POL305Y1 Lecture Notes - Upper Class, Repartimiento, Astex

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14 Dec 2012
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PROFS #: 416 946 0186
Conquest and Colonial Rule
1. Pre-Colonial Society and Power Structures
2. Conquest
3. Colonial Society
“I came to get the gold, not till the soil like a peasant-- Hernan Cortes, conqueror of Mexico, 16th
century
- Abhorrence of people who work with hands = low wage
- Lack of concern and sympathy for lower class
- Illustrates motivation for conquest- wealth
1. PreColonial Society and Power Structure
- Astex, Mias and Incas (3 Precolonial civilizations)
- Early history written by westeners so have a biased
Maya
Location: Southern Mexico and Guatemala
- Had independent city state with pop of 200,000 or more
- Organization: top down and authoritarian (King and nobel on top and slaves on the bottom )
- Known for invention of calendars (maya calendar end dec this year), scientific accomplisments
- Classic mayan society collapsed and invaded by Toltecs
- Direct decendant of mayan survived
- Toltecs had a lot of agriculture and exhausted the land and couldnt sustain themselves
Aztex
Location: Mexico central valley
- Came from north and forced toltecs into mayan territory
- Known for aztex’s military prowess and in constant warefare with neighbour
- Tenochtitlan in 1325 on site of contemporary mexico city
- Organization: Was very rigidly stratified (top= heriditary nobility and bottom= slaves),
centralized power (based on force and coercion)
INCAS
Location: Andes of South America
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- Tawantinsuyo: the 4 united districts o the Inca Empire
1) Remembered as legitimate nation state and had republican state thrown ontop of them
2) 1) KKollasuyo (present Bolivia)
3) Felipp quispe is Coya and living as institutional terrorism
- Known for empire building (vast territories that they wer able to conqur and administer large
areas by defeating neighbouring groups and invite nobels from defeated gr to get their co
operation)
- Would move groups around if they were rebellious surrounding them by loyals
- Inca: semigod descendant of the sun god Inti
- Power centralized in empire with Inca ontop (one supreme ruler at top)
- Organization: highly centralized bureaucracy, very totalitarian
- Able to irradicate hunger and made sure basic needs met for empire
Decentralized Societies
- Location: Hunter gathered society, nomatic nature, groups in Amazonian rainforests, Mapuche
people of S.Chile
- Organization: horizontal based on kinship groups
- Mapuche are known for successful resistance against Spanish colonization
1) 1641: treaty b/t Spain and Mapuche recognizing border-- Biobio river
II. Conquest
- Between 30-70 million native people prior to conquest in the Americas
- At least 30 million in Mexico alone
- How could a handful of European soldiers conquer an empire like 30-70 million?
1) Had latest military technology : steel swords, body armour, guns, canons, horses
2) The Spaniards and Portguese had honed their fighting and tacticle skills in the
reconquest of Iberia (professional soldiers)
3) Indigenous people saw the Spaniards as Gods or Demigods and were relunctant to
destroy them initially
4) Spaniards captured or killed the indigenous nobility and took over the vertical power
structure from ontop
5) Disease (e.g. small pox) was a big killer debilitated a lot of Indigenous population ~35
million died in conquest
6) Spaniards obtained allies among competing native groups (divide and conquer strategy)
Malinche: A nahua (Aztec) woman enslaved by Mayas and presented to Cortes
She became interpreter (Maya + Nahuatl) and consultant
7) The 3 major civilizations had become sedentary based on agriculture
Spain came and admonished proclamations
Why does it matter today?
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