The following question is based on the accompanying documents.( The documents have been edited for the purpose of this exercise). The question is designed to test your ability to work with and understand historical documents. Write an Essay that:
Has relevant thesis and supports that thesis with evidence from the documents.
Uses all or all but one of the documents
Analyzes the documents by grouping them in as many appropriate ways as possible and does not simply summarize the documents individually
Takes into account both the sources of the documents and the authors’ points of view
Assess the impact of the discovery of the Americas on world civilization. Determine to what extent these contacts were beneficial or disruptive.
Based on the following documents, discuss the positive and negative impact on the world of the discovery and conquest of the Americas by Europeans. What types of additional documentation would access the impact of the Americas on world history?
The worlds prior to 1492 and after 1648 were very different places. Columbus’ discoveries forced the world to change. By the end of the Thirty Years’ War, European nations were beginning to impose themselves upon the rest of the inhabited world with tremendous repercussions. And while few people except experts and some government officials knew of the sources and reasons for the changes, nevertheless from 1492 onwards, the influences of the New World were irrevocably present in world history.
A chronicle kept by the Cakchiquel Mayas for the descendants, recording the impact of a European disease on their people, early 16th century
“Great was the stench of the dead. After our fathers and grandfathers had succumbed, half of the people fled to the fields. The dogs and vultures devoured the bodies. The mortality was terrible. Your grandfathers died, and with them died the son of the king and his brothers and kinsmen. So it was that we become orphans, oh, my sons! So we became when we were young. All of us were thus. We were born to die!”
Tomas de Mercado, Dominican priest and theologian, his book of advice to merchants, 1520.
“Previously, Andalucia (Southern Spain) and Lusitania (Portugal) used to be the very end of the world, but now, with the discovery of the [West] Indies, they have become its center…they (the merchants of Seville) deal in all parts of Christendom and even in Barbary (Muslim lands). To Flanders they ship wool, oil, and wine, and bring therefrom every kind…To Florence they send cochineal (dye) and hides, and bring back brocades, silk, and cloth. At Cape Verde they trade in Negroes…to the (West) Indies they ship cargoes of every merchandise, and return with gold, silver, pearls and cochineal…the opportunities for great wealth…attract some of the principal citizens into becoming merchants, when they see the vast profits to be gained…the gentry through greed or necessity, have lowered themselves, if not to trade, at least to intermarry with trading families; and the merchants, with their desire for nobility, have striven to rise, and establish rich entitled estates.”
Letter from King Affonso of Angola to the King of Portugal, 1526
“We cannot reckon how great the damage is, since the merchants are taking every day our natives, sons of the land and vassals and our relatives, because the thieves and men of bad conscience grad them wishing to have the things and wares of this kingdom which they are ambitious of; they grab them and get them to be sold; and so great, Sir, is the corruption and licentiousness that our country is being completely depopulated…We beg of Your Highness to help and assist us in this matter, commanding your factors [slavers] that they should not send either the merchants or wares, because it is our will that in these kingdoms there should not be any trade of slaves nor outlet for them.”
Robert Bellarmine, French Cardinal and Jesuit, his book, Controversiae, 1593
“Heretics (Protestants) are never said to have converted either pagans or Jews to the faith…But in this century the Catholics have converted many hundreds [of thousands] of heathens in the world; yet…they [Protestants] have hardly converted even so much as a handful.”
AMERICAN FOODSTUFFS AND PLANTS EXPORTED TO THE WORLD
Beans (17 Types)
VARIETIES OF OLD AND NEW WORLD STAPLE CROPS COMPARED
Note: After 1500, American Plants were transplanted and grown the world over.
Michael de Montaigne, French essayist and philosopher, in his Essays, 1603
“So many goodly cities ransacked and razed; so many nations destroyed and made desolate; so infinite millions of harmless people of all sexes, states and ages massacred, ravaged, and put to the sword; and the richest, fairest, and best part of the world topsiturvied, ruined, and defaced for the traffic [the riches of the Americas].”
John Evelyn, English pamphleteer, his concerns addressed to Parliament, 1674
“[You should worry about] the ruinous number of our men daily flocking to American plantations [from] whence so few return…which in time will drain us of people, as now Spain is, and will endanger our ruin, as the Indies do Spain.”
Marc Lescabot, French economic historian, from his book, The History of New France, commenting on price inflation and devaluation of money, 1612.
“Before the voyages to Peru, one could keep much wealth in a little place, but now that gold and silver have been cheapened by abundance, great chests are required to transport what before could be carried wrapped up in a piece of drugget. A man could go a long way with a purse in his sleeve, but now he needs a trunk and a horse.”
Moroccan Ambassador in Madrid, diplomatic dispatches, 1690-1691.
“…the Spanish nation today possesses the greatest wealth and the largest income of all the Christians. But the love of luxury and the comforts of civilization have overcome tem, and you will rarely find one of this nation who engages in trade or travel abroad for commerce as do the other Christian nations (of France, the Netherlands, Portugal and England)…Similarly, the handicrafts practiced by the lower classes and common people are despised by this nation…Most of those who practice these crafts in Spain are Frenchmen, [who] flock to Spain to look for work…[and] in a short time make great fortunes.”