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Colonial America: Historiographical Transformations and Spanish Colonization


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Title: Colonial America: Historiographical Transformations and Spanish Colonization

Colonial America Historiographical
Transformations and Spanish Colonization
  • Teaching American History
  • Webb, Missouri

Alan Gibsons Email

General Points of this Presentation
  • The study of colonial America has been radically
    transformed since the 1960s.
  • Colonization did not take based upon an east to
    west trajectory.
  • Colonization was hardly an exclusively English
    affair, but rather was the result of contests for
    the continent primarily by four European powers
    France, Great Britain, Spain, and the
    Netherlands. But
  • English settlements deserve a special place in
    the study of the American history because of
    their contributions to the development of our
    political culture and institutions.
  • Colonization should be taught as a contest
    between these nations for the North American
    continent as well as a series of complex and
    shifting interactions between the colonists,
    natives, transported slaves, and authorities at
    home and in the mother country

  • Historiographical Transformations in the Study of
    the Settlement of America

The Transformation of the Story of the Settlement
of North America
  • In the past, the story of the settlement of what
    would become the United States has been told as a
    celebratory and narrowly confined narrative of
    the creation of a new people in a new land. The
    settlement of North America, according to this
    story of American Exceptionalism, was the
    upbeat story of English colonists who fled
    religious persecution and came to new land
    seeking and securing prosperity and liberty,
    planting the seeds of democracy, and gaining the
    character traits that we associate with Americans
    (individualism, equalitarianism, and
    acquisitiveness) when confronted with this new

Partial Truths in the Old Story
  • By 1640, the great majority of free colonists
    were better fed, clothed, and housed than their
    contemporaries in England where about half of the
    people lived in destitution.
  • Colonial America did not have nobles and
    aristocrats in comparison with Europe. More
    people participated in politics in the colonies,
    especially those without wealth. Town meetings
    were held in New England and representative
    legislative assemblies throughout the colonies.
    In a sense, the seeds of democracy were sewn in
    the colonies.
  • Many of the colonists did flee Europe to avoid
    religious persecution, especially the Puritans.

The New Story (North America as a Contested
  • Beginning in the 1960s and accelerating (though
    not without resistance), a new story of the
    settlement of North America has been told. Now
    scholars emphasize the diversity of the peoples
    engaged in settlement, the multiplicity of
    nations acting (the importance of Spanish,
    French, and Dutch colonization), the multifarious
    character of the colonists motives, the disease
    and difficulty of the endeavor, and the
    exploitation and cruelty of these peoples to each
    other. Finally, scholars have emphasized the
    paradoxical and ambiguous character of the
    development of democracy and liberty (especially
    religious liberty) in colonial America.

  • Diversity of the Peoples Who Settled North

The Diversity of the Peoples Who Colonized North
  • The Spanish, Russians, French, Dutch, and British
    colonized North America at roughly the same time.
    The Spanish colonized Florida and migrated from
    settlements in what is now Mexico north into what
    is now the state of New Mexico and California
    Russians colonized Alaska the French colonized
    in the Great Lakes, Quebec, and throughout the
    Ohio and Mississippi Valleys all the way down to
    New Orleans the English colonized not only on
    the east coast but also in Hawaii. Obviously,
    when all of these nations and nationalities are
    considered, settlement did not take place only
    from Europe to the east coast of North America or
    even only east to the west, but also west to east
    across the Bering Strait, north from Latin
    America, and south from the Canadian territory.
    The contest between foreign powers for control
    over the North American territory is of course
    integral to the study of American history.

Spanish Colonization (Florida, New Mexico, and
  • San Agustin or St. Augustine 1565
  • Santa Fe 1607
  • Taos 1609
  • El Paso 1659
  • Tuscon 1709
  • San Antonio 1718
  • Laredo 1755
  • San Diego 1769
  • San Francisco 1776
  • Los Angeles 1781

French Colonization (Florida, Canada, the Great
Lakes, Louisiana and Missouri)
  • Fort Caroline (Florida) 1562
  • Quebec 1608
  • Montreal 1642
  • Green Bay 1634
  • Sault Ste. Marie 1641
  • Cahokia 1699
  • Pensacola 1696
  • Mackinac 1700
  • Detroit 1701
  • Mobile 1710
  • Natchez 1716
  • New Orleans 1718
  • Baton Rouge 1719
  • Vincennes 1724
  • Ste Genevieve 1750
  • St. Louis 1764

British Colonization
  • Jamestown 1609
  • Plimouth or Plymouth 1620
  • Boston 1630
  • Charleston 1670
  • Philadelphia 1682
  • Savannah 1733
  • Louisville 1778
  • Nashville 1780
  • Cincinnati 1788
  • Hawaii

Dutch Colonization
  • New Amsterdam New York, 1626

The Multifarious Motives of those who voluntarily
came to North America in the 17th century?
  • Among those who came to settle, there were
    diverse reasons for their choice to come to North
    America and almost certainly face a difficult and
    short life. Some came to conquer others to
    settle. Many came and left which is another
    relatively untold story in American history.

Were Americans. We have been kicked out of the
Best Countries in the World. (Motives for
  • Religious Freedom for Religious Dissenters -
    Much more so from Britain than from Spain and
    France which for the most part did not allow
    dissenters to colonize.
  • Second, third, and fourth sons of Aristocrats
  • Indentured Servants or Engages among the French
    By far, the most numerous and thus important
  • Adventurers and Fortune Seekers John Smith, Sir
    Walter Raleigh, the adelantados from Spain, Fur
    Traders In Canada, land speculators in Jamestown.
  • Criminals many facing death penalties. Some
    came to New France More came to Louisiana.
    Georgia was founded as a penal colony.
  • In Britain, joint Stock Companies supported
    settlement of the North American continent
    because they sought a) a short route to the
    Pacific and to India b) extensive mineral wealth
  • The Governments of Britain, the Netherlands,
    France (until 1632 and the revocation of the
    Edict of Nantes) encouraged North American
    settlement as a means of quelling discontent and
    enhancing the status quo of those in the home
    country by exporting portions of the society that
    were outcasts or supported change.
  • In short, the colonists came for the freedom to
    create their own religious communities, for
    opportunity and profit, and for a place to be
    more significant that in Europe.

Involuntary Colonists the Slaves
  • The Africans who were enslaved and forced to
    America in the slave trade were from many
    different tribes including Ashanti, Fulani, Ibo,
    Malagasy, Mandingo, and Yoruba.

Growth of Slavery
  • In 1640, there were 150 blacks reported in
    Virginia. In 1650, about 300. By 1700, there were
    13,000 slaves in Virginia. By this time, they
    constituted 13 of the population. Finally,
    during the first half of the 18th century, their
    numbers and proportion continued to grow. By
    1750, they constituted 150,000 people and about
    40 of the population of the colony. (See Taylor,
    American Colonies, 154) See handouts 1-3 provided
    by Dr. Gibson.

The Natives
  • Conquerors and colonists of course did not find
    an unpopulated or virgin land. Native Americans
    already on the continent included literally
    hundreds of linguistically distinct people. The
    native peoples of North America spoke at least
    375 distinct languages by 1492. (Taylor,
    American Colonies, 10.) Another old myth that has
    been destroyed by recent scholarship is that the
    cultures of natives were stagnate i.e. that they
    were much the same as they had been for
    generations. We now know that in fact Indian
    cultures were in a constant process of

Diversity (summarized)
  • Most broadly, the American colonies presented an
    example of an unprecedented mixing of radically
    diverse peoples - African, European, and Indian -
    under conditions stressful for all. The colonial
    intermingling of peoples and of microbes,
    plants, and animals from different continents
    was unparalleled in speed and volume in global
  • 1 Alan Taylor, American Colonies, xi.

The Impact of Disease on the Settlement and
Demographic Transformation of North America
  • European settlers brought diseases into North
    America which the immune system of Natives was
    unable to fight and thus they died in the
    thousands. The introduction of disease or more
    likely diseases (including the bubonic plague)
    preceded the establishment of permanent English
    settlements in the colonies. This precipitated a
    huge demographic transformation. In 1770, there
    were about 1.6 million Native Americans on the
    North American continent and about 330,000
    Europeans and Africans. By 1800, there were about
    1.1 million Natives Americans, many of whom now
    lived west of the Mississippi and 5.5 million
    Europeans and Africans. Disease also killed
    thousands of English colonists. The North
    American continent was settled literally in a
    race to replace dead colonists and Indians with
    living colonists. As a result of these massive
    deaths, between 1492 and 1776, North America
    lost population, as diseases and wars killed
    Indians faster than colonists could settle.
    (Alan Taylor, American Colonies, xi.)

The Difficulty of Settlement
  • Many Native American tribes were nomadic and
    lived by foraging, farming, hunting, and fishing.
    Unlike the English, French, and Spanish
    colonists, they knew how to survive on the North
    American continent. Furthermore, many of the
    early attempts at settlement were entrepreneurial
    ventures by men who did not plan on farming and
    foraging. Many colonists relied on the generosity
    and help of Native Americans for food and starved
    in times of shortage. E.g. The Lost Colony of

Cruelty Between the Diverse Groups and Within Them
  • Brutality between Native peoples and colonizers
    was as much the rule as the exception. Periods of
    cooperation and shared thanksgiving celebrated
    in our national myths were unfortunately not
    common. Indians and colonists were also brutal to
    members of their own group. Punishments for
    violations of laws were extremely harsh and meant
    to set an example. One man who was convicted of
    stealing two pints of oatmeal to allay his hunger
    was punished by having a long needle thrust into
    his tongue to prevent him from ever eating again.
    He was then chained to a tree and starved to
    death as a lesson to other colonists. Some
    English colonizers went off to live with the
    Indians and were welcomed by them if they brought
    guns or tools. If recaptured by the colonists,
    the colonists who had abandoned the settlement
    were often tortured before being put to death.

Systems of Exploitation (Slavery and Indentured
  • The relative prosperity of the English colonists
    in comparison to their English contemporaries
    resulted primarily from the shortage of labor and
    abundance of land on the North American
    continent. With labor scarce and land plentiful,
    free colonists were not forced to work for others
    and were eventually able to secure relative
    prosperity. But the colonists prosperity was
    achieved, in part, by taking lands from Native
    Americans. Furthermore, the very conditions that
    made for the relative prosperity of the colonists
    the scarcity of labor led to the importation
    of unfree laborers (slaves) by the thousands.

Indentured Servitude
  • More than half the European immigrants to the
    colonies prior to the American Revolution were
    indentured servants. Many were criminals. Others
    were poor, orphans, or debtors. Indentured
    servants signed contracts for right of passage to
    North America for four to seven years labor.
    Skilled laborers might be able to negotiate a
    better contract. Indentured servants were under
    the control of a master who could discipline them
    with force. They were usually not allowed to
    marry or have children. Many indentured servants
    fled their masters. Indentured servitude was a
    system of labor,not of apprenticeship.

The Foreignness of Colonial Society (Church and
  • Colonial society was foundationally different
    than the world that we live. It contained a
    different understanding of the relationship of
    church and state. There was, as Michael Zuckerman
    has put it, totalitarianism of true believers.
    The Peaceable Kingdoms of the colonial period
    were not theocracies (priests did not rule), but
    rather communities of religious uniformity in
    which taxation was used to support the Christian
    religion, there was compulsory church attendance,
    the criminalization of sin, political control of
    doctrine and clergy, and exclusion of political
    participation for non- believers.  

Foreignness continued (the Individual and
  • Colonial society contained a different
    understanding of the relationship of the
    individual to society. In these colonial
    societies, rights were not conceived of spheres
    of autonomy and liberties carried duties with
    them. The needs of the few and the one were
    subordinated to the needs of the many.  

The Ambiguity and Paradoxical Quality of Colonial
  • Democracy grew up alongside slavery and in
    context of religious authority (particularly in
    the form of the New England town meeting and the
    congregational organization of churches).
  • As stated earlier, the conditions that allowed
    for prosperity for the free colonists the
    abundance of land and the need for laborers
    eventually led to the importation of thousands
    and thousands of slaves.

The Ambiguity and Paradoxical Quality of Colonial
  • Religious toleration grew from the splintering of
    biblical commonwealths. Many colonists had come
    in search of religious liberty, but did not
    intend to grant it. They came to promote their
    religious orthodoxy and avoid the imposition of
    someone elses religious orthodoxy. Religious
    toleration expanded only as dissenters fled and
    created their own colonies and (later) as
    diversity (at least among Protestant groups)
    expanded and made religious orthodoxy difficult
    to impose.
  • Finally, the colonists had unprecedented freedom
    in the New World. Who was to regulate them? But
    this freedom came at the expense of terror,
    insecurity, and insularity.

  • The Settlement of the
  • North American Continent

  • Spanish Conquest and Colonization

Spanish Colonization of North America
  • The Spanish Empire in the 16th century exceeded
    the size of the Roman Empire at its zenith. By
    1550, Spanish territories included the Caribbean
    and large sections of North and South America,
    including Mexico and Peru. In the initial decades
    of the 16th century, the Spanish established gold
    mines, cattle ranches, and sugar plantations in
    the Caribbean (especially in Cuba and
    Hispaniola), but the populations of these areas
    declined rapidly because of disease and overwork.
    This led the Spanish to engage in slave raids and
    the conquest of natives peoples throughout
    central America, especially in Mexico but also on
    the coasts of North and South America.

(No Transcript)
Americas First Conquistadors,1492-1536
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Hernán Cortés
  • Francisco Pizarro
  • Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo
  • Francisco Vasquez de Coronado
  • Juan Ponce De León
  • Cabeza de Vaca
  • Hernando De Soto

The Conquistadors (Guns, Germs, and Steel)
  • The most famous of the slave raids and conquests
    by conquistadors was Cortezs conquering of the
    Aztecs in 1519-1521.
  • In the 1530s, Francisco Pizarro conquered the
    Inca empire and explored the western coast of
    South America and Peru.
  • The Spanish also conquered the Mayans during the
  • Cortez, Pizarro, and the other conquistadors were
    able to defeat the native peoples of Latin
    America despite being greatly outnumbered because
    of the superior technology of Spanish weapons
    (guns), their use of dogs and horses, the help of
    local allies, and (most importantly) because of

Explorations of Land that would Become the United
  • Legends of great cities of gold and the desire to
    exploit the labor of the natives, also led to
    extensive expeditions into the territory that
    would become the United States. The most famous
    of these legends, spread by Cabeza de Vaca, was
    of the seven golden cities of Cibola.
  • Pounce De Leon began his exploration of Florida
    in 1513.
  • In 1528, Cabeza de Vaca traversed the Southwest,
    first as an adelantado, then as a slave, and
    eventually as a healer for the Indians.
  • In the 1530s, Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo explored
    the Pacific Coast all the way to Oregon.
  • In expeditions begun in 1539 and 1543, Hernando
    de Soto and Francisco Vasquez de Coronado engaged
    in separate conquistador expeditions into
    American southeast (Soto) and southwest

Cabeza De Vaca
Justifications of Exploration and Conquest
  • Like French and British colonization efforts,
    Spanish colonization was justified on the basis
    of a particular view of Native Americans as
    barbarians and uncivilized. Spaniards
    beliefs in their superiority, in turn, were
    rooted primarily in three propositions
  • 1) natives religion (which was characterized by
    Europeans as superstition )
  • 2) land use (many tribes were nomadic and did not
    settle and use the same land year after year)
  • 3) gender relations (in many tribes women
    performed much of the manual labor including
    harvesting crops).
  • These beliefs and practices were foreign to
    Europeans and considered backward by them. By
    Christianizing the natives and forcing them to
    adopt new social and religious practices, the
    Europeans believed that they were bringing
    freedom to them.

Spanish Justifications of Exploration and
  • The Spanish justified their conquests on the
    basis of efforts to Christianize and civilize
    natives. The most shocking practice of the Aztecs
    that justified their slaughter in the eyes of the
    Spanish was their uncompromising and frequent use
    of human sacrifice. The Aztecs believed that the
    fertility of the earth depended upon their rites
    of human sacrifice.
  • Spanish goals of conversion also overlapped the
    Protestant Reformation and were paradoxically
    strengthened by it. As the Reformation spread,
    Spain the most Catholic nation of Europe felt
    even more compelled to win converts to
    Catholicism. As more and more Europeans became
    Protestant, the need to win converts from the New
    World increased.

The Maxim of the Conqueror Must be to Settle
  • Large numbers of more ordinary Spaniards also
    came in search of the opportunity of a better
    life. 225,000 came in the 16th century and over
    750,000 in the three centuries of Spanish rule in
    Latin America. Unlike Britain, Spain did not
    allow its religious dissenters to emigrate.
    Indeed, non-Spaniards and non-Christians were not
    allowed to come to Spanish colonies.

The Growth of the Spanish Empire
  • The Spanish built their empire in the Caribbean
    and North and South America between 1519 and 1550
    and it continued to expand thereafter. By 1574,
    there were over 300 Spanish towns in the
    Americas. The Spanish empire was a urban
    civilization an empire of towns. The center of
    the Spanish empire in North America was Mexico
    City a vast and complex city built on the ruins
    of the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan (Ta-
    noch tit- lan). The urban centers of the Spanish
    empire far exceeded in complexity and population
    those established by the British. (Taylor,
    American Colonies, 54, 61 Foner, Give Me
    Liberty, 23).

The Structure of Spanish Authority
  • King
  • Council of the Indies (Spanish body in charge of
    colonial administration).
  • Viceroys
  • Local Governors (Initially the adelantados (a
    de- lant- todd- os) who had financed the
    exploration and settlement of the land)
  • There were no elective assemblies in the new

The Black Legend
  • The Spanish treated natives Mayans, Incas, and
    Aztecs with infamous cruelty, slaughtering
    thousands. The reality of that cruelty but also
    the desire of the other European imperial powers
    (the French, English, Portuguese, and Dutch) to
    justify their own imperialism and cruelty led to
    the creation of the belief that the Spanish were
    particularly savage in their treatments of native
    peoples. The British, French, and Dutch argued
    that their colonization would be in the name of
    humanity because the Spanish were so cruel. They
    would liberate natives from the cruelty of the
    Spanish. This became known as the Black Legend.
    Actually, the Spanish were probably no more or
    less cruel than other Europeans, but had greater
    opportunity since they arrived first.

The Natives as a Pool of Forced Labor
  • The Spanish, unlike British colonists in North
    America, were able to force the indigenous Indian
    populations of the regions into labor on their
    behalf. The large numbers of these Indians they
    always outnumbered the colonists - meant that
    African slaves did not have to be imported.
    Instead, tens of thousands of native Indians were
    forced to work in gold and silver mines and on
    large scale farms called haciendas.

The Entire Human Race is One
The Entire Human Race is One
  • The most outspoken critic of Spanish policy with
    the natives was of course the Dominican priest
    Bartoleme de las Casas. In A Very Brief Account
    of the Destruction of the Indies, Las Casas
    recounted the massacre of natives that attended
    Spanish colonization. The Indians, Las Casas
    argued, are totally deprived of their freedom
    and were put in the harshest, fiercest, most
    terrible servitude and captivity. Las Casas also
    argued that the natives were rational beings, not
    beasts and should be given the full rights of
    Spaniards. Las Casas writings had the effect of
    spreading the idea of the Black Legend. Even
    though he argued for the reform of the Spanish
    system, his writings were taken up by Spains
    rivals and used to suggest their unique cruelty.

Were the Natives Slaves?
  • Were the natives slaves? They certainly were not
    free. They were forced to labor for others and
    not allowed to collect the fruits of that labor.
    But unlike the English, the Spanish envisioned
    their eventual assimilation and gave them rights.
    Indeed, the Spanish more freely intermarried with
    the native populations. Relatively few women from
    Spain came from the colonies. As early as 1514
    the Spanish government approved of such
    marriages. The mestizos (messtazos) were
    formed from such a union.

Were the Natives Slaves?
  • Furthermore, in 1542, in large part because of
    Las Casas writings and efforts on behalf of the
    Indians, Spain adopted the New Laws setting
    forth the proposition that Indians could no
    longer be enslaved. This was not universally
    obeyed and it was hard to enforce. Still, it was
    in effect.

Reform of the Encomienda System
  • In 1550, the Encomienda system was abolished.
    This system had given to the first settlers in an
    area the right to Indian lands and the right to
    forced labor from them. The Encomienda system was
    replaced by the Repartimiento system in which
    residents of the village were legally free, were
    given access to land, had to be paid for their
    labor, and could not be sold. Still, they were
    required to labor (for some pay) for a fixed
    period on behalf of the Spanish.

Royal Orders for the New Discoveries
  • In 1573, aware of the cruelty leveled against
    native populations by conquistadors and of the
    reputation that it had given the Spanish, the
    Crown issued the Royal Orders for the New
    Discoveries. These orders argued that
    Christianity could be spread without force or
    injury to natives. These orders exposed a long
    standing rift between conquistadors on the one
    hand and the Franciscan priests and the Crown on
    the other about the necessity of massacres in the
    subjugation of native populations. As adelantados
    , the conquistadors had to finance their own
    expeditions and were charged with subduing native
    cultures. In exchange for accomplishing these
    tasks, they were named the governors of the area
    that they conquered and were allowed by the Crown
    to keep a large percentage of the fruits of the
    raids (slaves, gold,etc). They thus wanted a
    quick profit and believed that it was necessary
    to use violence freely against natives to
    intimidate and subordinate them.

  • In contrast, the Crown and the Church (especially
    Franciscan priests) wanted to Christianize the
    natives and draw a steady, long-term profit from
    their labor. They were thus less enthusiastic
    about plunder. The Royal Orders for the New
    Discoveries stated that Christianity could be
    spread peacefully and charitably or without
    force or injury to natives. This edict
    established the policy of pacification
    (conversion without violence).

Gold and Silver to Spain and to French Pirates
  • Whether by conquest or pacification, the
    conquistadors raids and Spanish military
    expeditions led to the enslavement of thousands
    of native peoples who, in turn, were put to work
    mining precious metals. Between 1500 and 1650,
    according to Alan Taylor, the Spanish shipped
    about 181 tons of gold and 16,000 tons of silver
    back to Spain. The problem, however, was that
    much of this gold and silver was taken back from
    the Spanish by English and especially French
    pirates. During the 1550s, French pirates reduced
    by half the revenues that the Spanish crown took
    from the New World. This piracy was actually a
    form of state sponsored piracy encouraged and
    rewarded by the governments of these countries.
    (Taylor, American Colonies, 63.)

  • St. Augustine (San Agustin)

St. Augustine (San Agustin) The First Permanent
Settlement in North America
  • Most important, state sponsored piracy and the
    rivalry between the French and the Spanish led in
    1565 to the first permanent settlement St.
    Augustine, Florida - in the territory that would
    later become the United States. St. Augustine is,
    in the words of the historian Eric Foner, the
    oldest site in the United States continuously
    inhabited by European settlers and their
    descendants. (Foner, Give Me Liberty, 30). In
    1564, French Huguenots established a colony on
    what is now the St. Johns River near
    Jacksonville, Florida. This was known as Fort
    Caroline. It lasted only a year. Fort Caroline
    was both a haven for religious dissenters
    escaping sectarian fighting between Catholics and
    Protestants and a French outpost to launch
    attacks against Spanish vessels. Spanish vessels
    shipping gold to the mother country were
    particularly vulnerable as they passed along the
    coast of Florida. (See Handout 4, Kenneth Davis,
    A French Connection.)

St. Augustine (San Agustin) The First Permanent
Settlement in North America
  • A French colony in the Spanish territory of
    Florida was unacceptable to the Spanish crown,
    but one established to raid Spanish ships was
    unthinkable. The crown therefore dispatched a
    Spanish naval officer named Pedro Menendez de
    Aviles to Florida, named him governor of the
    territory, and ordered him to raze Fort Caroline.
    Menendez eventually accomplished this goal and
    executed some 300 Frenchmen in two separate
    massacres. Menendez then founded St. Augustine
    about 40 miles south of where Fort Caroline had

St. Augustine The First Permanent Settlement in
North America
  • In addition to serving as a base to thwart French
    piracy, St. Augustine was also to serve as a base
    for recovering gold lost to native Indians who
    had plundered ship wrecked vessels and taken
    Spanish seamen captive. With these goals in mind,
    Menendez also built seven other posts along the
    Gulf and the Atlantic shores, including Santa
    Elena (at what is now Port Royal Sound in South

St. Augustine The First Permanent Settlement in
North America
  • In 1570, Menendez even established a Jesuit
    mission in the Chesapeake Bay near what would
    become Jamestown. This mission, however, was soon
    overtaken by Native Americans. The Spanish never
    established a permanent settlement in the
    Chesapeake. This left the Chesapeake region open
    to English colonization.

St. Augustine The First Permanent Settlement in
North America
  • Isolated and subject to both Indian and French
    attack, the settlements that Menendez established
    never lured colonists. Indeed, by 1574, only St.
    Augustine and Santa Elena remained and the later
    was evacuated in 1587. Instead of colonization,
    Spanish authorities turned to conversion. This
    was done by establishing a series of missions
    that ran north into what is now Georgia, in north
    central Florida, and on the Gulf coast.

St. Augustine The First Permanent Settlement in
North America
  • Although it was periodically attacked and proved
    to be a burden to the Spanish crown, St.
    Augustine remained in place for many decades.
    Furthermore, the Spanish missionaries remained in
    place and influential for many years.

  • New Mexico and the Rio Grande

New Mexico
  • In addition to colonizing St. Augustine and
    creating a mission system throughout Florida and
    the Gulf coast, the Spanish also colonized the
    Rio Grande in the area that is now New Mexico.
    The most famous city to come out of this is Sante
    Fe. Colonization of this area was pursued in
    order to obtain new subjects and tax payers,
    promote pacification of the natives, and
    prevent European rivals from occupying this
    territory as a base for attack. Here, as in many
    areas of North America, myths of rich cities with
    streets of gold also fueled expeditions and the
    general effort to colonize. The more concrete and
    sober but ultimately also far fetched hope -
    was to find places to establish silver mines.

Don Juan De Onate
  • In 1598, Don Juan de Onate was named the
    adelantado for the Rio Grande Valley and was
    charged with pacifying this area and founding the
    colony of New Mexico. In the spring of 1598,
    Onate led 500 colonists (including 129 soldiers
    and 7 Franciscan friars) into the northern Rio
    Grande Valley in order to pacify the native
    Pueblo Indians, find mineral wealth, and exploit
    their labor. The colonists initially occupied a
    Pueblo village of the natives and made increasing
    demands upon them, taking their crops, clothes,
    and housing. By January 1599, a rebellion had
    already taken place in which Onates nephew and
    ten other soldiers were killed.

Swift and Cruel Retribution
  • Onate ordered swift and cruel retribution. Over
    800 of the Pueblo natives were put to death. Many
    others were put on trial. Eventually, all males
    over 12 were sentenced to twenty years of
    slavery. Any males over 25 also had a foot
    severed off in order to prevent them from

Don Juan De Onate
  • Onate engaged in numerous expeditions in search
    of fabulous treasures. These proved to be
    fruitless and drained his authority and
    credibility. Eventually, many of the colonists
    fled back to Mexico. Meanwhile, the Friars
    reported Onates incompetence and cruelty to the
    Crown. He was removed from office as the governor
    of the province by the Viceroy in 1607.

Santa Fe
  • Eventually a new governor was named and was
    ordered to establish a city outside of the Pueblo
    settlements. This new city became Santa Fe. In
    order not to provoke the natives, the new
    governor employed only 50 soldiers. The effort
    was redirected toward pacification and the
    Friars were allowed to pursue this goal.

Santa Fe
  • The New Mexico Santa Fe colonization experiment
    was never really successful. At its zenith, there
    were only 1000 colonists. The colony was
    difficult to supply with goods. Distance also
    made exports impractical. Only a limited number
    of elites ever had even decent lives. These were
    the families who had been given - in direct
    contraction of official policy - encomienda
    rights to native land, labor, and tribute
    despite. Otherwise, Santa Fe was known as a place
    of danger and poverty.

The New Mexico Missions, 1610-1680
  • Like Florida, the New Mexico settlement was never
    a successful colony but became successful as a
    system of missions. By 1628, there were 50
    missions in the Rio Grande and Pecos Valley

Friars, Colonists, Natives, and Nomads
  • The ousting of Onate led to a new system of
    control in which the crown became more
    sympathetic to the goals of Franciscan Friars.
    The Friars were backed (in most endeavors ) by
    the force of a limited number of Spanish troops.
    Nevertheless, the relationships between the four
    groups in the region the Friars, the Governor,
    the remaining colonists, and the natives were
    quite complex.

The Friars and the Natives
  • The Friars and natives lived in a state of
    surface serenity and mutual cooperation but
    submerged disagreement that could quickly ignite
    in violence. The Friars lived lives of sacrifice
    and self-denial. Unlike the adelantados and
    governor, they did not want the property of the
    Pueblo natives but instead their conversion and
    their labor to build and maintain the missions.
    For their part, the Pueblo natives never really
    gave up their traditional religion and its
    customs. Instead, they integrated Christian
    principles into it as they fit their prior
    framework of beliefs. The Friars never seemed to
    fully understand or accept this.

The Governor, Colonists, and Friars
  • The Governors and the colonists wanted the
    Natives for their labor. The governors and the
    colonists had not taken a vow of poverty. Indeed,
    the governors needed to recover the money that
    they paid for their office. They thus resented
    native labor being directed to build and
    maintain the missions and not to their ranches.
    They also worried that the Friars demanded
    conversion of the natives to Christianity too
    quickly. They feared that this might cause

The Governor, Colonists, and Friars
  • The Friars, however, resented the fact that the
    governor often did not enforce Christian
    religious practices. They believed rightly
    that allowing natives to practice their customary
    religious practices would undermine the authority
    of the Friars. The Friars also opposed raids that
    were ordered by the Governors to capture nomadic
    Indians in the surrounding area to sell into
    slavery. For the Governors, selling slaves became
    the way to make money in this poor and distant
    land. But the Governors ordered native Pueblos to
    help in these raids. The Friars opposed this
    practice vehemently because it undermined their
    goals of pacification and because it led the
    nomadic Indians to engage in their own raids of

1675 Revival of Religious Rituals
  • In 1675, the Pueblo natives decided to revive
    their traditional religious rituals. These
    ceremonies created great fear in the Friars and
    the governor and led to a crackdown in which 47
    Pueblo religious shamans were arrested and three
    hanged (a fourth averted hanging by committing
    suicide). The 43 remaining shamans were first
    threatened with being sold into slavery. This met
    with fierce resistance from the Pueblo natives
    who threatened revolt. The 43 shamans were then
    publicly whipped and humiliated. One of them was
    a then unknown religious leader named Pope.

The Pueblo Revolt of 1680
  • The threat of mass revolt prevented the sale of
    the 43 shamans into slavery, but five years later
    such a revolt took place. The divisions among the
    Spanish authorities suggested to the Pueblo
    natives that a rebellion might be successful.
    Pueblo natives also resented the Friars
    unwillingness to let them practice aspects of
    their traditional religion as they resented the
    cruelty and exploitation of the governors,
    especially as established in the encomienda
    system that took natives land, extorted their
    labor, and ask tribute from them in the form of
    blankets and maize.

The Pueblo Revolt of 1680
  • In August of 1680, led by a charismatic religious
    leader named Pope, the 17,000 Pueblo natives in
    the Rio Grande engaged in a well-coordinated and
    successful rebellion against the Friars and the
    governor. The rebels destroyed many of the
    missions and returned to their native religious
    practices (including polygamy). By the estimate
    of one scholar, the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 was
    the greatest setback that natives ever inflicted
    on European expansion in North America. (Taylor,
    American Colonies, 89) Within a couple of weeks,
    one hundred years of colonization had been
    destroyed. By 1692-1693, the Spanish under a new
    governor recaptured New Mexico and Santa Fe.
    Still, the Spanish had learned their lesson and
    governed the natives in more moderate terms,
    allowing them greater economic independence,
    demanding less of their labor and resources, and
    allowing them to integrate their traditional
    religious practices into Catholicism.