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11 Notes(OLD) - The Americas_ Africa and Oceania_ 1500-1750

11 Notes(OLD) - The Americas_ Africa and Oceania_ 1500-1750...

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Chapter 11 America, Africa and Oceania, 1500 - 1750 Part I The Americas Until 1492 the peoples of the eastern and western hemispheres had almost no dealings with each other. It is probable that the Iberian Celts made sporadic voyages to North America before the Common Era. About 1,000 CE, Viking explorers established a short lived colony in modern Newfoundland and sporadic encounters between European fisherman and the indigenous peoples of North America were likely before Christopher Columbus made his first journey across the Atlantic. After 1492, however, the voyages of European mariners led to permanent and sustained contact with peoples of the “New World”, South and East Asia, and Oceania. The Spanish Carribbean The first site of interaction between the Spanish and American peoples was in the Caribbean. The natives in that area were called Tainos ( Teye-noh ) who lived in small villages under authority of chiefs who allocated land to families and supervised community affairs. Their diet centered on vegetables and fruits, meat, and fish. They were friendly to the Spanish, enjoyed the glass, beads and metals tools the Spanish traded, and offered little resistance to their invaders. Christopher Columbus and his immediate followers made the island of Hispaniola (today Haiti and Dominican Republic) their headquarters. They established the town of Santo Domingo , which quickly became the capital of the Spanish Caribbean. Columbus’ original plan was to build forts and trading posts where merchants could trade with local peoples for products desired by European consumers. However, it soon became clear that there were no silks or spices, so the Spanish began to look for some other way to turn a profit. To turn that profit the Spanish began to look for gold. They forcibly recruited the Tainos for mining the gold. Recruitment of labor came through an institution known as the Encomienda , which was first established on Hispaniola in the mid 1490s while Columbus was still exploring. Encomienda gave the Spanish settlers ( Encomenderos ) the right to compel the Tainos to work in their mines or fields. In theory, the encomenderos assumed responsibility to look after the workers’ health and welfare and to encourage their conversion to Christianity. In reality, the encomienda system was forced labor (almost slavery) conscription of brutal proportions. The Indians were severely treated. If they refused or rebelled, they were crushed by superior Spanish technology. By 1515, the encomienda system was operating efficiently and sending large amounts of gold to Spain. Then in 1518, smallpox hit the islands. The Tainos’ population was devastated. Therefore, the Spanish resorted to raiding parties to kidnap and enslave Indians on other islands. By the 1540s, the native population of the Caribbean had declined from about six million to only a few thousand. Moreover, Tainos society was absorbed into Spanish Colonial society, but has left some interesting traces. The words canoe, hammock, hurricane, barbecue, maize, and tobacco all derive from Tainos words. Their
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