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how many indians did the spanish kill

how many indians did the spanish kill

how many indians did the spanish kill

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how many indians did the spanish kill
how many indians did the spanish kill


Indians and Spaniards

In the Caribbean phase several mechanisms developed, combining indigenous and Spanish elements, that long formed the main structural ties between Indians and Spaniards on the mainland as well. The primary form through which Spaniards attempted to take advantage of the functioning of the indigenous world was what came to be known as the encomienda, a governmental grant of an indigenous sociopolitical unit to an individual Spaniard for him to use in various ways. On the Spanish side, the institution grew out of the Reconquest tradition.




On the indigenous side, the encomienda rested on an already existing unit and the powers of its ruler. The size and benefits of the encomienda thus depended on the local indigenous situation: there could be only as many encomiendas as there were indigenous units; the encomendero (holder of the grant) could at least initially receive only what the ruler had received before him.


The larger islands were inhabited by the Arawak, a sedentary if modestly developed people with kingdoms, rulers, nobles, and obligatory labour mechanisms. Their ruler was called a cacique, and the Spaniards adopted the word and carried it with them wherever they went in the Americas. The cacique received labour but not tribute in kind, and the encomendero, in practice, followed suit.

The encomendero used the indigenous labour in various ways: to construct houses in the Spanish city where he lived, to provide servants, to produce agricultural products on properties he acquired, and above all to work in the growing gold-mining industry. The encomienda set up most of the main forms of Spanish-Indian contact.


Although based on traditional mechanisms, it involved major movements of people and new types of activity. Through these dislocations and the exposure of the Indians to new diseases, the encomienda was instrumental in the quick virtual disappearance of the indigenous population on the large islands.


A new Spanish subculture

Cacique was not the only word and concept incorporated into local Spanish culture in the Caribbean and spread from there wherever the Spaniards went. Some of the new cultural goods were the result of Spanish action, like the encomienda or the ranchos; others were straight out of the indigenous world, including naboría, maíz (corn; maize), canoa (canoe), coa (digging stick), and barbacoa (grill, palisade, anything with pointed sticks, the origin of the English word barbecue).

how many indians did the spanish kill
how many indians did the spanish kill

Still others came out of the Portuguese Atlantic tradition, like rescate (literally rescue or redemption), a word for informal trading with indigenous people often involving force and taking place in a setting where conquest had not yet taken place. This whole new overlay on Hispanic culture maintained itself partly because it was adjusted to the new situation but above all because each set of new arrivals from Spain readily adopted it from the old hands already there.

Conquest in the central mainland areas


The Spanish occupation of the larger Caribbean islands did not entail spectacular episodes of military conflict. Yet force was involved, and the Spaniards developed many of the techniques they would use on the mainland. One of the most important was the device of seizing the cacique in a parley, then using his authority as the entering wedge. The Spaniards also learned that the indigenous people were not a solid unit but would often cooperate with the intruders in order to gain advantage against a local enemy.

Also during the Caribbean phase an expeditionary form evolved that was to carry the Spaniards to the far reaches of the hemisphere. Spanish expansion occurred under royal auspices, but expeditions were conceived, financed, manned, and organized locally. The leaders, who invested most, were senior people with local wealth and a following; the ordinary members were men without encomiendas, often recently arrived. The primary leader of an important expedition was often the second-ranking man in the base area, just behind the governor, ambitious to be governor himself but blocked by the incumbent.

Conquest of Mexico

The leader of the Mexican venture, Hernán (Hernando) Cortés, had some university education and was unusually articulate, but he conformed to the general type of the leader, being senior, wealthy, and powerful in Cuba, and the expedition he organized was also of the usual type. Passing by the Maya of the Yucatán Peninsula, the Spaniards landed in force on the central coast, almost immediately founding Veracruz, which despite small shifts in location has been the country’s main port ever since.


The Aztec empire, or Triple Alliance, of the city-states of Tenochtitlán, Texcoco, and Tacuba, centring on the Mexica (Aztec) of Tenochtitlán, dominated central Mexico. The coastal peoples among whom the Spaniards landed, however, had only recently been incorporated in the Aztec tribute system, and they offered the Spaniards no open resistance.


Conquest of Peru


The Spanish thrust toward Peru through Panama was diverted for some years by the attractions of nearby Nicaragua. No one knew what lay along the southern coast, which because of contrary winds was very difficult to navigate; the coastal climate was hostile, and little wealth was discovered among the people dwelling there.


Attempts in this direction were led by Francisco Pizarro, who despite being illegitimate and illiterate had all the other familiar characteristics of the leader; not only was he the illegitimate son of a prominent family but he also was one of the first captains on the American mainland, by the 1520s a wealthy encomendero and town council member of Panama. At length Pizarro’s group came into contact with central Andean coastal people connected with the Inca and saw evidence of great wealth and development.


Acquiring from the crown the governorship of the new region, which now began to be called Peru, Pizarro, in 1530, led an expedition that proceeded into Inca territory. In 1532, at the north-central site of Cajamarca, the Inca emperor Atahuallpa was captured in the usual fashion, a parley and surprise attack. In 1533, after much treasure had been collected, the Spaniards had Atahuallpa executed.

What was early contact like between English colonists and Native Americans?

In 1492, Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean, unlocking what Europeans quickly came to call the ‘New World’. Columbus encountered land with around two million inhabitants that was previously unknown to Europeans. He thought he had found a new route to the East, so he mistakenly called these people ‘Indians’. Over the next few centuries, European powers colonised the Americas, seeking new land and trade opportunities. Spanish and Portuguese colonised large parts of South America, and other European colonial powers, including English explorers, focused on establishing settlements in North America.

how many indians did the spanish kill
how many indians did the spanish kill


The first permanent English settlement called Jamestown (after James I of England) was established in 1607 in Virginia, North America. These first settlers – and those who sent them – were keen to find out about the area and see what they could gain. The settlers began to explore and they soon encountered the Native people of the Chesapeake Bay region. There were many tribes living there at the time, most belonging to three major chiefdoms: the Powhatan, the Piscataway, and the Nanticoke.



This lesson uses documents that describe what happened between early English settlers and Native Americans in Virginia. Investigate how the English described this early contact. How did Native Americans react to the arrival of Europeans? Were relations friendly and, if so, how and why did they change over time?



Conquest society in the central mainland areas

In the generation or two subsequent to the military phase of the conquest, Spanish immigrants poured by the thousands into Mexico and Peru. Although still a small minority compared with the indigenous population, they constituted the great majority of all Europeans in the hemisphere, so that these two regions could now be doubly called central areas.


They combined the largest European and indigenous populations with the liveliest economies, for they proved to be the sites of the richest deposits of precious metals then known. The immigrants continued to come from all parts of Spain, constituting an even broader cross section than had the conquerors, for women were now a standard part of the stream.

Spanish women

Spanish women were an important element in the sedentary urban society growing up in the central areas. The women were above all relatives of Spanish men already present, brought from Spain explicitly to marry some local associate.


As wives of encomenderos and artisans, they managed households that included many Spanish guests and employees and even larger numbers of Africans and Indians, whom they attempted to mold to their purposes. They also brought up both their own fully Spanish children and the racially mixed children they often took or were given to raise.


As widows and sometimes spinsters, they actively participated in economic life, though women’s independent activity tended to be channeled into certain conventional directions, from indirect investment and owning urban real estate at the higher levels to running bakeries and taverns at the lower. Women were at first a small minority of the Spanish population, but their relative numbers steadily increased, reaching effective parity with men by the second or third generation after conquest.


Indians among Spaniards

Random Posts

Spanish cities, from the very beginning, were full of Indians working for Spaniards in a great number of capacities, sometimes temporarily, sometimes for long periods, but usually at a low level.


One of the most important features of life in the first postconquest decades was the prevalence of Indian servant-mistresses of Spaniards, the result of the fact that Spanish women were still much less numerous than men, not to speak of the pattern of men waiting for full success before marrying.

how many indians did the spanish kill
how many indians did the spanish kill


These indigenous women retained many aspects of their traditional culture, but they had to learn good Spanish and master skills of Spanish home and family life. They bore the Spaniards mestizo children, who were to become a very important feature of postconquest society.


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