Map of colonial claims:


I. The Spanish in the New World were restless, zealous, greedy; they sought riches and souls for Catholicism. Conquistador Bernal Diaz said it best when he said: "We came for the Glory of God. And to get rich!"


A. What type of people settled North America: Background on Castilian Spaniards 

            1. had a strong warfare tradition brought from Spain

                        a. had fought the Moors in the Spanish peninsula for Spanish independence

                        b. had also fought the Aztecs to conquer for gold, glory, & God 

            2. had a strong desire to own land - land was scarce in Spain because of primogeniture and entail

  a. yet land was the primary source of power, prestige, and wealth; the Americas thus provided a new source of upward mobility for minor nobles and second sons

  3. had a very strong sense of entitlement--they knew they needed a labor force to work the new lands because “Gentlemen” do not do manual labor

a. outside of Central America Indians were hard to harness, however, so the Spanish established a slave trade with captured Indians 

b. they imported African slaves into Caribbean & South & Central America  

        4. the Spanish were filled with a strong religious fervor - Catholic, of course

                        a. this was a reaction to the rise of Protestantism;-they felt defensive of Catholicism

                        b. Church and state were not separate in the Spanish tradition

"The Patronato Real" was the royal patronage that gives the state the right to appoint church officials; in return, the church received state financing and lands

B. The Mythology of Conquest: In 1492 Europeans "discovered" the so-called New World. They were motivated to move to the northern frontiers of this world by a set of stories that circulated in Europe and New Spain


1.In 1536 a Spanish sailor who had been shipwrecked in the New World, Cabeza de Vaca, arrived in Mexico City with tales of golden cities that he had seen north of Mexico City

a. he had shipwrecked on the coast of TX and walked through the interior back to Mexico - this took several years and he had many adventures along the way. He became an Indian Shaman at one point.

                  b. de Vaca told of seeing a city of gold in distance as he crossed the southwest; historians think he saw Zuni Pueblo shining in the sun

2. Thus, the Spanish explorers held to myths of Great Riches in North America that circulated in adventure literature, popular after the invention of the printing press.


a. The "Seven Cities of Cibola"—cities of Gold could be found in the New World


b. The Indians also contributed to this—some of them kept telling Spanish to go north to find wealth


3. 1521 Cortez conquered the Aztecs and Spanish dominance was established in Valley of Mexico. The great wealth that the conquistadores plundered from Central America fuelled their desire to conquer the rest of the new world   


II. Ideologies of Settlement


A. Why did Spanish explorers claim the New World for Spain?


1. For starters, because the Pope had said they could do this in the Treaty of Tordesillas, 1494: Spain & Portugal had divided the New World between themselves & the Pope had sanctioned this


Pope permits conquest on basis of Spanish "superior civilization" i.e. Christian civilization-of which he is head

2. Before conquering any peoples, the conquistador had to read the natives the Requerimiento (requirement); it was read in Spanish and witnessed by a priest who then certified that it had been done

                     a. it consisted of  legal document explaining to them that they had been conquered for Spain and were now Spanish citizens

b. if they refused to cooperate, they could then be militarily defeated and enslaved; -which happened frequently when Indians resisted Spanish demands

3. The Spanish had set of categories for dealing with Indians based on the ancient European distinction between "civilization" & "barbarians" or "savages"; civilized people had a moral duty to "uplift" the "savages". The Spanish called this "reduction"

B. The Spanish model of colonization was different from other European powers


1. They hoped  to transform the Indians into “civilized” Christians who adopted Spanish culture; they would then be absorbed into the Spanish empire as productive citizen—they would people New Spain

a. They brought in priests to convert the Indians and established missions--consisting of a church, an administration building, and occasionally living facilities for the Indians--near Indian settlements


b. at the same time, they sent a contingent of soldiers to back this up; the soldiers settled in forts called presidios. 


Exterior of Spanish Church:   

Interior of Spanish Church: 

Presidio: ; 


  2. Many Indians were willing to adopt Catholicism in addition to their native religion, but the Padres wanted exclusive adherence to Christianity, and they punished Indians for practicing their religion very harshly (Example: one padre in California was fond of burning heretics to death.)


a. This led to religious conflict that culminated in revolts in both the east and the west


b. The Pueblo Revolt happened in the southwest in 1680, and the Guale Revolt occurred in Florida at the end of the 16th Century


In both instances, the Indians rose up, killed numerous Spaniards, and drove away the survivors; they then destroyed the churches and religious artifacts of Catholicism

In the southwest, the Spanish re-conquered the Pueblos in 1691-92; the two managed to establish an uneasy working relationship over several years. (For this story see; The Great Southwestern Revolt)


But in the southeast, they never did—they ruled the Indians as separate and independent Republics throughout the colonial period


English raiders eventually wiped out Spanish missions in Florida; they sold Indians captured in these raids into slavery in the Caribbean

  3. The Spanish also adopted an exploitive economic system in the New World--encomienda and repartimiento                                              

a. Encomienda – a grant to reward soldiers who had conquered New Spain; there is some conflict as to exactly what this entailed: one source says it was a grant of land - including Indians on that land,  another source says it was just a grant of Indians, but the Spanish had the right to conscript labor from them

b. Similarly repartimiento—which was the right to negotiate labor with Indians—also granted to those who found favor with the crown 

c. The idea behind these institutions was that Spaniards of high moral standing would take on task of “civilizing” Indians by putting them to work as miners, farm workers, hired laborers

But in reality, these were often exploitive relationships, producing profits for the Spanish while imposing harsh conditions of labor on the Indians, and they aroused criticism from conscientious Friars

  4. A conscientious priest named Father Las Casas wrote tracts denouncing abuses of Indians—his tales of abuse came to be called the Black Legend His work is excerpted here: 


a. The colonists ignored his pleas to stop exploiting the Indians, so he went to Spain and badgered the King--hanging out in his courtyard night and day asking for an audience


b. When the king finally agreed to hear him, in 1542, he was able to persuade him that the practice was unjust


c. King Charles I then issued The New Laws of Indies--which were intended to do away with economienda & repartimiento


but these Laws were never published in the New World, and the system continued

these laws are excerpted here:


So Las Casas again nagged the king for an audience

d. In late 1550, Las Casas debated Juan de Sepulveda, a businessman, before the court of Isabella and Ferdinand

                              -de Sepulveda argued Aristotle’s position: inferior races were meant to serve superior races

-Las Casas argued the Indians must first have a chance to become civilized and only if they refuse or cannot accomplish this was enslavement all right  

e. The debate finally ended in 1551 when Queen Isabella agreed with Las Casas and issued a decree which ruled that Indians were human and had souls, thus they can't be enslaved. 


Rather, colonists were supposed to persuade them to work as part of becoming  “civilized” not force them to work in order to exploit them

III.  Expeditions of Exploration


A. 1540-1542 Coronado explored the southwest and claimed it for Spain;  

He encountered the Pueblo Indians (descendents of the Anasasi) who now lived along the Rio Grande River in what is now New Mexico

1.  Coronado was a Spanish aristocrat friend of Antonio de Mendoca (who was viceroy of New Spain, i.e. the chief royal administrator) and a personal representative of King 

                    a.  Coronado financed expedition himself; he took 300 soldiers and several Christianized, acculturated Indian servants with him

b. he set up a winter camp at a Tiwa Pueblo Village--South of what is now Albuquerque. There he demanded Indians provide them with food, clothing, and women


c. Indians initially cooped, but then after a short while, they grew sick of it and refused to help any more; Coronado responded by killing 200 men- mostly by burning them alive tied to a stake  


d. Needless to say, this set off a round of fighting with other Pueblos; 10 of the 20 Tiwa villages were abandoned as a result of the fighting when the Spanish brutality put down rebellion  

2. In addition to military conquest, Coronado explored the region; he "discovered" the Grand Canyon, and he went as far as Kansas looking for the 7 cities

3. In 1542 he returned to Mexico and discovered that he had fallen out of favor; he had been accused of behaving badly on expedition. Eventually his name was cleared, but not before lost status & $

 4. The results of expeditions: provided a fairly good geography of region; realized there was no gold and that the real assets were the Indians, who could be conscripted into labor and converted to Christianity 

B. In the southeast, Hernando De Soto arrived from Havana in 1539, where he landed near Tampa Bay, Florida: 

1. De Soto was born in poverty between 1496 & 1500 in Exremadura--a province that produced lots of explorers and settlers. He went to the Americas as a teenager and participated in the conquest of the Incas from 1531-35


2. He left Peru when conquistadores started fighting among themselves and returned to Spain where the crown granted him a license to conquer La Florida


a. He arrived in Tampa Bay, Florida in 1539 


b. He set up base camp at Utiza, an Indian town near the Manatee River; used homes for storage and for residences

3. He then cut a bloody swath through northern Florida and Alabama, moving towards the Mississippi River, burning, raping, and looting Indian settlements everywhere he went

In response, Indians attacked him every step of the way, waging guerilla warfare against the Spanish the entire time they explored the southeast  

4. De Soto died in 1542 while still on his expedition, and the remaining Spainards made their way back to Spain


5. Years later, in 1565, The Spanish est. the town of St. Augustine in FL, and then built a string of missions up the east coast as far as present-day Georgia

(The English attacked these and,  in 1704, finally wiped them out.)


IV. Spanish Colonization in the Southwest


A. the Spanish model of colonization was the envy of Europe:


    1. The crown maintained tight control over colonies--established a hierarchical, centralized bureaucracy that allowed little local autonomy at the level of the town or province

a. the Crown limited the number of immigrants & had say over what kind of person could go; they wanted only the "best" citizens 
b. and they also sent priests to ensure religious orthodoxy

2. Spain had an imperial bureaucracy headed by the Council of the Indies, which made policy for the crown  


a. Spanish imperial administration was in Mexico and Spain, however, and policy was hard to enforce on the northern frontier, the land that eventually became the United States 

B. The Spanish Town; imperial settlements on the far northern frontier

1. Purpose of towns in New Spain's Northern Frontier was to colonize Spaniards--not Indians

 a. they were established  to make a buffer of Spaniards against other Europeans in the Americas

b. but there was also some interest in Christianizing the Indians, and those who came for that purpose also settled in the towns and not always the missions

                   c. towns also grew up in mining areas of Sonora (i.e. Northern Mexico)

2. Towns were laid out in a grid pattern around a plaza in accordance with the Spanish ideal of a "civilized" town {this not Spanish, per se, but came from Roman

a. Plaza anchored by church on one end and by the seat of government on the other

b. the richest people lived around the plaza

                    c. Cultivated fields - both private and common-- surrounded the town  

3. Founding of Santa Fe: 1595 Juan de Onate proposed settling the Far Northern Frontier of the Spanish empire (what is now New Mexico)

                    a. Onate was a wealthy aristocrat with a military background & good connections in both Spanish & colonial government

b. In 1598, he announced that he would finance this settlement himself;  in return he'd be governor with the hereditary title "Marquee", land for his family and himself, and land to parcel out for the town as he saw fit. 

                   c. He set out in 1598 with 129 people and lots of livestock; as he traveled up the Rio Grande River, he claimed New Mexico for Spain

d. He encountered Puebloan peoples who had lived in the area for  about 300 yrs; there were about 30- 40,000 Pueblos in about 75-80 permanent towns; Map: 

The Puebloans welcomed them at 1st  so the Spanish divided the area up into mission districts, promising protection from their enemies (more on this later)

e. Onate set up a settlement by the San Juan Pueblo (what is now Espanola, NM) but within a few months trouble broke out at Acoma Pueblo when an Indian killed one of Onate's aids

The Spanish hit back hard, capturing 500 Acoma men to have one foot chopped off and putting the rest of the Indians to hard labor

This set the policy of Spain toward "uppity Indians" for next 80 years

4. The colony of New Mexico got off to a rough start; the settlers moved several times; there was much quarrelling and dissatisfaction

a. Many settlers left and went back to Chivara & complained about Onate

                    b. He was recalled to Mexico & a new governor sent - Pedrode Veralta - in 1609

c. He moved to the colony to a new location and established Santa Fe, 1610 

d. By 1617,  Santa Fe had 48 inhabitants; Friars were important to its survival; they used Santa Fe as home base; by1620 there were  50 missionaries with 6300 neophytes living in Santa Fe