1. Explain the ways the people of the New and Old Worlds affected each other when their societies came in contact in the late 15th century.
(Page 18) When they first came in contact with the natives, the Europeans learned of the rich deposits of gold and silver.
(Page 18) Diseases such as influenza, measles, chicken pox, mumps, typhus, and small pox were imported to the New World by the Europeans. The Europeans had already developed partial immunity to these diseases, but the natives were vulnerable to them. Thus, millions of natives died. Most areas of the New World experienced a demographic catastrophe as grave as or even worse than the Black Death that killed a third of the European Population.
(Page 18) Decimation was also caused by the conquistadores’ deliberate policy of subjugation and extermination. They believed that the natives were savages, yet the brutality was a consequence of high level of development in some native societies, as substantial empires posed a threat to conquistadores’ ambitions. The Spanish obliterated native cultures, razing cities, temples, and monuments and destroying records and documents, and killing Indian warriors, leaders, and priests. They tried to eliminate the underpinning of native civilizations to bring the Indian population fully under Spanish control. This and the effects of diseases and military brutality destroyed the empires of Mexico and South America and eliminated native resistance to the Spanish
The Europeans introduced crops such as sugar and bananas, domestic livestock (cattle, pigs, and sheep), and the horse. Indian tribes learned to cultivate the new crops and European livestock proliferated rapidly and spread rapidly. The horse became central to the lives of natives. Arriving white peoples learned new agricultural techniques that were more adapted to the new land and discovered new crops such as maize, an important staple. American foods went back to Europe and revolutionized agriculture there.
Indians adopted many features of European civilization, learning Spanish or Portuguese but in the process creating their own range of dialects. Missionaries spread Catholicism, but native Christians created a hybrid of faiths that were distinctively American.
Ordinary settlers, European men, outnumbered women by ten to one. Thus Intermarriage occurred and created mestizos. Thus a racial hierarchy developed with the Spanish at the top, natives at the bottom, and mixed races in between. Intermarriage was a form of labor recruitment.
2. Identify the changes that were taking place in Western Europe that resulted in widespread interest in colonization.
Significant population growth in the 15th century. The Black Death, killed more than a third of the people and debilitated the economy, but the population rebounded 150 years later. Growth in population → Rise in land values, reawakening of commerce, and an increase in prosperity. Landlords became eager to purchase goods from distant regions, and a merchant class arose. As trade increased, advances in navigation and shipbuilding made sea travel more feasible, interest in developing new markets, and finding new products and trade routes increased.
Rise of new governments that were more united/powerful. In West, authority of pope and Holy Roman Emperor was weak New monarchs emerged and created centralized nation-states with national courts, national armies, and national tax systems. As these kings and queens consolidated their power and increased their wealth they became eager to enhance the commercial growth of their nations. Since Marco Polo and others had returned from Asia with exotic goods and tales, Europeans hoped for commercial glory with the East.
Muslim societies seized control over the eastern routes to Asia and there was talk of finding a faster safer sea route to Asia.
3. Account for what led to the long-term success of the…