The Beginnings of a
Global Age
Europe and the Americas from 1492-1750:
How did European Colonization of the
Americas shape global economies and
societies?
First Encounters

West Indies
– Columbus encountered the Taino people
– Friendly toward Spanish
– Spanish treated them badly (assault, claimed
land, killed resistance, demanded gold)

Conquistadors (conquerors)
– Arrived in Haiti, Cuba, and the DR
– Seized gold, forced conversion to Christianity
Spanish Conquistadors

Guns, Horses and Disease
– Only 100’s of conquistadors versus millions of
natives…but they had the advantage
 Superior guns/cannons to native arrows/spears
 Horses (natives had never seen horses)
– Carry supplies, useful in battle, scary to natives
 Smallpox, Measles, Influenza
– Native Americans had no immunity
– Spread rapidly and wiped out entire villages
– Native American population of the Carribbean Islands
declined by 90% in the 1500’s!!!!
– Millions more would die as Europeans made their way
inland
Cortez Conquers Mexico

Hernan Cortez landed on Mexican coast in 1519
– Went to Tenochtitlan, the Aztec Empire’s capitol.

Aztecs
– Aztecs had gained power and built their empire by
conquering others and sacrificing captives to the
Aztec gods.

The Takeover: Aztec Empire
– Moctezuma, the Aztec Emperor, welcomes Cortez and sends
religious gifts of gold, silver, turquoise and feathers.
– Cortez persuades Moctezuma to sign over the land and treasure
by forming alliances with the people that the Aztecs had
conquered.
– MORE Spanish conquistadors land on the coast and challenge
Cortez! Aztecs drive Spanish out due to the confusion
– Cortez retreats, plans assault.
– Smallpox has begun to spread.

In 1521, Cortez attacks and demolishes Tenochtitlan.
Tenochtitlan is the cite of modern day Mexico City, built
by the Spanish on the ruins.
Pizarro take Peru

Francisco Pizarro was inspired by
Cortez’s success
– Arrived in Peru in 1532
– Atahualpa had just won the throne of the
Incan Empire after a bloody civil war.

The Takeover: Incan Empire
– Atahualpa refused to convert to
Christianity or be ruled by the Spanish.
– Pizarro captured and killed the ruler and
slaughtered thousands of Incans.
– Pizarro and Spanish forces took over the
Incan empire (Peru, Ecuador and Chile)
 Superior weapons, disease
Effects of the Spanish Conquistadors


A few hundred European Soldiers conquered millions of
Native Americans (note: not Native NORTH Americans)
in only a few decades.
Spanish:
– Seized valuable goods
– Used N.A. labor to mine silver
– Spain became Europe’s greatest power

Natives:
– Tens of thousands died
– Many converted to Christianity hoping suffering would end
– Maya kept fighting the Spanish, revolts among Inca, passive
resistance through promoting native culture
Colonies!
What next?
 Settlers and missionaries followed the
conquistadors—established colonies.
 New culture emerges:

– Reflected European, Native American, and
African tradition
Ruling the New Spanish Empire


By mid-1500, Spain claimed
an empire stretching from
California to South America.
Governing:
– Viceroys—representatives to
rule in the king’s name in each
of the four new provinces.
– Council of the Indies—passed
laws for the colonies
Ruling the Empire (continued)
Catholic Church converted natives to Christianity
 Controlled Economic Activity (Trade)

– Silver and gold
– Sugar cane

Encomienda—a system of forced labor
– Natives forced to work mines and plantations
– Brutality caused drastic declines in population
– Workers brought from Africa to fill shortages (slaves!)
Colonial Society and Culture

Mixing diverse people gave rise to a new social
structure
– Blending traditions
– Europeans learned:
 Native architecture, ate native foods, traveled in Indian-style
canoes, new artistic styles
– Natives learned:
 New religion, new animal like the horse
– Africans contributed:
 Farming methods, cooking styles, new crops, drama dance
and songs for Christian services
Society Continued
Social Classes:
Peninsulars
(people born in spain)
Filled highest level of gov’t
Creoles
(American-born descendants of Spanish Settlers)
Owned most of the plantations, ranches and mines
Mixed Populations:
Mestizos (mix of Native and European)
Mulattoes (mix of African and European)
Native Americans & Africans
Beyond the Spanish Empire

Treaty of Torsedillas (1494)
– Portugal claimed Brazil

Tupian Indians – Native Americans who lived in Brazil
– Wiped out by disease

Portuguese Colonies began in 1530s
–
–
–
–
–
–
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Grants of land given to nobles if they shared wealth with king
Exported brazilwood (dye) -- very profitable
(No gold or silver mining!)
Raising cattle
Plantation agriculture
Slaves used to clear land (Native and African)
New culture blending Euro, Native and African elements
English, French & Dutch Challenge

Other Euro powers jealous!
– Portugal and Spain have strict control over
trade.

Dutch, English and French Pirates prey on
treasure ships leaving the Americas.
(Argh)
– Privateers -- Pirates operating with European
gov’t approval
– Other explorers kept searching for gold, other
treasure, and a northwest passage to Asia.
Assignment

Using your notes from today and previous
days, create a Venn Diagram comparing
and contrasting the Portuguese Empire
and the Spanish Empire.
– You should have at least 5 significant
differences on each side, and 5 significant
similarities in the center.
– Complete this in your notebooks.