Chapters 1-2 of “Liberty, Equality, Power” by Murrin et al. Essay
Waves to Settle Americas
Before the Columbus expedition, there were four waves to settle Americas: tree from Asia through the former land bridge across the sea of Beringia and the fourth wave of the settlers from northern Europe that did not survive.
European countries did not have a monopoly on anything thus were obliged to trade with one another and Arabic countries, competing for limited sources. That resulted in armies and marine powers developing.
In about a century, Portugal developed from a small country with a population of less than a million into one of the major players in world history, developing its maritime powers and encouraging overseas expeditions along the coast of Africa, getting gold, ivory, and slaves.
Genoa navigator Christopher Columbus was encouraged by Spanish rulers to search for the western way to India. The voyage resulted in Pope’s decree of the division of all non-Christian lands between Portugal and Spain, dying out of the local population of Carribean and Bahama Islands and replacing it with black slaves from Africa, the conquest of Inca and Aztec Empires, reaching the Pacific Ocean.
Local Indians in Central America practiced the slash-and-burn approach in agriculture, moving every ten years as the soil was exhausted. Sedentary Indians lived in the cities, but the development was on the level of the Stone Age. Inca civilization did not have a written language. Thus they invented the decimal system. The Olmec culture of Mesoamerica was subdivided into two cultures Maya (south) and Teotihuacan (not far from Mexico City). The Aztec culture required an enormous amount of human sacrifices, they gained through wars with neighbors. Non-Aztec locals gladly helped Spaniards to fight the Aztecs.
As not mentioned in the Bible, Indians were considered by Christians as animals not-having immortal soles. Aztecs were considered to worship Satan. The understanding of Christianity to Indians was of a mixed nature.
The conquest of Tenochtitlan by Cortes and the conquest of the Inca Empire by Pizarro, and the discovery of silver mines in the territory of modern Bolivia resulted in sustaining Spanish military might in Europe for the next century. After conquistadors did not confirm the rumors of cities of gold in the Northern part of America, the missionaries followed to turn locals into Christianity. The local population of the Americas decreased by 90-95% in a century of contacting Europeans due to the massive killings and the diseases. The American gold and silver made Spanish king Philip II the richest king in Europe, having the largest army, and Spain, after the Portuguese king’s death and seizing its lands and colonies, the largest Empire of the world. It also caused the development of unfree labor – Serfdom.
Early France Settlers
Early France settlers of the 16-century focused on Canada, but they did not find wealth there, and later the inner religious wars distracted their attention from the Americas. French missionaries were trying to make friendly relationships with Indians in North America. The priority of France later shifted from Canada to the Caribbean region.
Dutch republic in the 17th century was a polyglot confederation. Dutch East India Company, established in 1602, became a serious competitor to Portuguese trade in Asia.
England’s expansion of America began when it accepted Protestantism. English sails-man traders Hawkins and Drake were trading slaves in America on the approval of Spain. After the conflict, Drake plundered Spanish colonies on the western coast and returned to England through the Pacific, and was rewarded by knighthood. The confrontation with Spain made the English colonization of the Americas challenging.
The colonization of Hudson and Delaware was the most successful because the colonists settled there as families.
Jamestown was found in the Chesapeake Bay in 1607. Failed as a colony under London Company management, Became the first royal colony, Virginia. Maryland – a colony, raised as a refuge for Irish Catholics.
The pilgrims arrived in America in 1604, and their colony almost died out but survived because of the help of Indians. The migration was due to religious reasons. Puritans formed a patriarchal community. Puritans had confrontations with Anglican Church that led to wars in the colonies.
Murrin, John, Paul Johnson, James McPherson, Alice Fahs, Garry Gerstle, Emily
Rosenberg and Norman Rosenberg. Liberty, equality, power: a history of the American people, Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
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Waves to Settle Americas Before the Columbus expedition, there were four waves to settle Americas: tree from Asia through the former land bridge across the sea of Beringia and the […]