European colonizations

   1. Colonial empires

   During the XVI century, Spain and Portugal constituted their colonial empires, but in the XVII century rising colonial powers were Holland, England and France, a situation which was favoured by the loss of the Invincible Armada.

   The Dutch empire covered: in Asia, Sonda’s islands (Sumatra, Java and Borneo), the Cape of Good Hope and Ceilan, and in South America the Dutch Guiana.

   English were settled in India and in the Atlantic area of North America.

   French were placed in India, Canada, Louisiana (EEUU) and Senegal.

   Between English and French took place a rivalry in certain areas:

   - INDIA. Confrontation between French and English. At first, France subdued may Indian princes and extender its control over huge areas between the bays of Oman and Bengal. The French Lally Tollendal was defeated by the English Clive. In the Paris Peace, French possessions were reduced to five cities, while the rest of them passed to English hands.

   - NORTH AMERICA. French were settled in Canada and Louisiana, while English were settled in thirteen colonies in the Atlantic coast of North America. The fight started to be favourable to England when French General Moncalm was defeated by Englishman Wolf and had to capitulate in Montreal. English became the main power in the colonies.


   2. Answer if the following facts are about India or North America:

Between the bays of Oman and Bengal

Atlantic coast colonies

Canada and Louisiana

Lally Tollendal was defeated

Englishman Clive

Englishman Wolf

General Montcalm

Paris Peace






    3. The Spanish empire in the XVIII century

   In that century, the Spanish empire extended itself across North America (Mexico, California, Texas and Florida), Central America, South America (with the exception of Brasil and Dutch Guiana) and some islands of Australasia (Marquesas, Solomon, Marshall, Mariana, Molucas and Philippines islands). In the Treaty of Paris (1763) the region of Florida was given to England, and Louisiana was received from France.

   - SOCIAL CLASSES. According to Humbolt, at the end of the XVIII century there were in the Spanish America over 17 millions of inhabitants, shared out in Indians (45%), whites (19%), mestizos (32%) and blacks (4%). Social classes were:

   +Upper classes, as peninsular Spaniards and wealthy creoles (Americans born from Spanish parents). They had greay riches and held public positions.

   + Middle classes, like the common creoles and mestizos (sons of Spaniards and Indians). They were craftsmen, shopkeepers, civil servants or overseer of the mines.

   + Lower classes, like Indians, half-breed (children from white and black people), free slaves and Spanish fortune hunters. They worked as peasants in the mines, the crops or the factories.

   + Black slaves, with a painful situation. Although they were helped by missionaries, the forerunners of anti-slaves theories, they worked hard in mines and crops of sugar cane.

   - ECONOMY.

   + Agriculture. Before the Spanish arrival, the main crop in Mexico and Peru was corn. Later, ploughs and draft animals started to be used. There were new crops: wheat, sugar cane and coffee, the current basis for American agriculture.

   + Ranching. Before the conquest there was not ranching. Spaniards carried with them horses, cows, sheeps, pigs and rams.

   + Mining. They made use of the mines of silver (Peru and Mexico), gold (Colombia), mercury (Huencavelica), platinum (Colombia) and mines of copper, lead, tin and cinc. Also, they started new ways of explotation, like the amalgamation procedure, invented by Bartolome Medina for silver treatment.

   + Industry. In pre-Columbian clothes and potteries were made. Later, shipyards in México, Peru and Cuba were built, and Peru developed clothes and metal craftwork industry. (See picture).

   - ADMINISTRATION. There were three levels:

   + Central. The organisms placed in Spain were the Council of the Indies and the Contracting House.

   + Territorial. Viceroys, governors, field marshals and hearing officers.

   + Local. Villages were of two types: the Spanish ones, ruled by the corregidor or mayor, and the Indian villages, whose authority is held by a local overlord, supervised by a Spanish corregidor and a priest, engaged in religious duties.


    4. Write if the following events are about social classes, economy or administration:

They started to work with ploughs

There were creoles, mestizos, half-breed and mulattos

The Contracting House was in Spain

There were black slaves

The amalgamation procedure of silver

There were Indian villages

Mestizos are sons of Indians and Spaniards

They carried horses, cows and sheeps with them

A Spanish corregidor and a priest



     5. The United States Independence.

   English had thirteen colonies in Norh America, and they imposed a series of taxes which caused a rebellion between the American settlers. They proclaimed the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America (1776)during the II Continental Congress of Philadelphia.

   The American army was leaded by George Washington and defeated the English army in the battle of Saratoga. At last, in the Treaty of Versalles (1783) England recognized EE. UU independence.

   They must cope two problems: an economical one, because they suffered a deep crisis wich forced them to took loans to France, Spain and Holland; and a political one, because some states were federalists but most of them wanted to be independents. At the end of 1887, in a meeting in Philadelpia a federal constitution was written, and Washington was elected as president. (Ver gráfico).


    6. Are the following events true or false?:

England had fifteen colonies

The Declaration of Independence was in 1787

Americans were against taxes

George Washington defeated the English army

The English triumphed in Saratoga

The Treaty of Versalles happened in 1783

There was an economic crisis

The Constitution was written in 1783



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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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