Social Positions of Women

Topics: Spanish language, Sociology, Latin America Pages: 4 (1497 words) Published: April 2, 2014
DBQ Essay

As the period of European exploration and colonization began in 1450, the social and economic positions of women in the Americas were greatly altered. Spanish society held women in a higher respect than that of indigenous women in the Americas. These contrasting views meshed to form the novel status of women both socially and economically between 1450 and 1750 as European influence became more prominent in the New World. The status of women can be discerned by analyzing the various depictions of the social roles of women (documents 1, 2, 4 and 8), as well as the differing accounts of their economic positions in society prior to major European influence (documents 4, 6 and 9). Furthermore, documents providing insight as to what they these positions were like after European influence fully took hold (3, 5, 7 and 9) enables the interepreter to accurately determine the status of women during the period of European exploration and colonization to be determined. European influence ultimately diminished the social capabilities of the American women as more European women migrated while the social status of the European women remained constant. However, this resulted in an increase in the economic prominence of the American women as they became more involved in the tribute and labor systems. An additional document from the perspective of an indigenous man who truly witnessed how the women of his society were affected by the arrival of higher-class European women would supply a better idea of how much the indigenous women’s economic and social positions in society were altered.

Accounts describing the social roles of women from Spain and that of American women differ greatly, exhibited in aspects of life such as marriage, education, and placement in social hierarchies. Colonial Latin America, depicts how Iberian cultural aspects were being implemented into newly conquered areas, including the Spanish colonies. These Spanish women that migrated to...
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