1. European Age of Discovery and the Conquest of the Americas


I. What were the Motives for the Explorations?
   God, Glory, Gold

A. Religious concerns

    - expansion of the  Islamic Ottoman Empire

    - to claim new souls for God


B. Glory

    - a Renaissance  ideal

    - a desire to distinguish oneself


C. Economic concerns:

    1. Shortage of gold and silver

    2. Trade imbalance with the East

    3. Desire to eliminate middlemen in trade

    4. Threat to overland trade routes


D. Supported by a general interest in the East


II. What were the First European States to Sponsor

     Overseas Exploration and What Did They Find?

A. Portugal

    1. Prince Henry the Navigator  (1394-1460)

        - sponsored Portuguese exploration of the African


        - motives: economic and religious


    2. Early use of the scientific method > The World as the

        First Scientific Laboratory

        - Hypothesis > Africa can be circumnavigated

            (Ptolomy vs. Strabo)

        - Theory tested through observation and

            experimentation: voyages of exploration began

            in 1415 and culminated with Vasco Da Gama’s

            arrival in India in 1497


    3. Portuguese expansion in the East based on trade in

          Africa and Asia and dependent on Portuguese naval



B. Spain

    1. Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)

        - reached the Bahamas in 1492              


    2. Treaty of Tordesillas (1494)

        - an imagery line in the Atlantic Ocean divided the

            world into two; Spain had a right to the newly

            discovered lands to the west, Portugal to the east


    3. Subsequent Voyages

        - Amerigo Vespucci explored the east coast of South

            America (1499-1502)

        - Balboa > discovered the Pacific Ocean (1513)

        - Magellan > circumnavigated the world (1522)


    4. Spanish expansion in the West was based on

          colonization and the direct exploitation of native

          people and resources


III. How Did the Spanish Conquer and Exploit Their

       Newly Acquired Lands in the Americas?

A. Conquest

    1. Conquistadors

        - a group of military men seeking adventure,

            fortune, and fame


    2. Hernán Cortés (1485-1547)

        - conquered the Aztecs of Mexico (1519-1521)


    3. Francisco Pizzaro (c. 1470-1541)

        -  conquered the Incas of Peru (1533)


    4. Conquistadors were aided by:

        - their superior military technology

        - horses and mastiffs

        - newly introduced diseases

        - their ability to exploit local political divisions

        - native allies


B. Colonial Administration

    1. Governed by a centralized administration under the

          authority of the king in Spain

          - Two viceroyalties were established:

            New Spain > Mexico City 

            New Castile (Peru) > Lima



The King 

The Council of the Indies

(from Madrid advised the King and issued laws governing the colonies)

↓ ↑

The Viceroys

(appointed by the King, administered the vice-royalties, enforced the laws, advised the Council)

↓ ↑


(local councils that acted as law courts and checked the power of the viceroys)



       2. New Cities - 192 Spanish towns and cities were established by 1570


C. Labor Systems

    1. Status of native Americans

        - as Spanish subjects, Queen Isabel forbade their


        - views of the Indians ranged from “noble savages” to

            irrational sub-humans

        - 1537 Papal Bull declared the Indians truly men with

            souls that must be converted to Christianity


    2. Encomienda System

        - Initially colonists were granted large landed estates

            with the right to demand tribute and labor service

            from the native populations

        - In return the colonists were to protect the

            Indians and care for their spiritual and physical



    3. Encomienda System outlawed in 1542

        - Cruel treatment of laborers and the poor sustenance

            provided them led to its criticism

        - Forced labor was still permitted, but periods of

            required work limited and wages had to be paid


    4. Mita System

        - draft system used to provide labor for the silver


        - one year work in the mines followed by six years

            work in home region


    5. Repartimiento System

        - similar to the Mita System and used in Mexico


IV. How did the Portuguese Conquer and Exploit Their

      American Colony of Brazil?

A. Conquest

    1. Though no large native American Empires

          encountered, strong resistance was given by the

          French who had occupied parts of Brazil and

          their American allies.


    2. By 1567 French driven out, and native Americans

          converted to Catholicism, enslaved or driven away


B. Administration

    - centralized under the King

    - the royal capital was established at Salvador in 1549


C. Sugar Plantations

    - Brazil initially exploited primarily for the cultivation of

          sugar for export to Europe

     - Land grants were given to noblemen who established

          sugar plantations

     - Sugar production extremely arduous involving

          cultivation and industrial labor

     - Difficulty in acquiring and maintaining Indian laborers

          led to the importation of African slaves


V. What Impact Did the Colonization of the Americas

     Have on Global Development?

A. The Columbian Exchange

    1. A flood of new information and knowledge

    2. Food, disease and people


B. Economic Impact

    - Put an end to the gold shortage

    - Increase in trade and introduction of new products

    - Expansion of industry

    - Shift in the center of trade from the Mediterranean Sea

        to the Atlantic Ocean



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