Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Spain and Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700

Spain and Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700

LYLE N. McALISTER
Volume: 3
Copyright Date: 1984
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 620
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttttnp4
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Spain and Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700
    Book Description:

    A narrative and interpretive history of Spanish and Portuguese exploration, settlement, and colonization of the Americas.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8190-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-xviii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xix-xxvi)
  3. Part I. Old World Antecedents

    • CHAPTER 1 The Matrix of Hispanic Societies: Reconquista and Repoblación
      (pp. 3-12)

      In the year 718 A.D. or thereabouts, a band of Christians led by the knight Pelayo strove against a detachment of Muslims near the caves of Covadonga in the Cantabrian mountains that rim northwestern Hispania. The Muslims were probably a raiding or tribute-gathering party detached from armies that seven years earlier had crossed from Africa, occupied most of the Iberian peninsula in a swift campaign, and then thrust into France until they were finally thrown back by the Franks at the Battle of Tours in 732. The Christians were fugitives from the Spanish Visigothic kingdom established in the fifth century...

    • CHAPTER 2 Reconquest Hispania
      (pp. 13-40)

      Hand in hand with reconquest and repopulation went the creation of the territorial units that provided the main source of identity for their inhabitants, as well as the spatial framework for civil and ecclesiastical government, economic production, and the formation of societies. The kingdoms and autonomous counties that appeared in the early medieval centuries constituted the superior territorial entities. These included the Kingdom of Asturias, which was created by Pelayo and his descendants in the Cantabrians and which, as the Reconquest moved out onto the tablelands of the Duero, metamorphosed into the Kingdom of Leon; ancient Galicia, a county dependent...

    • CHAPTER 3 Hispanic Expansion in the Old World
      (pp. 41-70)

      The vigor of Europe during the High Middle Ages not only opened large internal frontiers but generated that dynamic symbiosis of religious zeal, thirst for territorial conquest, and economic enterprise that characterized the early centuries of European overseas expansion. Beginning with the first expedition to the Holy Land in 1096, Christian warriors established crusader kingdoms guarded by massive fortresses in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Cyprus. Italian towns, Genoa, Pisa, and Venice, provided the transportation, supplies, and much of the capital the crusaders needed to get to their destinations and to maintain themselves there.

      In addition to the immediate rewards for...

  4. Part II. The Establishment of Hispanic Dominion in America, 1492 to About 1570

    • CHAPTER 4 The Conditions of Conquest and Colonization: Geography and Peoples
      (pp. 73-88)

      In the darkness of the early morning of October 12, 1492, the lookout on Columbus’s ship, thePinta,sighted a white surface glimmering in the moonlight on the horizon and sang out, “Land! Land!” After several hours of excited suspense, first light revealed an expanse of sand and forest rising from the water that, upon reconnaissance, proved to be an island in what later became known as the Bahamas group. Shortly before noon Columbus went ashore in thePinta’sboat and on the strand raised the banner of Castile. He took possession of the island in the name of the...

    • CHAPTER 5 Mundus Novus: Discovery and Conquest
      (pp. 89-107)

      If discovery and conquest be followed step by step and league by league over two seas and two continents, they have the appearance of very disorderly affairs. To contemporaries, however, they had definable meanings, rationales, and methods, and, in retrospect at least, their unfolding displays a pattern and a rhythm.

      In the language and ambiance of the times, “discovery” meant to reveal or gather knowledge about lands hitherto unknown, but it also had associative aims and values: the revelation of nations hitherto hidden from the light of Christ and the coming upon troves of treasure or, more prosaically, the finding...

    • CHAPTER 6 Colonization: The Populators of the Indies
      (pp. 108-132)

      Just as the discovery merged into conquest, conquest blended in to colonization. Rendered by contemporaries aspoblación,colonization retained its medieval significance. It meant the settlement of newly gained territories but for particular purposes and in particular ways. It required the establishment of a Christian republic where men lived in polity and justice according to their rank and station and made the land bear fruit. And it remained a good and desirable thing. It extended Christendom, increased the patrimonies and revenues of princes, and “ennobled” the land. Indeed, it was the logical and desired end of discovery and conquest, despite...

    • CHAPTER 7 Instruments of Colonization: The Castilian Municipio
      (pp. 133-152)

      The Castilianmunicipioconstituted the main instrument of European colonization by virtue of tradition, necessity, and policy. The Spaniards could conceive of no other way to live together; a republic was a city. Ample precedent existed from the Spanish Reconquest; the valley of the Duero and Old and New Castile had been settled and secured by the founding of towns. In a vast and hostile New World, moreover, Europeans had to gather in nucleated settlements not only for physical security but for defense against loneliness. The crown understood all of these things and also that the municipality provided the only...

    • CHAPTER 8 Colonization: Efforts to Incorporate the Indians
      (pp. 153-181)

      Queen Isabella desired to incorporate the American indigenes into the Spanish scheme of colonization by converting them, acculturating them, and putting them to work, but she underestimated the magnitude of the task. Indeed, a sharp difference of opinion arose as to whether it could be accomplished at all. The dispute turned on the essential nature and identity of the American indigene and, in a broader sense, was an extension of the problem first raised by Portuguese expansion along the coast of Africa when Europeans encountered savagery and paganism on a large scale.

      The first settlers in the Indies had a...

    • CHAPTER 9 The Royal Señorío in the Indies
      (pp. 182-207)

      The Crown of Castile gained the Indies by conquest, but it had to confirm, consolidate, and defend dominion so acquired. It was also obliged to provide justice and good government to its trans-Atlantic subjects, European and Indian, for contemporary political theory still held that this was the first duty of princes. Administratively, these multiple tasks involved the enactment of laws suitable for New World kingdoms and the creation of a governmental apparatus to exercise in them what Spanish jurists recognized as the four primary functions of government:jurisdicción(judicial),gobiernoorpolicia(legislative and administrative),capitania general(military command and...

    • CHAPTER 10 The Fruits of the Land
      (pp. 208-230)

      Poblaciónrequired that the land be made fruitful so that its people prosper and multiply and royal revenues be augmented. In the broadest sense, fructification included the exploitation of everything the land yielded, animal, vegetable, and mineral, or, to put it in modern terms, the development of the economy of the Indies. A description of this process begins with a look at the primary factors of production—natural resources, labor, and capital.

      Land furnished the main natural resource of the Indies and, in regions where the Spaniards first settled, it was abundant. Before the European discovery, some Indian cultures may...

    • CHAPTER 11 The Commerce of the Indies
      (pp. 231-249)

      The commerce of the Indies involved the exchange of goods at the local level, between adjacent regions, between widely separated American provinces and kingdoms, and between America and Seville, where it linked to long-established European trade routes. Through Portuguese connections it extended to India, to the Spice Islands, and to slave stations on the African coast. Its patterns and forms were shaped by complex and changing market conditions, by the nature of the transportation systems it used, by the kinds and availability of money and credit, by government policy, and by the intrusions of foreign corsairs and smugglers.

      The most...

    • CHAPTER 12 The Conquest of Brazil
      (pp. 250-269)

      In the eighteenth century, a French historian compared Spanish and Portuguese expansion in the New World in the following terms:

      The conquests of the Portuguese in the New World are not as pleasing on a broad view as the conquests of Mexico and Peru. In the latter we see a single Conqueror who . . . successfully conquers a mighty State in a short space of time with few men to establish himself solidly on the ruins of a great Empire. As in the epic Poem, it appears as a single action embellished by a few Episodes. With the former,...

    • [Maps]
      (pp. None)
    • CHAPTER 13 The Colonization of Brazil to About 1570
      (pp. 270-288)

      Like the Spaniards in their Indies, the Portuguese in Brazil used the municipality as the primary instrument of settlement, and for much the same reasons. They could conceive of no other way to live in polity than in urban centers; in an empty and hostile land they felt the need to cluster together for physical and psychological security; and the king desired that towns be founded to consolidate his dominion in newly acquired territory. The first formal step taken by donataries or their lieutenants and by royal captains upon their arrival in Brazil was the founding of a town (vila)....

  5. Part III. Hispanic American Empires from About 1570 to About 1700

    • CHAPTER 14 The Imperial Context: The Hispanic World in the Age of the Habsburg Kings
      (pp. 291-304)

      The reign of Philip II was a transitional period in Hispanic history. The shift began in 1556 when the bequests of the Emperor Charles gave the Habsburg patrimonies in eastern Europe to the Austrian branch of the family, leaving to Philip Spain, the Low Countries, Franche-Compté, the Italian possessions of Aragon, and the Indies. Three years later Philip returned to Spain from the Netherlands, where he had been commanding Spanish forces fighting the French. He was a Spaniard by birth and upbringing and never left his home again. In 1560 he established the royal court permanently in Madrid, in the...

    • CHAPTER 15 Territorial Changes in the Hispanic New World: Contractions, Expansions, Adjustments
      (pp. 305-331)

      In the last decades of the sixteenth century and throughout the seventeenth, far-reaching territorial changes occurred in the Spanish Indies and in Brazil. The dominions claimed de jure by Spain suffered substantial contractions; the lands occupied de facto by both Spain and Portugal expanded enormously, and Portuguese expansion produced major readjustments of the territorial claims of the two Hispanic powers in South America.

      Territorial contraction in Hispanic America resulted not from the withdrawal of Spain and Portugal from lands they had already settled but from northern European colonization in regions they had left unoccupied. During the sixteenth century the French...

    • CHAPTER 16 Post-Conquest Populations: Components, Numbers, Movements, Distribution
      (pp. 332-354)

      The kinds and spacing of data largely determine what can be said about the populations of Spanish America after the Conquest. In the seven decades or so that followed the preparation of López de Velasco’sGeografia y descriptión universal de las Indias,¹ a number of other “censuses” appeared. In 1577, the Council of the Indies sent out a questionnaire to provincial administrators eliciting detailed information on the political geography, topography, natural resources, defense, demography, and other features of their jurisdictions. During the next ten years returns slowly trickled in from Venezuela, New Granada, Quito, Peru, the Antilles, Central America, and...

    • CHAPTER 17 Post-Conquest Economies
      (pp. 355-390)

      The territorial expansion that followed the Conquest greatly increased the natural resources available in the Indies, and mining and commerce generated new capital for their exploitation. The number of indigenes, however, continued to diminish, making labor the most critical factor of production. During the same period, the demands of a growing Spanish American population of European and mixed-blood origin and of a vigorous European economy stimulated the commerce of the Indies. Until the early 1600s this conjuncture of favorable production and market factors generated a steady expansion of the Spanish American economy. Then a contraction began, at least in mining...

    • CHAPTER 18 American Societies and American Identities
      (pp. 391-422)

      Throughout the colonial era persons of European descent in the Indies still believed firmly that a properly formed republic should be constituted by a hierarchy of orders, each possessing distinct ascribed and juridical statuses. By the end of the Conquest, however, it had become clear that the traditional ordering–nobility, clergy, and commoners–could not be reproduced in America. They were already archaic in Europe, the crown opposed the presence of a powerful nobility in America, and, above all, the medieval concept of a republic could not accommodate the millions of non-Europeans who made up most of the American population....

    • CHAPTER 19 Imperial Systems
      (pp. 423-451)

      Royal government in Spanish and Portuguese America expanded steadily after the era of the Conquest both territorially and in terms of its functions and powers. Newly occupied regions had to be provided with governors and magistrates, and in kingdoms and provinces settled earlier increasingly complex societies needed a larger governmental apparatus. The growth of royal absolutism in theory and fact led to the promulgation of more rigorous and detailed laws, and preoccupation with mercantilist doctrines produced a growing body of rules and regulations affecting production and commerce. The defense of trade and territory against mounting foreign threats required larger military...

    • CHAPTER 20 Epilogue: European Reactions to Hispanic Expansion in America
      (pp. 452-478)

      The impact of Hispanic expansion on America was direct, massive, and permanent. It involved the rapid conquest of large parts of two continents, the sudden destruction of great Indian civilizations, and the decimation of indigenous populations. In the wake of conquest the Spaniards and Portuguese created new American societies with the unwilling help of the conquered peoples and slaves brought from Africa.

      As they existed at the end of the seventeenth century, these societies give the appearance of archaic structures when compared with those of northern Europe, but less so if their mother countries are used as the standard of...

  6. Notes
    (pp. 481-510)
  7. Bibliographical Essay
    (pp. 511-562)
  8. Index
    (pp. 565-585)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 586-586)