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Chapter 02 - When Worlds Collide


  • The English and the Algonquians at Roanoke
    • In 1590, Governor John White returned to Roanoke Island, where he had left the first English colonists three years ago, in search of the 115 colonists; mostly single men, but also twenty families, including White’s daughter, son-in-law, and Virginia Dare, the first English baby born in North America. He found the colonists’ houses taken down and their possessions scattered, but saw “CROATOAN” on a trunk, the name of a friendly village, and set sail for the village. 
    • Walter Raleigh financed a settlement at Roanoke Island, surrounded by Algonquian villages led by a chief named Wingina. Wingina supported the new settlement as potential new allies and sent two of his men, Wanchese and Manteo, back with the explorers who came in 1584 to help assist in the preparations.
    • Wanchese and Manteo worked with Thomas Harriot, an Oxford scholar, and John White, an artist; they learned each other’s language and developed a mutual respect among them.
    • The English returned in 1585 to establish the colony of Virginia, with the two emissaries with them. Manteo, from Croatoan, argued that English technology made them potentially powerful allies. Wanchese, seeing the inequality of European society, warned of English brutality, and rightly so; Raleigh planned to use, by force if necessary, the Algonquians as serfs to provide labor in the fur trade, plantation agriculture, or gold and silver  mines.
    • The English cannot support themselves and ask Wingina for support. Wingina supplies them, but constant demands begin to drain Algonquian resources while they are decimated by the new diseases brought by the colonists. Fearing hostilities, the English launch a preemptive strike in May 1586,  killing many leaders, including Wingina, beheading him. The colonists return to England afterwards.
    • Harriot and White argue for using settlers that will live in harmony with the native peoples through “discreet dealing” so that they will “honor, obey, fear, and love us.” Raleigh arranges for White to lead a new colony in 1587.
    • White is supposed to land on Chesapeake Bay, but the captain dumps White at Roanoke so that the captain can get on with plundering Spanish ships, putting them amid alienated and hostile natives. A party of Algonquians led by Wanchese attack a colonist. White retaliates with a counterattack that increases hostility. White returns to get help from Raleigh, but arrives in the middle of a war between England and Spain, and is unable to return until 1590. When White sails for Croatoan, a storm forces him to deeper waters and White never returns to the colony.
    • Evidence suggests the lost colonists lived with the Algonquians.
    • The English had “naked imperial objectives” that wasted the opportunity provided by the natives' original welcome.

The Expansion of Europe 

  • European Communities
    • Western Europe is an agricultural society. New technologies improve the productivity of farming while the size of the land under cultivation doubles; the population triples in this time.
    • Most people are village peasants. Society is patriarchal; men perform the field work while women perform livestock care and housework, daughters leave their families to join their husbands when they marry, receive dowries but are excluded from inheritance, and divorce is nearly unheard of.
    • Europe is a feudal society; lords control territory and exploit the serfs, amassing excessive wealth through tributes.
    • Religion, through the Roman Catholic Church, unifies Europe, which legitimizes feudal power and counsels the poor to look for heavenly instead of material reward. The Church actively persecutes…everyone.
    • Jews, migrants from a failed Palestinian revolution in 1st century BCE, experience discrimination. Many become merchants, but this only stimulates more hate.
    • Living conditions are harsh. Diet is limited, illness is common, most people die before adulthood (a third die before their fifth birthday), and the Black Death (1347-1353) wiped out a third of the Western European population.
  • The Merchant Class and the New Monarchies
    • The European economy recovers in the 14th and 15th centuries through technology. The population recovers from the Black Death, reaching 65 million.
    • New monarchies begin in Western Europe, legitimizing themselves by promoting political order (read: war), and are supported by the rising merchant class. This alliance helps fund explorations into the Americas.
  • The Renaissance
    • Begins in the city-states of Italy. Venice, Genoa, and Pisa use armed commercial fleets to control Mediterranean trade. Merchants here fund the Crusades, which furnishes these merchants with the silk and spice trades. This also provides Asian technology to Europe, such as the movable type.
    • Contact with Islamic society gives access to classical texts lost in the Dark and Middle Ages, launching the Renaissance in the 14th-16th centuries.
    • The Renaissance celebrates the human through architecture, art, and literature, promoting secularism over religion.
  • Portuguese Exploration
    • Portugal is the first European nation to explore distant lands. Merchant-installed king Joao I plans to create a merchant trading empire.
    • Prince Henry the Navigator establishes an academy at Sagres Point, which dispels the flat-earth theory and creates the caravel by mixing Islamic and Asian technology to make a better seafaring ship.
    • Portugal explores the northwestern African coast for gold and slaves and establishes a sea route to India by sailing around Africa, establishing a trade empire based on spices and slaves.
  • Columbus Reaches the Americas
    • Columbus tries to propose sailing west from Europe to reach the Indies. Portugal laughs at him, saying his calculations were too short; so do the French and English.
    • Spain accepts his proposal; after conquering Grenada and ending the Catholic reconquista, Isabel and Ferdinand are hungry for more land.
    • Columbus seeks to both establish trade and claim land for Spain.
    • He leaves in August 1492, hitting land in October and thinking he hit the Indies (he reached the Bahamas). Columbus returns, also bringing knowledge of the Atlantic currents.
    • Columbus comes back with captive native Tainos and stories of gold and spices.
    • Columbus returns with another force and begins to war with the Tainos; there were 300,000 Tainos in 1492, less than 30,000 within fifteen years, and practically eliminated by 1520. The colony Columbus establishes is unable to support itself and the Spanish have him jailed in 1500.
    • Amerigo Vespucci figures out that Columbus was a bit touched in the head and describes Columbus’ “Indies” as a Mundus Novus, a “New World.”

The  Spanish in the Americas

  • The Invasion of America
    • Spanish explorers plunder the Caribbean Islands, enslaving the native people in a system calledencomienda. Though supposedly a reciprocal agreement, where the new Spanish lords protected the natives for their labor, it was systematic exploitation. The Spanish invade Jamaica and Puerto Rico in 1508, Cuba in 1511, Central America at the same time, and met the Aztecs in 1517.
    • The Aztecs were an advanced warrior society with a capital at Tenochtitlan, where Mexico city is today, with a population of about 200,000 people.
    • In 1519, Hernan Cortes lands on the Mexican coast and conquers the Aztec Empire in two years by allying with rival tribes while the Aztecs were facing a smallpox epidemic.
  • The Destruction of the Indies
    • Antonia de Montesinos condemns the violence in a sermon to colonists on Hispaniola. Bartolome de Las Casas, a priest who previously participated in the plunder, echoes him, saying that the human race is one. No one listens.
    • The Destruction of the Indies (1552) by Las Casas details the Spanish abuses, which is used by other nations to hide their own exploitations, creating the “Black Legend” of Spanish conquest.
    • Las Casas attributed the losses to warfare; in truth, starvation, a dropping birthrate, and diseases (influenza, plague, smallpox, measles, typhus) did most of  the damage.
  • Intercontinental Exchange
    • This was the exchange of valuable metals (short-term) to Europe, cross-exchange of crops (potatoes, corn, tobacco, vanilla, chocolate, cotton to Europe; sugar, rice, and coffee to the Americas), and the introduction of domestic animals such as horses to the Americas.
  • The First Europeans in North America
    • Ponce de Leon, governor of Puerto Rico, lands in North America in 1513, naming the spot he lands Florida. He is killed in 1521. A second invasion by Panfilo de Narvaez in 1528 is ruined by a shipwreck, with the survivors wandering around until they are found by Spanish slave hunters in 1536. A survivor named Nunez Cabeza de Vaca writes an account that tells of golden cities in an empire known as Cibola.
    • De Soto lands in 1539 in search of Cibola, but he is turned back after a number of defeats (but not before leaving behind disease). De Soto dies on the way.
    • Francisco Vasquez de Coronado leads another expedition, but finds nothing. The Spanish lose interest in the Southwest.
  • The Spanish New World Empire
    • A century after Columbus, 250,000 Europeans (mostly Spaniards) and 125,000 African slaves settle in Brazil, with the slaves working on Spanish plantations in the Caribbean and Portuguese plantations in Brazil. Brazil is colonized under the Treaty of Tordesillas, an agreement written by the Pope of the time that splits the New World between Brazil and Portugal.
    • Spanish women only make up 10% of the immigrant population; most male immigrants marry or cohabit with native or slave women, creating mixed-ancestry groups that would make up a new racial caste system (a mestizo being a person with a Spanish father and native mother, mulattoes being the other, etc).
    • Though theoretically run from Spain, the Spanish colonies are largely self governing.

Northern Explorations and Encounters

·         Fish and Furs

o   Fisherman had been exploring coastal North American waters long before colonies were founded.

o   The Grand Banks of the coast of Newfoundland had abundant cod; by 1500 hundreds of ships sailed annually to the Grand Banks.

o   Genovese explorer Giovanni Caboto (sailing for England) (John Cabot) reached Labrador in 1497.

o   In 1524, Tuscan captain Giovanni da Verrazano (sailing for France), explored from Cape Fear (NC) to the Penobscot (ME).

o   Captain Cartier established France’s claims to the land of Canada.

o   Fur Traders were crucial to New France’s success.

o   Indians were active participants in the trade.

o   In the early seventeenth century, the French made an effort to monopolize the trade.

·         The Protestant Reformation and the First French Colonies

o   The Protestant reformation refers to the challenge by Martin Luther to the Catholic Church, initiated in 1517, calling for a return to what he understood to the purer practices and beliefs of the early church.

o   John Calvin developed the theological doctrine of predestination, the belief that god decided at the moment of creation which humans would achieve salvation.

o   Protestants were the European supporters of the religious reform under Charles V’s Holy Roman Empire.

o   French colony made by Jean Ribault failed because he left to get supplies, but got caught up into religious wars; the colonists starved, resorted to cannibalism, and were eventually rescued by a passing British Ship.

·         Sixteenth-Century England

o   Lords in England needed to make more money due to “New World” inflation, so they started to take land from farming tenants to graze sheep for the woolen trade.

o   King Henry VIII converted to the Church of England in 1534 with himself at its head.

o   After Henry 8 died his son, Edward VI, who died pretty soon, he was then succeeded by his half-sister Mary; Mary tried to undo the reform by killing lots of protestants, she was nicknamed “Bloody Mary.”

o   After Mary died her half-sister Elizabeth I took over, she tried to end religious turmoil by tolerating a variety of views.

o   She tried to take the Catholic Ireland, but the Irish fought back; their fighting back led the English to view them as a lesser people.

·         Early English Efforts in the Americas

o   England’s first voyages in the New World were made with the backdrop of a Spanish conflict.

o   John Hawkins violated Spanish trade laws and then got attacked on a later voyage.

o   England decided to join the hunt for American colonies.

o   Gilbert died on his return to England after sailing to Newfoundland in 1583.

o   His brother Raleigh made a colony at Roanoke which failed and became known as the lost colony.

o   Unlike the French (who focused on commerce) the English decided to take a violent approach to colonization.

o   Spain got mad at England because England took land that was “given” to Spain by the pope.


AP Questions


1.      B

The Roanoke colony is known as the lost colony.\


2.      B

Europe, as far as the economy goes, was stagnant for centuries, and things did change rather quickly once America was discovered.


3.      D

During the Age of Exploration the emerging European monarchs were developing close relationships with the merchant class so that both parties could further their wealth and prosperity.


4.      B

They wanted to get there faster.


5.      C

Reconquista was a century-long struggle, which caused the Spanish to develop a military tradition that thrived of conquest and plunder.


6.      A

While Spain and Columbus did have other goals, their objects were simply imperial.


7.      D

Columbus’s journal says, “…I am of opinion that they would very readily become Christians, as they appear to have no religion.”


8.      A

Due to disease and warfare the native populations in North America were decimated to the point of extinction.


9.      A

Due to the Aztec military strength the only reason Cortes was able to be successful was that the Aztec population was dying off because of disease and then the native allies of the Spanish also helped Cortes.


10.  C

The Europeans brought over coffee, rice, and sugar because they realized that they could make a profit.


11.  B

Honestly, this is the answer I recall Mr. Vincent saying.


12.  E

Spain and France didn’t like each other. Avoiding war, France decided to concentrate their efforts in the north.


13.  C

The French like their furs.


14.  E

Throughout England the church and wealthy merchants were fencing off common land that farms used. This caused farms to want to move to America.


15.  D

Spain, France, and Britain all had different ways that they established colonies in America.


Subject X2: 

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