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Unit 8 Summary.docx

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HIST 2260
Norman Smith

HIST 2260*DE – Unit 8 Summary A LITTLE REVIEW :THE S TATE OFC HRISTIANITY  Prior to 1492, Christianity was not extremely successful religion that people think it is today o Embattled faith o Successes in Spain hard and long fought, and Christians, especially Catholics, cognizant of lost lands of North Africa and Middle East N ATIVE& N EWCOMER IN N EW SPAIN  Spain largely unaffected by Protestant Reformation and was centre of Catholic revival in both spiritual and aggressive sense  First Spanish settlements were in West Indies, but spread to mainland with pirate and adventurer Hernán Cortez in 1521, who defeated Aztec empire easily  Conquests spread into southern and western territories of present-day United States, and through most of South America  Spanish brought with them religion, as religion was intrinsic to sense of self, national culture - ‘ethnicity’, to use modern term  Conquest of Americas more than just quest for territory and material riches (though it was this), but was ardent pursuit of souls for salvation Organization of the Church – Early 1500s  Church’s organization was divided into two distinct branches o Bishops, appointed by Spanish Crown and approved by Pope, governed ‘secular clergy’ (priests who served under their bishops o Religious orders - groups of priests and lay people who designated as self-governing bodies under separate authority of their own superiors, and abiding by set of rules; hence often called ‘regular clergy’  These groups were international in scope, usually with their leader located at Rome, reporting directly to Pope; thus had degree of independence from local kings, such as king of Spain, and from local bishops  Secular priests prohibited from interfering with regular clergy, on penalty of ex-communication  During Mexico’s colonial era, secular clergy worked hand in hand with civil authorities, while missionary friars, members of religious orders labouring independently, tended to have greater influence over common people  In Spanish American colonies, principle orders functioning were: o Franciscans, mediaeval order founded by St. Francis of Assisi and devoted to poor o To lesser extent, Dominicans, or Order of Preachers, also founded in Middle Ages to preach o Later, Jesuits (Society of Jesus), an order founded in Spain by Ignatius Loyola  First priests in Americas were secular clergy accompanied by Franciscans, sent by king Charles V at Cortez’s request, arrived in Mexico in 1523 and 1524  By 1559 – 300 Franciscan friars at 80 missions throughout New Spain – followed by Dominicans in 1525, Augustinians in 1533, and Jesuits in 1571 o 12,000 churches built during 3 centuries of Spanish rule over Mexico  Although their chief goal was to perform sacraments and introduce Indians to fundamentals of Christian doctrine, in many respects missionary priests laid groundwork for fusion of Spanish and native cultures – won trust of native population by protecting them from excesses to which many of Spanish civilians inclined o Established schools where youngsters learned to read and write and introduced to European music and arts o Adults trained to practice agriculture and trades, learning European methods in masonry, carpentry, iron work, weaving, dying, and ceramics  Secular clergy came principally to minister to Spanish colonials, and re-created image of Spanish society in colonies, complete with dioceses headed by bishops, and local parish churches  While Mexico City being erected on ruins of old Aztec capital, with cathedral church on location of central pyramid, remainder of conquered territory gradually divvied up into grants for huge estates operated under feudal system by several hundred Spanish colonial aristocrats o Landlords supposed to look after physical, intellectual, and spiritual well-being of Amerindians – most exploited privileges without fulfilling obligations  Bartolomé de las Casas, who rose to become Bishop of Chiapas, nicknamed ‘Father of the Indians’ influenced promulgation of ‘New Laws’ of 1542, which attempted to ameliorate lot of native Americans and treat them as Christians, but Spanish crown far away and laws ignored as much as they were obeyed o Beginning of the native rights movement in Spanish America Syncretism  Melding of different religions  Since was customary for Mesoamerican cultures to adopt religion of conquering tribes, Indians not naturally inclined to resist conversion to Christianity o Certain similarities in doctrines and rituals o Human sacrifice predisposed Aztecs to readily accept concept of consuming body and blood of Christ in celebration of Holy Eucharist  Not a stretch for Indians to substitute adoration of Virgin Mary for worship of Tonantzin (mother figure)  Catholic feast days some resonance in native culture o All Souls’ Day, Nov 2 – coincides with Aztec’s autumn rituals in honour of departed ancestors, giving rise to unique Day of Dead festivities  Most significant religious event of Colonial period in terms of trying to understand degree of Christianization was apparition of Virgin Mary (1531) to newly converted Amerindian baptized with name Juan Diego o While walking across hill located just north of capital, he is said to have beheld vision of dark-skinned woman. She entreated him to go to Bishop and request that temple be built in her honour on sacred grounds where Aztecs had worshipped their mother goddess Tonantzin - origin of major Mexican Catholic cult of Virgin of Guadeloupe  Melding of traditional belief with Catholic devotion to Virgin Mary  Many Catholic theological concepts had no equivalent in native languages as ideas expressed in religion were often wholly foreign o E.g. idea of sin – human beings could have free will to violate god’s laws and be punished – incomprehensible in Aztec culture  Aztec’s believed that existence composed of cycle of creation and destruction – Christian idea that creation and destruction were opposites did not make sense to them  Natives reacted in variety of ways – some wholly converted, others pretended at conversion while continuing practice of native beliefs, some rejected new religion  Class system arose in this climate – descendants of conquistadors and later Spanish arrivals held themselves apart form others and followed purely Spanish and rigorous form of Catholicism organized around bishops and diocesan clergy N ATIVE & N EWCOMER IN N EW FRANCE  Not until 1627, when French crown took over affairs of settlement in New France, was missionary activity openly and officially promoted  Part of new charter for colony stressed that only Roman Catholics could settle there and any natives converted to Catholicism immediately acquired status of French citizens o Colony required to financially support Catholic priests  First missionaries to New France were French division of Franciscan order as in Spain, called Récollets  Peoples they were to encounter divided into many nations, but more roughly into two linguistic and cultural groups: o Hunting, fishing and gathering Algonquian (or Algonkian)-speaking peoples, living8 mostly to north of Great Lakes o Iroquoian-speaking peoples, who practiced agriculture and lived mostly to south of Great Lakes Syncretism  Religious similarities between native spiritual beliefs and Catholicism - belief in spirits and after-life and general belief in efficacy of special rituals to attain spiritual purity  Differences too - Amerindian belief that all things imbued with own spirits requiring degree of respect for material world clashed with Catholic view that this world was somehow corrupt by very nature and that purely spiritual future with God was higher calling o Led first Récollet missionaries to conclude that in order for conversion to be successful, native Americans first to become culturally European - best means to end to settle them in villages alongside Europeans, a practice followed also by Spanish Franciscans  Area of operations affected by European political situation and primary desire of Europeans for trade  Récollets moved along trading systems on rivers and lakes while NF established school designed to assimilate native children into European culture – policy became common in Canada in 1970s (residential school systems)  1625 – Jesuits asked to send missionaries as not enough Récollets to handle mission – centralized and disciplined order to use very different approach to converting native peoples in NF  1629-1632 – Quebec captured and held by English  1626 – Jesuit priest moved into Huron country, settled down to learn Huron language and ways rather than teaching them French in French ways  1632 – NF restored to France by treaty, French crown, with approval of Rome, granted mission monopoly to Jesuits o Not universally popular - Catholic Church ithFrance noted for sense of independence of Papacy as Spanish church was at this time (Gallicanism) and Jesuits swore 4 vow of obedience directly to Pope, removing them form royal control o Jesuits well-organized and wealthy, didn’t need much from colony or French government for support as did Récollets  Jesuits rebuilt organization in NF and placed mission farther inland along St. Lawrence. 1625 – opened school at Quebec for French boys, and later short-lived school for Amerindians  1639 - Sainte-Marie among the Hurons – reflected new way of thinking and reflected Jesuit flexibility – fortified settlement, containing chapel, hospital, mill, stables, barns and residences for priests and lay workers o Hurons good prospect for conversion, as were firm trading allies of French  Epidemics brought by French halved number of people in villages (Wendat) o Affected Christian missions diversely  Amerindian beliefs gave prominence to healing powers, understood illness as often likely to be result of evil intentions by opposing shamans, Jesuits in black robes suspected of being men of power who caused illness  Jesuits seemingly immune to sicknesses, accorded respect due to someone with more ‘power – able to demonstrate ‘medicine’ greater than that of traditional medicine men  Europeans gained converts through shamanistic superiority  Jesuits deployed impressive arsenal of devices to teach Christianity – music, colourful and impressive Catholic liturgy, religious medals and rosaries and use of pictures showing events in life of Christ, use of sticks painted with colours as mnemonic device to aid memorization of Catholic beliefs  French Jesuits had difficulty translation some Christian concepts into Huron where differences were so great that Hurons had no equivalent – usually involved concept of sin and redemption o Lived among them as much as possible and learned language and ways – became common in many Jesuit missions around world and based on belief that Christianity could and should be adopted to some extent to local ways, rather than forcing natives to become European before conversion – cause Society of Jesus some internal problems with hard-line Catholics  Conversion slow, although some priests received native names  Many resisted conversion, blaming epidemic on Jesuits – natives still understanding Christianity in native ways, seeing priests as forcing and hostile shamans  Amerindians didn’t understand spiritual exclusivity, being able in own culture to be both Christian and traditional at same time o Often saw Christianity not as replacement then for traditional beliefs, but as added ‘power’ in Amerindian sense – Christianity came with more tangible benefits (trade goods, improved weapons, etc.)  French had something to gain as only native peoples knew where best furs were, only native peoples coul
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