Effects of Columbus’s Voyage: Slavery Directions



Download 17.31 Kb.
Date conversion28.04.2016
Size17.31 Kb.
Effects of Columbus’s Voyage: Slavery

Directions: Read the excerpt below. After reading, with your breakaway group write a summary of the main points from the excerpt. Be prepared to explain your summary to your home group.

*An excerpt from Lies my teacher told me: everything your American history textbook got wrong by James W. Loewen (1995). P.53-55

The tribute system eventually broke down because what it demanded was impossible. To replace it, Columbus installed the encomienda system, in which granted or “commended” entire Indian villages to individual colonists or groups of colonists. Since it was not called slavery, this forced- labor system escaped the moral censure that slavery received. Following Columbus’s example, Spain made the encomienda system official policy on Haiti in 1502; other conquistadors subsequently introduced it to Mexico, Peru, and Florida.

The tribute and enconmienda systems caused incredible depopulation. On Haiti the colonists made the Indians mine gold for them, raise Spanish food, and even carry them everywhere they went. The Indians couldn’t stand it. Pedro de Cordoba wrote in a letter to King Ferdinand in 1517, “As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they endured, the Indians choose and have chosen suicide. Occasionally a hundred have committed mass suicide. The women, exhausted by labor, have shunned conception and childbirth…Many, when pregnant, have taken something to abort and have aborted. Others after delivery have killed their children with their own hands, so as not to leave them in such oppressive slavery.”

Beyond acts of individual cruelty, the Spanish disrupted the Indian ecosystem and culture. Forcing Indians to work in mines rather than in their gardens led to widespread malnutrition. The intrusion of rabbits and livestock caused further ecological disaster. Diseases new to the Indians played a role, although smallpox, usually the big killer, did not appear on the island until after 1516. Some of the Indians tried fleeing to Cuba, but the Spanish soon followed them there. Estimates of Haiti’s pre-Columbian population range as high as 8,000,000 people. When Christopher Columbus returned to Spain, he left his brother Bartholomew in charge of the island. Bartholomew took a census of Indian adults in 1496 and came up with 1,100,000…By 1555, they were all gone.

Columbus not only sent the first slaves across the Atlantic, he probably sent more slaves—about five thousand—than any other individual. To her credit, Queen Isabelle opposed outright enslavement and returned some Indians to the Caribbean. But other nations rushed to emulate Columbus. In 1501 the Portuguese began to depopulate Labrador, transporting the now extinct Beothuk Indians to Europe and Cape Verde as slaves. After the British established beachheards on the Atlantic coast of North America, they encouraged coastal Indian tribes to capture and sell members of more distant tribes. Charleston, South Carolina, became a major port for exporting Indian slaves. The Pilgrims and Puritans sold the survivors of the Pequot War into slavery in Bermuda in 1637. The French shipped virtually the entire Natchez nation in chains to the West Indies in 1731.

A particularly repellent aspect of the slave trade was sexual. As soon as the 1493 expedition got to the Caribbean, before it even reached Haiti, Columbus was rewarding his lieutenants with native women to rape. On Haiti, sex slaves were one more perquisite the Spaniards enjoyed. Columbus wrote a friend in 1500, “A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.”

The slave trade destroyed whole Indian nations. Enslaved Indians dies. To replace the dying Haitians, the Spanish imported tens of thousands more Indians from the Bahamas, which “are now deserted” in the words of the Spanish historian Peter Martyr, reporting in 1516. Packed in below deck, with hatchways closed to prevent their escape, so many slaves died on the trip…

Because the Indians dies, Indian slavery then led to the massive slave trade the other way across the Atlantic, from Africa. This trade also began on Haiti, initiated by Columbus’s son in 1505. Predictably, Haiti then became the site of the first large-scale slave revolt, when blacks and Indians banded together in 1519. The uprising lasted more than a decade and was finally brought to an end by the Spanish in the 1530’s.

Summary:

Effects of Columbus’s Voyage: Change in Europe

Directions: Read the excerpt below. After reading, with your breakaway group write a summary of the main points from the excerpt. Be prepared to explain your summary to your home group.

*An excerpt from Lies my teacher told me: everything your American history textbook got wrong by James W. Loewen (1995). Pg. 57-58

Columbus’s voyages caused almost as much change in Europe as in the Americas. This is the other half of the cast process historians now call the Columbian exchange… Perhaps the most far reaching impact of Columbus’s findings was on Christianity. In 1492 all of Europe was in the grip of the Catholic Church. As Larousse puts it, before America, “Europe was virtually incapable of self-criticism.” After America, Europe’s religious uniformity was ruptured. For how were these new people to be explained? They were not mentioned in the Bible. The Indians simply did not fit within orthodox Christianity’s explanation of the moral universe. Moreover…Indians had not rejected Christianity, they had just never encountered it. Were they doomed to hell? Even the animals of America posed a religious challenge. According to the Bible, at the dawn of creation all animals lived in the Garden of Eden. Later, two of each species entered Noah’s ark and ended up on Mt. Ararat. Since Eden and Mt. Ararat were both in the Middle East, where could these new American species have come from? Such questions shook orthodox Catholicism and contributed to the Protestant Reformation, which began in 1517.

Politically, nations like the Arawaks—without monarchs, without much hierarchy—stunned Europeans. In 1516 Thomas More’s Utopia, based on an account of the Incan empire in Peru, challenged European social organization by suggesting a radically different and superior alternative. Other social philosophers seized upon the Indians as living examples of Europe’s primordial past, which is what John Locke meant by the phrase “In the beginning, all the world was America.” Depending upon their political persuasion, some Europeans glorified Indian nations as examples of simpler, better societies, from which European civilization had developed, while others maligned the Indian societies as primitive and underdeveloped. In either case, from Montaigne, Montesquieu, and Rousseau down to Marx and Engels, European philosophers’ concepts of the good society were transformed by ideas from America.

America fascinated the masses as well as the elite. In The Tempest, Shakespeare noted this universal curiosity: “They will not give a doit to relieve a lambe beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian.” Europe’s fascination with the Americas was directly responsible, in fact, for a rise in European self-consciousness. From the beginning America was perceived as an opposite to Europe in ways that even Africa never had been. In a sense there was no “Europe” before 1492. People were simply Tuscan, French, and the like. Now Europeans began to see similarities among themselves, at least as contrasted with Native Americans.

Summary:

Effects of Columbus’s Voyage: Spread of Crops, Animals, Disease

Directions: Read the excerpt below. After reading, with your breakaway group write a summary of the main points from the excerpt. Be prepared to explain your summary to your home group.

*An excerpt from Lies my teacher told me: everything your American history textbook got wrong by James W. Loewen (1995). Pg 57, 59:

Columbus’s voyages caused almost as much change in Europe as in the Americas. This is the other half of the vast process historians now call the Columbian exchange. Crops, animals, ideas, and diseases began to cross the oceans regularly.
The Americas affected more than the mind. African and Eurasian stomachs were also affected. Almost half of all major crops now grown throughout the world originally came from the Americas. According to Alfred Crosby, adding corn to African diets caused the population to grow, which helped fuel the African slave trade to the Americas. Adding potatoes to European diets caused the population to explode in the sixteen and seventeenth centuries, which in turn helped fuel the European immigration to the Americas and Australia. Crops from America also played a key role in the ascendancy of Britain, Germany, and, finally, Russia; the rise of these northern nations shifted the power base of Europe away from the Mediterranean.
* An excerpt from Newsweek by Kenneth Auchincloss, When Worlds Collide

(Special Issue, Fall/Winter 1991, pp. 8-13):


It was as if scattered pieces of the human puzzle were fitted together at last. Parts became a hole, and life was transformed in a hundred ways. New foods reshaped the diet of both hemispheres; sugar, cattle and pigs moved west, the tomato and the potato, cocoa and corn moved east. The horse, hitherto unknown in the New World, changed daily existence for the Indians of the North American plains and made possible the world of the gauchos. The wheel, which the pre- Columbian civilizations of the West used only in children's toys, revolutionized work and travel. Written language spread through the continent, replacing either a ponderous system of hieroglyphics or nothing at all.
Inevitably, there was havoc. Diseases against which they had no natural immunity took a terrible toll among the people of the New World; smallpox alone wiped out many millions. Germs were the conquistadors' most devastation weapon; local populations were so racked by illness that they could offer little resistance to the European conquest. Syphilis may have spread in the opposite direction; it first appeared in Europe after the conquistadors began returning from the Americas. Tobacco, its delights masking its dangers, was another gift from the New World to the Old.

Summary:

Effects of Columbus’s Voyage: Economy

Directions: Read the excerpt below. After reading, with your breakaway group write a summary of the main points from the excerpt. Be prepared to explain your summary to your home group.

*An excerpt from Lies my teacher told me: everything your American history textbook got wrong by James W. Loewen (1995). Pg. 59



Economically, exploiting the Americas transformed Europe, enriching first Spain, then, through trade and piracy, other nations. Columbus’s gold finds on Haiti were soon dwarfed by discoveries of gold and silver in Mexico and the Andes. European religious and political leaders quickly amassed so much gold that they applied gold leaf to the ceilings of their churches and palaces, erected golden statues in the corners, and strung vines of golden grapes between them. Marx and Engeles held that this wealth “gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry an impulse never before known.” Some writers credit it with the rise of capitalism and eventually the industrial revolution.
Capitalism was probably already underway, but at least, American riches played a major role in the transformation. Gold and silver from America replaced land as the basis for wealth and status, increasing the power of the new merchant class that would soon dominate the world. Where Muslim nations had once rivaled Europe, the new wealth undermined Islamic power.
American gold and silver fueled a 400 percent inflation that eroded the economies of most non-European countries and helped Europe to develop a global market system. Africa suffered: the trans-Saharan trade collapsed, because the Americas supplied more gold and silver than the Gold Coast ever could. African traders now had only one commodity that Europe wanted: slaves. In anthropologist Jack Weatherford’s words, “Africans thus became victims of the discovery of America as surely as did the American Indians.”
Summary:


The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2016
send message

    Main page