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Colonization of the New World

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1. Choose 1 European Country that colonized between 1500-1600’s in the New World and detail their colonization. Include What, When, Where, Why, How, Was.

One major country that colonized the New World was Spain. In the 15th century in Spain, women were 2nd class citizens who had no authority or power in general. However, the new king and queen of Spain-Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella Castille come into power equally. At this time Christopher Columbus seeks out the king and queen of Spain to grant him permission to sail out and prove that one can travel West and find a route to the West Indies. In 1492, Columbus charters 3 ships: The Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina. Columbus lands on the island of Hispaniola and Cuba, and is very convinced that he had reached the Indies. He makes 3 subsequent voyages in the years 1493, 1498, and 1502. When Columbus reaches the land of Hispaniola he is greeted by Indians. He called them this because he firmly believed he was in India.

Columbus and the Spaniards main purpose in colonizing the Americas was the search for Gold, to push the message of God, and for Glory. Instead of finding Gold, Columbus meets the Indians and finds gold jewelry and tobacco. Isabella and Ferdinand told Columbus to treat the Indians kindly regardless of the hostility they showed him. However Columbus disregards this order. When Columbus arrives back in 1493 he finds his camps in total chaos and his soldiers committing many crimes that turn the Indians against them. Columbus ends up dying believing he had reached Asia. In 1499, Amerigo Vespuci sails the Atlantic Coast toward south America, therefore European mapmakers label the “New World” after him.

In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan proves Columbus right, however he is killed in the Phillipines. The Spanish America, immediately develops an encomienda system, where officers became landowners who controlled Indian villages. They had to care and protect the villages while the conquistadores could use the Indians for goods and labor. This gave rise to societal classes such as the wealthy and the poor. Priests became aware of he harsh treatments to the Indians, especially Barlameo de la Casas who got word to Isabella. The encomienda is soon abolished and the hacienda is established where land ownership is more important than wealth. It soon becomes a settled society and a generation of bureacrats. In 1524, the Council of Indies issued laws for New Spain, administering a bureaucracy and an appellate for civil cases that arise in the developing societies. New Spain included Central America: The Carribbean, Mexico, and in Peru (Lima).

In 1519 Hernan Cortes begins the conquest of the Aztec Empire in Mexico and the emperor at that time, Montezuma believed Cortes was a God due to the prophecy of Quetakoatl. Due to this mistake, by 1521 the Aztec Empire falls, and Cortes conquers the Aztecs. In addition Francisco Pizarro in 1531 subdues the Incas in Peru in the battle of Cajamarca. In addition between 1521-1697 the longer of the conquests by the Spanish was the subjugation of the Mayans. When Cortes brought upon the downfall of the Aztec Empire he sent out his lieutenant Pedro de Alvarado to search for more cities. It was then that the Mayan civilization was found. However it was not brought down easily. It took several battles to finally destroy the Mayan civilization in 1697. Afterwards Spain grew in power and became a worldwide imperial system taking advantage to exploit the land, labor and mineral wealth. However due to all this success and growing empire, it became too much for the small country and contributed to their downfall

2. Compare and contrast with colonists and Indians between the Massachusetts and Virginia colony.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony and the Virginia Colony had both similar and contrasting relations with the fellow native americans that inhabited the land when their predecessors arrived. Unfortunately in both colonies, the Europeans will bring over infectious diseases that contribute to the decimation of the indian population. However it is how the colonists interact with the Indians and keep relations with them that differ. In the 1620’s separatist puritans that recognized themselves as Pilgrims landed in Cape Cod. These puritans were seeking religious freedom and were led by William Bradford. 41 pilgrim leaders aboard the Mayflower created the Mayflower Compact signifying a sign of self-governance.

In 1621 colonists meet Squanto a indian who learned English, he taught them how to grow crops such as corn and fish. As a thank you the Pilgrims threw a harvest feast with the Indians. This became known as Thanksgiving. However due to cultural misunderstanding and intolerance between the Native-European population often led to hampering negotiations and violent confrontations. The Puritans that began to arrive in 1629, had religious indifferences with the Natives. They considered the native inferior due to their primitive lifestyle and many wanted to convert them to Christianity. While Natives wanted to be in peace with nature, they tried to make political alliances with the colonists who seemed more preoccupied with land ownership. The Puritans were committed to private property and expected the Natives to immediately and permanently vacate their lands.

In 1636, a Massachusetts settler accused a Pequot of murdering a colonists, therefore as a revenge tactic the colonists set fire to a Pequot village. The Pequot War exploded in 1637 with the Puritans and Narangansetts as allies and killed hundreds of Pequots. Puritan-Indian hostilities erupted again with King Phillips War where Metacomet banded together the Algonquians and former allies of the Puritans-the Naragansetts in order to oppose the English from converting them to Christianity. In the year 1675 enraged Wampanoags burned Puritan farms. Both sides suffered great losses .

In 1676 Metacomet was hunted and killed and the Plymouth colony marched with his head on a pole which stood there for 20 years. In contrast to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Virginia Colony handeled indian relations much better than the Puritans in the Massachusetts colonies. The Indians that were living in Jamestown had mixed feelings about the arrival of the English in 1607. They were very hostile to the English and even attacked one of their ships before English could land. However, the Indians soon began to offer them food and hospitality.As the colony began to deteriorate within the first 2 years, John Smith saved the colony. Part of his leadership involved exploring the area and establishing trade with local Indians. Smith believed that the Indians should be treated as the Spanish treated them. So when trade didn’t go his way with the Indians, he usually got what he wanted through force. Due to this Indians tended to burn down colonists settlements and plantations. As a result colonists raided indian villages destroying crops and villages.

It is when the colonists capture Powhatan’s daughter Pocahontas that he is forced into a truce of sorts. Pocahontas marries John Rolfe in 1613 and this eases tensions between the Indians and the colonists. As the English began to expand more they encroached on Indian territory. Indians knew that expansion meant more plantations therefore more killing of game and forests, which affected their way of life. The death of Powhatan and Pocahontas further hastened hostilities. Unlike the Virginia Colony, both sides did not attempt to make peace with each other, although both colonies did result in casualties of many Indians, the way they decide to
handle the Indians differs.

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