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Ceremonies of Possession: Comparing Spanish, French, and English Imperialism


Ceremonies of Possession: Comparing Spanish, French, and English Imperialism ... British French Spanish ... important to the French that the Indians themselves ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ceremonies of Possession: Comparing Spanish, French, and English Imperialism

Ceremonies of Possession Comparing Spanish,
French, and English Imperialism
  • (1973) From 1600 1763, several European nations
    vied for control of the North American continent.
    Why did England win the struggle?
  • (2000) Analyze the cultural and economic
    responses of TWO of the following groups to the
    Indians of North America before 1750.
  • British French Spanish

Counter-factual What if Columbus had sailed for
Henry VII rather than Spain?
  • England
  • Silver? development imperial bureaucracy
    financial independence from Parliament?
    absolutist rule culture
  • Wealth subjugated Indians? no need dissolve
    monasteries missionary zeal/cover? England
    staunchly Catholic
  • Spain
  • Poverty? Spanish centralism collapses after FI?
    religious and cultural pluralism possible
    incursions of Protestantism
  • Spanish colonies based on trade w/ little royal
    control? reinforce individualism and capitalism
  • Irony Spains early imperial success led to
    their long-term collapse Englands early
    imperial failure led to their long-term dominance

I. The Requirement Spanish Justification
  • Upon arrival in a new land, Spanish explorers and
    conquistadores read a legal document to the
    natives called the Requirement.

Spanish Goals
  • The Spanish sought
  • 1. Conversion of the Indians to Christianity
  • 2. Resources (especially precious metals)
  • 3. Labor for the Spanish encomienda system
  • Spanish imperialism might be called extractive

Spanish Goals
  • The Spanish were not particularly concerned with
  • Land for settlement
  • Trade (although became more important when
    silver/gold begin to run low and in the Southwest)

II. Theatrical Rituals French Political
  • The French staged elaborate ceremonies upon their
    encounter with new Indian groups, rituals in
    which the Indians played a central role.

A. Consent Conquest by Love
  • It was important to the French that the Indians
    themselves perform the rituals
  • After they themselves had placed the cross as a
    sign that they desired to be children of God,
    they likewise planted with the French the arms
    and standards of France in the middle of their
    land so that it be recognized among all other
    nations, that our most Christian king is the
    sovereign master and peaceable possessor.

B. Alliance
  • Consent paved the way for the specific political
    relationship that Frenchmen envisioned themselves
    creating with natives, namely, an alliance.
  • Alliance did not mean parity (the French were
    clearly the ones with power)
  • But it did ensure mutual obligation, particularly
    protection in exchange for trade and allegiance.

French Goals
  • The French desired
  • 1. Trade
  • 2. Indian conversion to Christianity
  • 3. Limited amounts of land upon which to farm
  • The French were primarily a trading empire.
  • Dutch different ceremonies, same basic pattern

French Goals
  • The French did not particularly desire
  • Slave labor
  • Large tracts of land
  • Gold or silver (since it was nonexistent)

III. Houses, Gardens, and Fences Signs of
English Possession
  • On the 15. of December, they the Pilgrims
    wayed weighed anchor to goe to the place they
    had discoveredAnd afterwards tooke better view
    of the place, and resolved where to pitch their
    dwelling and on the 25 day begane to erect the
    first house for common use to receive them and
    their goods.

  • The English literally staked their claim to the
    land by building fences, planting gardens, and
    erecting buildings that showed their exclusive
  • No ceremony was necessary construction created
    the right of possession

  • The English claimed that the Indians had no right
    to land because they had not obeyed Scripture
  • Genesis 128 God and his Reason commanded him
    to subdue the EarthHe that in Obedience to this
    Command of God, subdued, tilled and sowed any
    part of it, thereby annexed to it something that
    was his Property.

English Goals
  • The English primarily came to the New World for
  • 1. Land
  • 2. Work
  • 3. Agricultural products (sugar, tobacco, wheat,
  • Of the three empires, the English can best be
    called a settlement empire they desired to live
    in the New World.

English Goals
  • The English were not particularly interested in
  • 1. Conversion of the Indians (some believed it
    impossible nature of Calvinism)
  • 2. Precious metals (Jamestown conquistadores)
  • 3. Indian slaves

  • Spanish, French, and Dutch have more pluralistic
    societies with Indians more fully incorporated
    into colonial society
  • English almost entirely exclude Indians from
    society except for those who entirely convert
    (praying Indians)
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