Serfdom in Russia and the Encomienda system in Latin American colonies allowed the upper-class and government to manipulate laborers, but serfdom bound the peasants through debts - leading to uprisings - while the Encomienda system was

In Russian serfdom, serfs worked the land and had no freedom or ownership. They typically were in debt and had no choice but to work for landlords. Nobles in Russia were purposefully given land to expand Russia's territories and to enslave the people. This created lasting discontent; eventually leading to peasant uprisings. With the Encomienda system, the Natives were still free men. However, the conquistadors were given power over these people and their crops.
In both systems, oppressive nobles and landlords were supported by the government. The laborers involved were practically enslaved; the chains were financial rather than physical. The encomenderos of the colonies and the nobles of Russia both determined the cruelty of punishments dealt.

Early Latin America ESPIRIT

MI - The center of colonial economy was the silver abundant in New Spain and Peru. To support the silver economy, there was an agricultural manufacturing and pastorial presence. But they paled in comparison to the importance of silver mining.
  • Framework for social relations in the Americas was solely based on economic dominance.
  • Portuguese established trading posts on the African coast rather than colonies.
o In the 1520s and on, ranches and sugar plantations fueled by slave labor were established.
  • A highly commercial system based on sugar emerged in the Atlantic.
o Havana, San Juan, Santo Domingo, and other Spanish ports were central to Caribbean commercial life
  • The exploitation of native populations along with immigration and commercialism linked the Americas to a growing Atlantic economy.
MI - One of the defining characteristics of Latin American society was the establishment of a caste system and an oppresive labor system.
  • Conquistadors recreated themselves as nobles in the Americas turning natives into their serfs. Whereas in Europe they could�ve been the poorest people.
  • Encomiendas, or, grants of American Indian laborers by the Spanish
  • The Caribbean islands serve as a frontier for Spanish exploration serving as a sort of training grounds to get accustomed to the new environment and improve their skills.
  • The abuses towards Caribs prompted clerics and royal administrators like Bartolome de Las Casas to advocate justice and regulate the abuses
  • Bringing in large numbers of Spanish women and African slaves turn conquistador colonies into settlement-like societies.
  • Most of the conquistadors were men of humble origins; thrust into newfound nobility; very few were actually soldiers.
o There were some women conquistadors like Ines Suarez as well.
o The booties of Spanish expeditions were divided based on rank and bloodlines.
  • Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile unite Spain under one monarchy in 1492, the same year they sponsor Columbus's voyage to India.
  • A well-developed bureaucracy existed in Portugal and Castile; religion and the Church were closely linked to politics following the Inquisition.
  • Little separation of Church and State.
o Missionaries like the Dominicans represented the law.
  • Laws for Spanish colonies were based on those in Spain and adapted to life in the Americas.
o Bureaucracy
o Positions such as the governorship, treasury office, viceroys, and the royal court of appeals were common.
  • Hernan Cortez is able to take down the Aztec empire with 500 men and their advanced military technology.
o Disease and fear were his silent (and unintentional) weapons.
o Central Mexico brought under Spanish control as New Spain.
  • Colonization progressively continued from 1492 - 1570 CE.
o Columbus's voyage was the beginning of that colonization.
  • Contacts between Spanish and natives overshadowed by imported diseases decimating entire populations in the Americas
  • Epidemics wiped out the Indian population contributing to demographic catastrophe
  • Declining native populations were replaced by African slaves
  • Resistance to Spanish rule and occupation was apparent in the Caribbean
o Resistance against the Spanish continued for 30 years after the conquests of Pizzaro
  • In 1492, after the fall of Grenada, the Spanish Inquisition successfully exiled all non-Christians from the Iberian Peninsula.
  • The church holds a strong position in Spanish and Portuguese politics.
o The spread of the gospel was used as justification for the conquests.
  • Spanish scholar Juan Gines de Sepulveda used arguments of Aristotle to justify the conquests in 1548.
    • Proclaimed Indians as in need of saving and were born to serve.
    • Censored due to counterarguments provided by Las Casas
    • The era after this; the Era of Spanish Institutions, began the ascent into intellectual thinking prominent in Latin America.
  • Spanish technological advancements allowed the conquistadors to subjugate Native American populations, construct a commercial colonial system, and lower the Natives into a serf-like by throwing away their civilizations system.


Summary / MI - Spaniards are vastly superior to their Native American counterparts intellectually and civically; giving them a right to rule.


Comparitive Summary of the Documents
Sepulveda and Las Casas differed in point of view. Sepulveda's opinion was no doubt influenced by the pre-existing poor opinion of Native Americans in Spain; since he had never lived in the Americas, his actual evidence was also limited. Las Casas was a friar in the Spanish colonies and had direct experience and didn't have to base his opinion off of propoganda illustrations. The only thing they could agree on was that Spaniards were indubitably superior and should embrace Catholicism.

Impact of Spanish Colonization in the Americas Summary

Western European powers of the 16th century began to branch outward in order to expand their influence and power. Spain, in particular, began to colonize Latin America with a sort of cruel efficiency. The indigenous American peoples had almost no autonomy and were typically forced into a type of serfdom. Spain established these colonies with the intention of economic gain by harvesting agriculture or raw materials like gold and silver. Spanish encomenderos, who were often ambitious, native Spaniards, established plantations called encomiendos that grew cash crops; with work distributed depending on class. (consisting of indigenous Americans, African slaves, and Western European landlords). In the colonies social class structure was transformed into a rigid system that ranked members according to race; such as indigenous Americans, African slaves, and Spaniards; mixed races like mestizos were also ranked. The religious character of Latin America was altered by Spanish missionaries who advocated the adoption of Christianity. However, indigenous groups still retained many of the social traditions they practiced prior to the arrival of Western explorers. Still, Native Americans suffered from Western imperialism; being decimated by disease, enslaved by encomenderos, and forced to abandon many parts of their traditional cultures.

Notes on Brazil

The First Planation Colony
Brazil became Western Europe’s first plantation colony under the control of Portugal; development was boomed after the discovery of gold in the 18th century.
· Pedro Alvares Cabral, Portuguese explorer on expedition to India.
o First to set foot in Brazil in 1500. Brazil essentially ignored for the next 30 years.
· French pressed for control of Brazilian terrority but the Portuguese responded with military action.
· Capitaincies
· Sugar planations established first using Native Americans then switching to African slaves
· 1549, first missionaries sent
· 1600, first indigenous resistance broken;
o Brazilian colonies had 100,000 inhabitants (30,000 Europeans; 15,000 Black slaves; 55,000 mixed race). About half the population - 150,000 people - were slaves.
· Royal capital established at Salvador

Sugar and Slavery
Brazil became the world's leading sugar exporter and Portugal’s most valued colony.

· The sugar making process became efficient and streamlined.
o Sugar was processed in the field and cut and pressed in large mills.
o Required huge amounts of labor, importing 7,000 slaves a year.
· Social classes remained the same: white planter families, mixed races, then slaves.
· Missionary establishments became increasingly important.
o Carried out many of the functions of government and sponsored the construction of sugar mills and ranches.
· Brazil depended on Portuguese for intellectual life; no universities or printing press in Brazil.
· Brazil gradually became Portugal's most important colony

Brazil's Age of Gold
Brazilian economic activity changed after the discovery of gold and the production of sugar in the Caribbean during the 17th century.

· Production of Caribbean sugar plantations by the Dutch, French, and British undercut the Brazilian sugar trade by providing increased competition and led to eventual decline.
· Paulistas - or, people hailing from Sao Paulo - helped to discover an area rich with gold called Minas Gerais (General Mines).
· Brazilian gold rush began.
o Gold production reached height between 1735-1760 (3 tons per year)
· Brazilian gold and diamond production caused the development of inland Brazil.
o Had "disastrous effects" on indigenous populations, opening up areas to ranching and farming
o Coastal agriculture continued by government; control of slave trade and sugar and tobacco growing.
· Gold allowed Portugal to continue enacting economic policies that harmed them in the future;
o A large portion of the gold went to England for manufactured goods, but once the Portuguese supply of gold dwindled, they became dependent on England.

Pombal and Brazil
Marquis of Pombal, an enlightened Portuguese despot, attempted to enact economic and social reforms in order to break England's hold on the Portuguese economy; set the stage for Brazilian independence.

· Marquis of Pombal, Portugal's authoritarian prime minister, supported government intervention in the economy
o Attempted to break the flow of Portuguese wealth to England though reform after Brazilian production of gold declined in 1760
· Considered an 'enlightened despot'
o Expelled Jesuit missionaries from Spain because he resented their partial autonomy in parts of Brazil
· Established monopolies to stimulate agricultural growth; new crops imported
o Led to portions of Brazil flourishing; development of Amazonian region, cotton plantations, and export of wild cacao.
· Brazilian social reforms: abolished slavery in Portugal, removed Indians from missionary control, and encouraged mixed marriages to protect Portuguese control in the area.
o Did little to change the character of Brazilian society; by late 18th century slave imports reached 20,000 a year
· Pombal's policies were mostly ineffective.
o Reduced trade imbalances with English to some extent. (Trade remained slow due to weak international demands)
o Set ground for Brazilian economic boom in the late 18th century and Brazilian independence movement