February 10, 2014
The Colonies of New Spain
In the decades after 1519, the Spaniards created the distinctive colonial society of New Spain. Through this paper I will discuss the features of this new society, how it benefitted the Spanish, and its toll on the native populations using evidence and facts found in out textbook, The American Promise: A Concise History and an article from the Economist Newspaper titled, Americas:1519: The Conquest. It started in the sixteenth century when the New World helped Spain become the most powerful monarchy in both Europe and the Americas. Then there was the conquest of Mexico that ended greatly for the powerful Spain but not so much the native people of Mexico. This …show more content…
Would they want to come to Christ’s sheepfold after their homes had been destroyed, their children imprisoned, their wives raped, their cities devastated, their maidens deflowered, and their provinces laid waste?” These powerful words won some sympathy for the Indians from the Spanish monarchy and royal bureaucracy and the Spanish monarchy moved to abolish Encomienda in an effort to replace daring old conquistadors with royal bureaucrats as the rulers of New Spain.
Encomienda was replaced by a reform called the repartimiento3 in 1549. This system limited the labor an encomendero could command from his Indians to forty-five days per year from each adult male. However, this system did not challenge the principal forced labor or stop encomenderos from continuing to cheat, mistreat, and overwork their Indians. Many Indians were put into grueling work forces in the dangerous silver mines. The silver mines were very profitable for the Spaniards who supervised them because, during the entire sixteenth century, precious metal exports from New Spain to Spain were worth twenty-five times more than the next most important export, leather hides.
The majority of the population in New Spain remained mostly Indians and Europeans never made up more than 1 or 2 percent of the total population. There was a definite shortage of women in New Spain led Spanish men to marry