Struggle & Survival in Colonial America


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Struggle & Survival in Colonial America

  1. 1. By DJ Heston
  2. 2.  Antonio de Gouveia was a Portuguese American priest who lived during the 16th century. Gouveia was born in 1528 and went to Lisbon at age twenty, where he was ordained to the holy priesthood. In 1553 he sailed to Italy to study theology and medicine and turned to medicine for income when he became shipwrecked on his return home. He was received into the order of the Jesuits in 1555 but walked out the following year. Gouveia was arrested and charged with superstition, divination, witchcraft, and commerce with the Devil, a judgment that lasted four years. After spending a decade in and out of Inquisition jails, Gouveia was deported to Brazil for two years.
  3. 3.  At age thirty-nine Gouveia arrived in Salvador where he was embraced by governor-general Mem de Sa, and ordered to preach and celebrate Mass. Gouveia later left north for the opulent captaincy of Pernambuco. Gouveia squabbled with the Jesuits in Pernambuco due to their beliefs as defenders of the Indians against the settlers. His behavior was notoriously reprehensible, such as shackling and beating the hosts of friendly Indian villages he encountered. Gouveia was eventually arrested and returned to Portugal in 1571. Gouveia lived an adventurous life due to his resistance to conformity and the unparalleled changes that occurred during the Age of Discovery.
  4. 4.  Catarina de Montay Sinay was a Portuguese American nun and entrepreneur who lived in Bahia in Brazil during the 17th and 18th century. Bahia had been the world’s leading producer of sugar but competition from the islands of the Caribbean drove down prices and jeopardized Bahia’s economy. In 1696 she entered the Desterro Convent of Bahia which was the only one in Brazil. She was familiar with the life as a nun having lived in the nunnery six years as a pupil. Catarina looked up to fellow nun, Madre Victoria de Encarnacao, who shared a similar background and found satisfaction in self-denigration. Catarina’s life as a nun gave her great contentment; it gave her companionship with her sisters, allowed her time for solitude, and gave her life purpose and a sense of mission.
  5. 5.  Catarina’s first income was from money she placed on a loan, although many of her loans were never repaid. She owned five substantial residences which garnered a considerable amount of income compared to the other religious. The business of preparing and selling sweets kept Catarina most occupied. She maintained six male and six female slaves for the preparation and sale of sweets. During the end of her life Catarina spend enormous sums of money on the chapel and requested to the archbishop that her sisters live in comfort after her death. All of Catarina’s business affairs had been carried out without permission of the archbishop and were in direct violation of church law. Would, in the end, Catarina be rewarded with salvation after her contributions to the church intermingled with her business dealings?
  6. 6.  Diego Vasicuio was a Spanish American native priest who lived during the 17th century in Salamanca, Peru. He was the chief priest of his cult and practiced preconquest religious beliefs, worshiping the god Sorimana. They also worshiped with a sacred stone called a guaca which bore the image of Sorimana. The Spanish had a difficult time converting Indians to Catholics during the time period. The Native Americans were required to abide by the mita system, or forced labor, which was unfair and brutal. Diego realized he could live a better life away from Salamanca, but he could not leave his family and the comfort of the cave where they held their ceremonies.
  7. 7.  In 1671 Diego, at the age of 90, was ordered to appear before the parish priest to answer charges of heresy. Father de Prado demanded the guaca and ordered his men to search for more. His men returned with twenty guacas, none of which were probably the true guaca that had been passed down for generations. Diego and others guilty of heresy agreed to praise the true God and denounce Sorimana. Diego and his followers laid low but eventually resumed their secret ceremonies. His rituals, religion and god survived due to his ability to survive through adaptation.
  8. 8.  A mulatta and Spanish American, Beatriz de Padilla was a mother and a mistress who lived during the mid 17th century in Lagos, Mexico. Beatriz was a descendant of one of the best families in Guadalajara, unmarried and had four children. She was charged with having caused dreadful and mysterious things to her two lovers and put on trial. One was a priest who had died, Diego Ortiz, and the other was the lord mayor of Juchipila, don Diego de las Marinas. At the time of her arrest she was the housekeeper and mistress to the de las Marinas. During her testimony she pointed out the folks back home were jealous that her lovers were important men.
  9. 9.  When the family of Ortiz found out the estate would go to Beatriz and her illegitimate son, they plotted a conspiracy against her. Having a colored mistress of low social standing was common, but making her heir to one’s estate was unheard of. After the testimony Beatriz was acquitted and allowed to return home. Beatriz had the freedom of movement in her favor which other white women did not. The women of color in New Spain played a fundamental role in Mexican society. The mixed raced women who fought for their children’s freedom plays a large role in the diversity of races in America today.
  10. 10.  Born in Mexico city in the middle of the 16th century, Miguel Hernandez was a second generation Mexican and a free mulatto. Miguel’s history can be traced by his frequent visits to notaries in town and his original signature. His signature implies he was literate which placed him in a select group for the time period. Most mulattos lived for the service of others and on the edge of the law. Miguel’s main work was that of a muleteer where he developed relationships with people of wealth. Eager to avoid the politics of Mexico City, Miguel left for the town of Queretaro.
  11. 11.  After moving to Queretaro Miguel began building his own freighting business. In 1600 ranchers sold maize, wheat and mutton which transformed Queretaro into a transportation center requiring freighters. By 1604 he owned twenty mules, which was worth the same as a wheat farm or several thousand acres of grazing land. The facts imply Miguel was aggressive, but never over expanded or overextended his credit. Miguel also profited from property he bought and sold. Many of Miguel’s relationships crossed racial and social boundaries and his life exemplifies his dedication to succeed in the face of difficult circumstances.
  12. 12.  Enrico Martinez was a Spanish American in his 30’s who arrived in Veracruz, Mexico from Seville in 1589. His European travels and scientific knowledge helped him establish himself in Mexico City. Enrico grew up in a community of printers and traveled to Northern Europe to learn astronomy, astrology, physics, and mathematics as well as German. In 1598 he was able to obtain a confiscated press to compliment his stock of printing equipment and published his first book a year later. The colonial scientists of 17th century New Spain acceptance of new ideas lagged behind that of Northern Europe which can be displayed in Enrico’s own book – the Reportorio.
  13. 13.  In 1607 Enrico halted his career as a printer to address flooding of Mexico City by Lake Texcoco. The decision was made to end reliance on dykes and small canals and build a large canal or desague. At the time, the conception and initial completion of the desague was a tremendous achievement. In 1623 the desague became blocked and deemed a fiasco and was not put into working order until 1900. After the worst flooding in the colony’s history, Enrico’s proposals were largely ignored. Enrico’s shortcomings in all aspects of his career were due not only to his ineptness, but also to the political and social structure of the colony.