Spanish exploration and colonization of the americas

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  • Also Known as “The Encounter”

Causes of Spanish Exploration and Colonization of the Americas

  • God, Gold, Glory- What do you think this means?

More Causes

  • The Crusades-
  • The Reconquista-
  • The Protestant Reformation-
  • New Technology-

A 1737 engraving showing a Spanish priest preaching to the Indians in Mexico

  • Source: Isidro Félix de Espinosa, “Engraving of Father Margil,” El Peregrino Septentrional Atlante: Delineado en la Exemplarissima Vida del Venerable Padre F. Antonio Margil de Jesús, 1737*

Positives for the Spanish

  • American foods introduced into Europe healthier people population explosion
  • Benefitted from the encomienda system
  • Mercantilism- colonies exist for the benefit of the mother country Forced colonies to provide valuable natural resources, then manufactured goods and sold the goods back to the natives and colonists
  • Learned valuable information from the natives (ie. How to build canoes, what foods were safe to eat, etc.)
  • Population migration from Europe to the Americas

Positives for the Native Americans

  • To meet the Church’s needs for educated priests, Spain built schools and universities in the colonies
  • To get to valuable resources, Spain built roads in the colonies

Columbian Exchange

  • From Old World to New World
  • wheat
  • sugar
  • bananas
  • rice
  • grapes
  • horses
  • pigs
  • cattle
  • sheep
  • chickens
  • smallpox
  • measles
  • typhus
  • corn
  • potato
  • beans
  • peanuts
  • squash
  • pumpkin
  • tomatoes
  • avocados
  • chili pepper
  • pineapple
  • cocoa
  • tobacco
  • quinine (a medicine for malaria)

Negatives for the Native Americans

  • Millions of Native Americans died of diseases introduced by the Europeans
  • Overworked under the encomienda system many more die Transatlantic slave trade
  • Destruction of native empires (Aztec, Inca), culture, and language
  • Forcibly converted to Christianity
  • Racist Social class system

Social Class Pyramid of Latin America Under Spanish Rule

Latin American Social Class System

  • Peninsulares Spanish official sent to govern Latin American colonies.  They controlled government completely. Creoles American born Spanish gentry,  They owned most of the land but were treated like second class citizens, and were denied political rights. Mestizos Spanish/Native America- denied basic political, economic, and social rights due to their mixed heritage. Mulattoes Spanish/African- denied basic political, economic, and social rights due to their mixed heritage. Native Americans & Slaves Lowest social class.  They had no rights and were often treated poorly and used as a labor source by the plantation owning Creoles.

What did the drastic reduction in the Native population lead the Spanish to do?

Slave Ship


Middle Passage

Negatives for the Spanish

  • As a result of the introduction of massive amounts of silver and gold into Europe, inflation skyrocketed. Because some people had a lot of money, but most people had very little money, those with money overspent and drove prices up.
  • Success in the colonies made Britain, France, and the Netherlands jealous competition over colonies

Terms to Review

  • Reconquista
  • imperialism
  • Middle Passage
  • encomienda
  • Columbian Exchange
  • mercantilism

Thematic Essay

  • Theme: Imperialism
  • Task:
    • Discuss the causes of Spanish exploration and Colonization/ imperialism of the Americas
    • Discuss the positive and negative effects of Spanish Imperialism in the Americas
    • Evaluate Spanish Imperialism Great Event or Great Tragedy
    • Essays are a minimum of 5 paragraphs in length,
    • include an introduction and a conclusion

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