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lec4 - 4 INDIAN EXPLOITATION IN THE SPANISH EMPIRE COLONIAL...

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4. INDIAN EXPLOITATION IN THE SPANISH EMPIRE COLONIAL CHRONICLES & ETHNOGRAPHY (2/12/04) Foundations of Economy Spanish empire huge, lasted more than 300 years, went through many changes So no generalizations could cover all variation. Slow communications; rigid rules, often ignored; layers of bureaucracy. Mainstay of economy was silver, more than gold, produced in Peru and Mexico. Elaborate system fleets, shipments, to get it back to Spain Peruvian silver up coast to Panama, crossing by mule, trade fairs in Portobelo Depredations of Northern European pirates; Spanish fortifications, taxes to support. Also massive smuggling and cheating at trade fairs. Did not lead to balanced development of Spanish economy: swamped with silver, also drained away to pay royal debts Diversification: cacao, dyes, etc., especially sugar Also products needed locally and to support silver economy: mules, horses, beef etc. Indian exploitation Indians exploited for goods, tribute, and especially labor Various names: encomienda , repartimiento for both labor and goods Where appropriate, built on pre-Colombian systems: in Andes, mita Basic system granted specified rights in particular native communities to individual Spaniards: e.g., so many feathers or sheep or so many men to work so many days once or twice a year Rights not inherited.
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