Part IV Question
Colonization of America by the European countries began in the late 15th century. The colonization was mostly motivated by the Europe desire to acquire wealth. The European colonialists justified their move by stating that they wanted to civilize indigenous people. The famous phrase “God, Gold and Glory” incredibly summarizes the colonialists’ motives. Explorers, Amerigo Vespucci, Diego Alverez Chanca, Hernando Cortes, and Samuel de Champlain spoke on their aspiration to extend the political boundaries of Europe and to advance European economies. Vespucci, Chanca, Cortes, and Samuel de Champlain emphasized their intent to convert Indigenous people to Christianity. Some of the great consequences of colonization were erosion of indigenous culture, practices and religion. The natives also were given low status within the conventional colonial societies as depicted from Cortes account and the excerpt delineating Aztec reaction to invasion by the Spanish settlers. This essay aims at attaining great understanding of the European colonization in America. To attain these goals preserved records of Motecuhzoma, through hid diary entry, where he discusses his opinion to the European is fundamentally useful because it provides more substantiated perspective.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, the Aztec ruled a large empire in the today southern Mexico. The Spaniards reacted towards the Aztecs with a lot of brutalities because they wanted to conquer the Aztec religion which was as organized and codified as Christianity. This is one factor that made it so hard for the Spaniards to unorganized Aztec. Aztec offered human sacrifice practices. Spaniard brutal actions towards Aztec were due to their brutal culture that was more violent than one could understand. In different ways, modern Latin America was born from prolonged durations of brutal war between the Moors and the Spanish.
Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian explorer who lived between 1454 and 1512. The America was named after his exploration of the American mainland in 1497. He believed he had reached the new world. Stearns (67) Christopher Columbus sailed the area in 1492 but he believed he had arrived at islands coast of Asia. Vespucci’s reputation was boosted by his letter that was titled Mundus Novus i.e. New World. This letter established Vespucci as a legendary explorer and after he died, scholars began to doubt his declaration on discovery. Notably, Vespucci claimed he was the captain to all expeditions he did but he was only a navigator of a single vessel. He sailed in the service of two countries Portugal and Spain. Vespucci used Girmand, Wegiz, San Antiago, and reportage as his exploration ships.
In his letter, Vespucci judged most of the people he met to be Epicurean. He noted that their dwellings were in common, and their houses were made in the style of huts and a single house could occupy 600 people. In the letter he also observed that the occupants of land did not value gold, pearl or any other riches that were highly valued in Europe even though they were readily available. The riches of the inhabitant consisted of many colored necklaces that were made of bird’s plumes and fishbones. According to Stearns (57), Vespucci claimed that he carried out four voyages to the new world after his first voyage in 1497 and claimed he had a found a vast continent named South America. In 1499 – 1500, Vespucci took part in another expedition that was guided by Alonzo de Ojeda. During the voyage, his ship travelled on the coastline of Venezuela he also sailed in 1501, 1502, and 1503 with the convoy of a Portuguese captain Goncalo Coelho along the Brazilian coastline.
Vespucci voyage stopped in Bahamas in 1499 where they captured two hundred natives and took them to Spain as slaves. In his letter Vespucci had described the culture of Americas indigenous people, he focused on their religion, diet but what made his letter extremely popular were the marriage and childbirth practices of the indigenous people. Diego Alverez Chanca was an attendant of Christopher Columbus and a physician by profession. He had been chosen by the commandants to go with Columbus in his second expedition in 1493. Immediately, after landing Hispaniola, malaria fever attacked Christopher Columbus and Chanca was successful to treat him. He also managed to treat other affiliates tof the crew at the time of Columbus’s voyage. Chance noted the way of life of the caribe people to be bestial. He noted that they raided other islands and took their young beautiful women. These women were tortured and the son they gave birth to be eaten and only children from the native women could be brought up.
Vilches (64) Chanca opinion was sought when Christopher was picking a site to the initial settlement, Isabella. It is there that Chanca wrote to the metropolitan council of his local city. In his letter Chanca described ethnology, flora and fauna as well as, the U.S. ethnography. Vilches (61) notes that when Chanca returned to Spain in 1494, and later published a medical exposition in 1506 which was titled The Treatment of Pleurisy - Para curar el mal de Costado. Later in 1514, Chance published a critic to the manuscript known as De Conservanda Juventute Et Retardanda Senectute. The book was done by a fellow physician Amaldo de Villanova.
Hernando was born in 1485 in a small town called Medellin. Cortes’ parents, were members of lower nobility. In his time, Cortes governed reorganized and conquered territory that was renamed as New Spain until 1528. From 1524 – 1526 Cortes later led another disastrous expedition to Honduras. Until his death, Cortes spent his final years in anonymity. Grack and William (34) note that Cortes’ actions in exploring the coast of the pacific northward in search of legendary wealth of Cibola. He also supported Charles V during the unsuccessful assault on Algiers in 1541. Writers of 16th and 17th centuries celebrated Cortés’s role as an instrument of God but not as a military commander. Cortes is seen to deliver a new world from idolatry and to extend Catholicism in opposition to Martin Luther.
Samuel was born around 1574. His is named as the father of New France. Samuel was a navigator, draughtsman, cartographer, explorer, soldier, geographer, diplomat, ethnologist chronicler. Morganelli (89) notes that Samuel found New France and Quebec City on 1608. He is also important to the Canadian history since he made the first accurate map of the Canadian coast and assisted in establishing a settlement.
Conclusively, there were catastrophic consequences for the Indigenous Americans as colonization by Europe continued. The most critical are the loss of indigenous religion, culture and practices. The most enduring was the low status given to the natives by the colonial societies. The indigenous people’s leaders were told to abandon their beliefs that were considered pagan. Cortes notes that European culture was easily adapted by the natives. The chiefs of the natives begged Cortes to acquaint with the law under which they would live. The law included coerced labor under encomienda system, alteration of their traditional societies and lifestyles, as well as, decimation from disease.
Aztec reactions to the Europan encounter 16th Century.
Dr. Diego Alverez Chanca Participant in Columnus’s Second voyage, on the Caribe Indians, in a published account. C, 1500
French explorer Samuel de Champlain in North America, reporting to his government c. 1632
Letter of Amerigo Vespucci: His first Voyage to new world c. 1497
Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes in Mexico, writing to the Spanish government c. 1520
Grack, Rachel A., and William H. Goetzmann. Hernando Cortes and the fall of the Aztecs. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2006. Print.
Morganelli, Adrianna. Samuel de Champlain: from New France to Cape Cod. Crabtree Pub. 2006 print.
Stearns, Justin K. Infectious ideas contagion in premodern Islamic and Christian thought in the Western Mediterranean. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011. Print.
Vilches, Elvira. New World gold cultural anxiety and monetary disorder in early modern Spain. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Print.
West, David, and Jackie Gaff. Hernán Cortés : the life of a Spanish conquistador. New York: Rosen Pub. Group, 2005. Print.