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HIS294 October 23 - Power and Trade in the Early Modern Atlantic World

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Melanie Newton

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HIS294 – October 23, 2012 1 Power and Trade in the Early Modern Atlantic World  Recognizing that the story of colonization is not just based on the actions of the Europeans o It is also shaped by the people that they encounter o Patterns of settlement are also important o Don’t have anything to do with Europeans necessarily  To tell the stories that don't have to do/don’t start with colonization o It allows us to realize that societies have been organized differently  Histories of colonization are also histories of survival o The ultimate sotory of victimization can be seen as a story of those who survived  Acknowledgement of the history of political defeat but it is also the story of people surviving a very violent process  January 1492, The Spanish Royals lead victorious Catholic forces into Grenada, in October of that year Columbus would arrive in the Bahamas  The Mediterranean is the precursor to exploration in the Atlantic (Western Sea) o Would be the source of many of the forces that would shape what took place in the Atlantic o 1492 marks the change between the mentality of conquest  The conquered the Mediterranean and then moved forward to conquer the world (so to speak)  There is a relationship between the conquest of the Americas and the Crusades through the inter-connection of the Mediterranean world The Medieval Iberian Peninsula: Hispania and Al-Andalus  What would become Spain, was known as Hispania (think of Germany) ryled by two key families (on handout)  Hispania was not universally Christian and Christianity itself was not unified, there were many different kinds and they were scattered  The Roman Catholic Church was a powerful over Europe but they didn't exercise the authority that we will come to associate with the church in the modern period o Didn't define Christian worship  It was unlikely that people in Iberia (Spain and Portugal) thought of themselves as Christian o Land created more of a boundary than the ocean and therefore people were more connected through coasts than through land masses  Islam was a new revolutionary and dynamic religious and political force  There were local Islamic societies but they were connected to Islamic centres o Encouraged centralization and urban development o There was an extremely diverse set of religious practices that were related to each other but very localized to their communities o It developed differently in the local regions and they were all connected through their central texts  The Iberian peninsula was 'conquered' by Islam in the 8th century  The peninsula was unified as a state for the first time by Islam o They were centralized by the Moors o The only part of Hispania that didn't fall to the Moors were the very north of the country  The Moors were a combination of those from Syria and Northern Africa HIS294 – October 23, 2012 2  Syria was the seat of power of the Muslim state system Al-Andalus, c8 - c10, key dates and terms  10th century there was a move from the center in Syria to the centre in Bagdad and Al- Andalus became independent o Al-Andalus can be considered colonized because there was a centralized system that ran Al-Andalus that wasn't in Al-Andalus  This model of government (copied from Islam) would be copied in Spain and therefore the New World  Al-Andalus was no longer defined by a tie to Syria and became defined by the trade it had in the Mediterranean  There was a balance between the three religions: Islam, Christians, Jews o Based on the understanding that these are three separate religions but they are related and shared a history to a certain degree  People could keep their religion even if they were conquered as long as they were one of these three religions  There was a conversion of a lot of the upper-class Spanish to Islam and they were termed 'almost Arabs'  Jews were also allowed to practice their religion and many came to hold important positions in the Muslim world  There is a clear sense of difference in AlAndalus, it wasn't racial but ethnic, cultural and social as well as hierarchy o There were also distinctions between their phynotipic differences that people used as identification  These distinct differences between the people of the book that sometimes lead to violence  Marriage was also seen as something that was contained between the religious societies  These undertones of distinction are the basis of what will later be racial prejudice in the Caribbean  Notion of people of the book creates a clear sense that people who don't belong to the 'okay' religions don't deserve tolerance because they are practicing a lesser religion The Christianization of Spain, 722 - 1492  Christianity had been a thing of the elite but in the face of Islam it would become the religion of militarized expansion, especially in the northern regions  There was a reconquest of Spain, by the Christians who had fled north in the face of the Moors o Not a real reconquest because Hispania wasn't the way that they labelled it before the Moors came in  It's a conflict for land and power by two effectively new societies  There emerged a war against the diversity of religious practices that had dominated Europe before hand o There is a new emphasis on centralizing Christianity in opposition to the fluidity of the people of the book  893 is the first use of the concept of Christendom, it doesn’t exist before that  1139, the conquest of Portugal completed by 1249  There were now Christian kingdoms who were conquering territory at the expense of Al- Andalus  Castles were used to mark/defend territory HIS294 – October 23, 2012 3  Castille and Aragon were the acknowledged leaders of the Christian conquest of Spain  There were independent ruled city states that were rulled by Moors and they, one by one fell the Christian conquest o 1248, Grenada was the only territory left of Muslim Spain  During the conquest, they took over a lot of the policies that the Moors had had o Adopted many forms of administration and government as a way of consolidating their power  1469, the marriage of Ferdenand and Isabella united the Christian conquest of the Iberian peninsula  There was an increased emphasis on centralization of power, the Castillian Book of Laws was created o Authorized in the 13th century o Would be the legal code of the Spanish colonies until the 19th century o Implemented everywhere until the independence movements of the 19th century  It legalized and regularized slavery o This was the code that would be just
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