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Economic Bases of the Spanish Empire

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History 2501E
Luz Hernandez- Saenz

Oct, 09, 2012 Economic Bases of the Spanish Empire Indigenous Lands: -As they started building cities they depended on the land and the products produced and they also depended on what the natives were providing but the Europeans didn’t want to cross the ocean to do the same thing they could in their home countries so they avoided tilling the land and the farming was left to the natives and their methods -Many indigenous populations because of this were able to keep their land but they did not have a concept of private property and it was always a community area so when the king taxed the people they were not taxed individually but as a group (Incas allotted ayllu or land plots to groups of people to be worked) -They produced to pay their taxes and they worked the land for communal needs such as religious ceremonies or government expenses -This communal land was very important to them and this was respected by the Europeans but problems arose later when the populations grew but if the Spaniards wanted to acquire land they could go to the government and ask for a grant so the governments in the beginning began allotting religious lands which were owned by the by them because there was no other option for them -As the cities started to grow and agricultural demands increased the Spaniards got more interested in land and then the government was allowed by the king to distribute vacant areas th -Many of these lands were occupied by the natives but by the 16 century the native population was diminished because of many factors so much of the lands were open for the taking and this was called composiciones -During the first stage many people had lands but no papers of ownership and there were many legal battles -The crown preferred the Spaniards over the natives in battles but this was different in some localities for example in Northern Peru the Spanish lands grew at the expense of the natives but in Southern Mexico the natives managed to keep much of their lands for themselves because they were much more involved politically -The natives wanted the land for agriculture and the Europeans brought large animals like horses and cows and they required a lot of food and land and this changed the environment greatly with many consequences -In the beginning the Europeans thought it would be good to leave animals behind so others could use them as they came and some of these animals established themselves very well because there were not huge predators -Natives adopted some of these animals like goats and sheep but cattle did not meld with them for many reasons such as the need for horses to control cattle and there was legislation saying the natives could not ride horses The Hacienda: -These were farms that could produce grains and other agricultural products including cattle, etc and to have a farm there had to be a place to sell goods otherwise it was useless so Haciendas were established after cities -These were massive areas but we have to take into account the type of land because some did not have water for cattle so much more land was needed to provide this and they were like businesses and when they stopped making money they were sold but they were status boosts so some people held on to them but this was rare -The advantage to having these places was that you had land and this was collateral for credit Labour: Encomienda: -Provided grants of labour and the crown could give these out from the labour that was given to them in taxes -Was regulated and they could not take more than 40% of the town’s labour and in harvesting times they could use no more than 10% but this was at times not followed and sometimes labour was paid in cash -This forced the natives to come into the main stream economy and they had to produce something that was th th sellable and this started in the 16 century but was still being pushed by the 18 century -If the natives had to do this they had to get coins from somewhere so instead of being isolated they had to go and work somewhere or produce something to sell -The less they produced their own food the more they had to buy and thus they were integrated into the economy -This worked well until the end of the 16 century when the population of natives was reduced and there was no labour left to the grant holders and some people got breaks from the government if they hired people without jobs and eventually many farmers were against the Encomienda -The king didn’t want this to be a habit where the Spaniards could inherit grants (too much like nobles) Oct, 09, 2012 Repartimiento: -This is similar to Encomienda but the labourers had to be paid but there was opposition against this for the same reasons but some isolated regions saw these survive and the natives were not happy about their situation -This did last however with the mines
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