Colonial Beginnings: 1492-1690 Flashcards Preview

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After Columbus established permanent contact with the New World, where did Spain focus its colonial efforts?

Spain focused primarily on conquest and expeditions under conquistadors (conquerers) who were sent from Spain to the New World.
In 1521, Hernán Cortés conquered the Aztecs in modern-day Mexico, and in 1534, Francisco Pizarro completed the conquest of the Incas of Peru.


How did contact with the Europeans affect the native inhabitants of the New World?

Indians had no resistance to European diseases, and roughly 90% of the Indian population died from diseases like smallpox. Many of the remaining Indians were enslaved to work Spanish farms and mines under the Encomienda System.
The chain of disease was not one-sided; from the New World Spanish explorers brought syphilis back to Europe.


In 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella completed the conquest of Spain from the Moors by successful capturing ______________.

Granada was the last Moorish outpost in Spain, and its conquest unified the country under one monarchy. Its conquest allowed the Spanish monarchy to focus on other military adventures, such as the conquest of North America.


Historian Alfred Crosby coined a term to describe the interchange of flora, fauna, and diseases between Europe and the New World. What is that term?

Columbian Exchange
Before European contact, there were no crowd-spread diseases, nor domesticated animals in the New World. Hearty American crops such as corn, potatoes, and cassava were brought back to Europe, helping to alleviate food shortages there.
Though Europeans didn't understand pollination, they enjoyed honey and brought European honeybees to the New World.


the Encomienda System

Under the Encomienda System, the Spanish government provided grants of land and Indians to individual Spaniards who were supposed to care for the Indians and convert them to Catholicism. The system resulted in virtual slavery for the Indians consigned to Spanish care and most died from brutal treatment or disease.
To replace Indian labor, Spain arranged for the importation of slaves from Africa, under the Asiento System.


What was the Asiento System?

As the Indians died from disease and overwork, the Spanish turned to the Asiento System to make up for the labor shortage. Under the Asiento System, African slaves were carried to the Americas and a tax was paid to the Spanish crown for each slave imported.
The Asiento System was a forerunner of the Triangular Trade System, and resulted in hundreds of thousands of slaves being brought to the New World.


What was the Papal Line of Demarcation?

In 1493, the Pope divided the world between Portugal and Spain by drawing a line down a map of the known world, giving Spain everything west of the Papal Line of Demarcation, and Portugal everything to the east.
In the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), the Portuguese and Spaniards moved the line slightly to the west, an action which was ratified by the Pope in 1506. Since the Tordesillas line went through a portion of Brazil, the Portuguese would later claim the region.


Besides Mexico and Central and South America, what other locations did the Spanish colonize?

The Spanish also colonized Texas, New Mexico, Florida, and California.
In California, the Spanish founded San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and under Father Junipero Serra planted religious missions along the California coast.
The Spanish mission at San Juan Capistrano, in Orange County, California, was founded by Father Serra on July 4, 1776.


What was the Pueblo Revolt?

In 1680 a group of Pueblo Indians in modern-day New Mexico, led by Popé, a Pueblo religious leader, revolted against Spain, driving the Spanish from the colony of Santa Fe de Nuevo México.
Popé and his followers revolted because of Spanish attempts to ban Indian religious ceremonies. The Spanish returned in 1692, and a subsequent revolt failed.



A nation-state (such as France or Spain) is a geographical unit, under one form of government, in which the populace shares a common ethnic and cultural background.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, trade was an important source of funding for nation-states, leading to an increased emphasis on commerce and exploration.


Where did the French focus their colonial efforts?

The French colonial efforts focused on the area around the St. Lawrence River, where they founded the colony of Quebec in 1608. French exploration was dominated by the fur trade.
The French efforts were driven by fashion. Beaver skin proved easy to make into hats, and beaver skin hats were a staple of the fashionable French gentleman for two centuries.


How did the French interact with the Indians?

Relatively few French settlers arrived in the New World and their primary focus was on trade, mainly trading manufactured goods and weapons for furs. As such most contact between the Indians and the French was peaceful.


What was the Protestant Reformation?

Beginning in the early 1500s, the Protestant Reformation was a revolt against the authority of the Pope and established new versions of Christianity.
To escape persecution, many of these new Christian sects would seek refuge in the New World.


How did the Protestants and Catholics view the religious nature of exploration and conquest?

Both Protestants and Catholics viewed religious conversion of Indians as a primary justification for exploration and conquest; each group sought to convert the Indians to their version of Christianity.


The Northwest Passage

The Northwest Passage was a purported sea route north and west of North America that provided a direct sailing route to Asia from Europe.
The search for an easy sea lane around the New World by French explorers such as Henry Cabot and Giovanni Verrazzano, and Dutch explorers such as Henry Hudson, spurred exploration of North America.
Today, melting sea ice above Canada threatens to make the Northwest Passage a reality.


English colonization of the New World did not begin in earnest until the late 1500s. Why?

During much of the 16th century, England's attention was focused on suppressing rebellions as well as a war with France. In addition, King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church over the issue of divorce, founding the Anglican Church.
In 1585, England and Spain went to war, and England began to focus on the New World for the purpose of raiding Spanish ships. Following the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, English colonization of the New World began in earnest.


What is a joint-stock company?

In a joint-stock company, funds are contributed into a common pool by investors who share in the company's profits and losses.
Joint-stock companies proved an effective way to meet the large upfront costs of trading missions and colonial settlements


What is a royal charter?

A royal charter was a grant from the King of England giving special privileges, such as self-government, to a colony.


What was the first permanent English colony in the New World?

Jamestown, Virginia, established in 1607, was England's first permanent colony in the New World. The Virginia Company, a joint-stock company, received a charter from King James I.
A previous colony at Roanoke mysteriously disappeared, but the Jamestown colony survived despite disease and poor planning.


What problems affected the Jamestown Colony?

Jamestown's problems included:
disease: the colony was built in a low-lying, marshy area
food shortages: many settlers wanted to search for gold instead of growing crops or hunting
labor shortages: many former merchant settlers were unused to physical labor
Under John Smith's policy of "no work, no food" Jamestown's conditions improved for a while, but then deteriorated during the "starving time."


What was the effect of the Ottoman Empire's conquest of Constantinople?

Constantinople served as the trade gateway between Europe and Asia. Following its conquest by the Turks in 1453, Europeans had to find alternative trade routes to gain access to Asian goods, promoting exploration


How did tobacco influence the Chesapeake colonies?

John Rolfe introduced tobacco to Virginia, which created a virtual boom economy in the Chesapeake region. The labor-intensive cultivation of tobacco led to the growth of slavery in the Chesapeake colonies.
A tobacco blend developed by John Rolfe and his wife, Pocahontas, proved particularly popular in England.


What was the Virginia House of Burgesses?

The Virginia House of Burgesses was the first lawmaking body in the New World.
Twelve years after the founding of the Jamestown Colony, the Virginia Company sought to encourage colonization in Virginia by establishing a lawmaking body, which allowed the populace to govern itself.
The current lower house of Virginia's General Assembly is a direct descendant of the original House of Burgesses.


Who founded the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies?

The Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies were founded by Puritan Separatists. The English allowed the troublemaking Puritan Separatists to settle in the New World as an easy means of getting them out of the way.


As the second governor of the Plymouth Bay Colony, _____ _____ guided the colony through its early years.

William Bradford
Bradford led the Plymouth Bay Colony as its governor for a period of almost thirty years. Bradford composed a history of the colony, Of Plymouth Plantation.


Who were the Puritans?

The Puritans sought to "purify" Christian religious practices, and constituted a threat to the Church of England. A subset of these Puritans, known as Separatists, sought to leave the Church of England entirely.
The Church of England had been founded by English monarch Henry VIII, so that he could divorce his wife, free from papal interference. As the religious embodiment of the King, any threat to the Church of England was a threat to the King himself


What was the governing document of the Plymouth Colony?

Aboard the Mayflower, the Puritan Separatists signed the Mayflower Compact (1620), which established majority rule and self-government for the Plymouth Colony.
Historians typically refer to these Puritan Separatists as "Pilgrims," because their trip was religiously motivated, and thus was a pilgrimage.


What was the Great Migration?

The Great Migration was the first large-scale influx of settlers to the New World. Fleeing a civil war in England, Puritans under John Winthrop established numerous settlements in Massachusetts, including Boston.
The influx of new settlers led to an expanded government for what was now the colony of Massachusetts.


What was John Winthrop's vision for the Puritan colonies of Massachusetts?

Winthrop viewed the new community "city upon a hill," watched by the world and blessed by God for living in godly manner.
Winthrop's sermon gave rise to the widespread belief that the United States of America is God's country, an early example of American exceptionalism.


After the Great Migration, how did democracy function in Massachusetts?

All male members of the Puritan church had the right to elect the governor, the governor's assistants, and a representative assembly.