as well
as Puritan religion
 Metacom’s Rebellion (1675)
Wampanoags and their allies, feeling
increasingly threatened by the English
tried to wipe them out
 Destroyed 20% of English villages and 5%
of population before counter-attacks by
English and their Indian allies prevailed

Lecture 2 - Upper Iowa University