September 2010 History 102 Jess Giang
1441 ➞ first cargo of Black Africans are brought by Portuguese ships back home and sold. In 1471, they discover a new source
of Gold along the coast of West Africa and leased land from local rulers to build forts that would facilitate the trade in gold, ivory
1498 ➞ Vasco da Gama reaches Calicut believing that it is the source of the spices. Goes back home with a cargo of spices and
makes a profit of several thousand percent.
Early 1500’s ➞ Portuguese set out to take over spice trade. Takes over Malacca (and kills its Muslim pop’n) because 1) it can
block passage through the Strait of Malacca, hindering the Arab spice trade network, and 2) it can serve as a port for ships
traveling east to the Spice islands.
They then travelled to China and the Moluccas (Spice Islands), make a deal with the local sultan to buy and export cloves to
Europe, and within a few years the Portuguese gained control of the Spice Trades from Muslim Arabs & create huge profit for
Portuguese were successful mainly because of guns and seamanship; although they were not the only ones with guns, their ships
were able to maintain their distance while hitting the enemy with cannons.
Spanish conquest in the “new world”
As the Portuguese headed east across the Indian Ocean to try to reach the Spice Islands, the Spanish tried to reach the same place
by traveling west across the Atlantic.
Columbus, an Italian, convinces the Spanish Queen to sponsor his voyages, and in 1492 he reaches the Americas and Cuba. In
future voyages he travels to the Caribbean and Central America and thinking it was Asia, names it the Indies.
Fear that a war would erupt between the Spanish (who claim to find Asia through the Atlantic) and the Portuguese (who have
reached the Indies through Africa) causes the Pope (Spanish in origin) to declare that the East route around Africa (cape of good
hope) would be reserved for the Portuguese, while the path across the Atlantic Ocean would be the Spanish’s. The 1494 Treaty of
Portugal’s success is taking over Latin America is due mostly to superior weapons, diseases, organizational skills, and
Governing the empire
Spanish impose the encomienda system towards the inhabitants of America (“Indians”), where the conquerors collected tributes
from the Indians and used them as laborers, but in return the conquerors were supposed to protect the Indians and satisfy their
spiritual and material needs (in reality, they did whatever they wanted). European diseases, forced labour, and starvation
decimates the Native population from 100,000 to 300 from 14931570.
1542 encomienda system abolished, Council of the Indies set up. Each area was governed by a viceroy who served as the
King’s chief civil and military officer (ADMINISTRATIVE). The Catholic monarchs of Spain had religious authority in the
Indies ➞ converted and baptized thousands of Indians after the conquest, building churches, schools, hospitals, dioceses, and
parishes (mimicking the European society).
Portugal and Spain
Spain take over mainly because of guns (other important ones are disease). They take over much of America in this way.
Portuguese operate differently — they realize that they don’t have the power to take over large amounts of established territory
(india and china). What they want to do is establish welldefended trading posts by defeating one ruler of one area. They want
strongly defended trading posts to dominate the trading network (instead of conquering large masses of land).
Second treaty (1529) — draws second line almost identical to the first line. Drawn to deal with territorial problems between
Portugal and Spain.
The impact of European expansion
Native American civilizations, with their own social and political structures, were replaced by European institutions, religion,
language, and culture. Because of their ease in taking over the Americas, Europeans believed that their civilization was superior
➞ the beginning of its relationship with the rest of the world.