Chapter 1: The Meeting of Cultures

Topics: Latin America, Americas, Spanish colonization of the Americas Pages: 7 (1420 words) Published: August 11, 2014
Chapter 1: The Meeting of Cultures
Beginnings of America:

Nearly 12,000-14,000 years ago / 9000 BC migrations reached the southern tip of South America / 15th century AD = contact with Europeans -> brought with them diseases (smallpox) ended in: demographic catastrophe, weakened societies, aided Spanish/ Portuguese exploration

America before Columbus:

Adaptation to surroundings = nomadic bands, hunting, fishing, agriculture -> created civilizations

Population: a lot more people (Indians)

Civilizations in the South -> Peru = Incas with a powerful empire, political system, large paved roads / Central America & Mexico = Mayas and a culture w written language, numbers, calendar, agriculture -> Aztecs = established rule, harsh religion, “savages” / Economies = agriculture, high social standings, elaborate capital cities •

Civilizations in the North -> North of Mexico = not as great as Southern, hunting, fishing, gathering, Eskimos fished and hunted seals, large, frozen lands / Pacific Northwest -> salmon fishing, settlements along coast, engaged in competition / Far West -> wealthier, densely populated / Southwest -> irrigation / Great Plains = sedentary farming / Woodland Indians -> Mississippi (Cahokia = St. Louis) / Northeast = mobile, farming by clearing the land fast / Algonquin tribes -> Iroquois Confederation Why do historians so often differ?

Positivists: shared views that real knowledge can only be derived from direct, scientific observation of clear facts

“Facts” are unknown bc they mean almost nothing without an effort for proof / Leads to many disputes for what may seem like an easy question

Some day there is no such thing as a “truth,” product of interpretation Tribal Cultures:

Agricultural Revolution = population growth, stronger religion/customs (many gods/ totems)

Divided tasks by gender -> women controlled the social/economic organization Europe Looks Westward:

Before: not many people knew about the Americas, agriculture predominated, commerce was limited, Roman Catholic church had control of everything •
Commerce and Nationalism: population growth, reawakening of commerce, increase in prosperity, trade increased, advances in ship-building made sea travel possible, new markets, new products, new trade routes, centralized nation-states (pope = ruler) w a monarchy

Beginning of Exploration: Portuguese, Prince Henry the Navigator -> exploring the western coast of Africa; went as far as south Cape Verde, Bartholomeu Dias (1486) rounded southern tip of Africa, Vasco da Gama (1497-98) rounded the cape to India, Pedro Cabral (1500) coast of Brazil

Christopher Columbus:

Born in Genoa, Italy / interested in travelling by reaching Asia by going east not west / failed to win support in Portugal -> went to Spain (less advanced but energetic) •
Spain: Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille = strong monarchy -> 90 men and 3 ships, left Spain in 1492 = landed on an island in the Bahamas -> 1493 = landed in a

small colony of Hispanolas -> 1498 = reached the mainland northern coast of South America -> returned to Spain believing that he has explored the Far East •
Columbus = popular hero “Admiral of the Ocean Sea”, AMERICA -> Florentine merchant, Amerigo Vespucci, Religious motives for exploration -> Columbus = “the messenger of the new heaven and the new earth”

Effects of Columbus: Spain spent more money on resources and energy to exploration / replaced Portugal / Ferdinand Magellan = southern end of South America / first circumnavigation (1519-22)

Spanish claimed the whole of the New World, 1518 -> Hernando Cortes led military expedition and failed

Cortes and the Aztecs: smallpox epidemic killed population -> Cortes = most brutal of the Spanish

Francisco Pizarro (1532-38 conquered Peru) and Hernando de Soto led expeditions (1539-41)

Spanish warriors = achievement, brutality, greed -> extermination of natives Spanish America:
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