Struggle & Survival Teach


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Struggle & Survival Teach

  1. 1.  The text Struggle & Survival taught me about these individuals and how they struggled and survived through the obstacles they faced in everyday life. Not only did some of them face obstacles of slavery, others faced obstacles with God and religion, the occult and witchcraft, making a pact with the Devil, exerting themselves as prominent persons of society – although they were not white, but rather mulattos, and getting rights for other mulattos and other races.  It was a very different time, a time when one could either sell you into slavery or kidnap you into slavery. It was very difficult for these people to accept this type of destiny and all of them resisted against it in one way or another.
  2. 2.  It was not an easy life, nor was it a fair life for many. It was constantly filled with torment and despair. It did not matter what position this person held in society – what mattered most to society was the individual’s skin color and where society believed this persons place was.  Although many of these people did prevail and accomplish what they set out to do, it was not easy, nor was it always successful. In many cases these people had to make many attempts before becoming successful in their endeavors.
  3. 3.  It was a difficult time to live in, mainly because not everyone had the same rights in society as they do today. For many of these people going through hard times has more impact in meaning then than it does today. That is not to mean that people have it easy today, but we do have it easier. We have it easier today because of the people featured in the text Struggle & Survival and what they had to endure to bring about fairness and equality for us today.
  4. 4. Diego Vasicuio  It is unsure how to correctly spell Diego Vasicuio’s last name, however, since he was a quiet man, he really would not have minded or taken it personally. Evidence proves that when Diego was denounced to the parish priest, by his neighbor, he was the leader to a group of Indians. Diego was entrusted with a stone image of the god Sorimana, by his grandparents who had also taught him how to “recite the proper prayers and perform the specific ceremonies of his cult.” Unfortunately, due to Diego’s carelessness, he recited these prayers to Indian women who were later accused of witchcraft and he was called as a witness to testify. Diego was well into his nineties when he appeared before Father de Prado “to answer to charges of hearsay.”
  5. 5.  The ceremonies, in Father de Prado’s opinion were more offensive themselves – it did not matter this was a formula that followed a religious rite. Horrified, Father de Prado, learned of the Sorimana cult rituals engulfed enwrapped every single aspect of “the venerated union of god, physical representation, and holy ground;” led by Diego. Preparation for rituals consisted of Diego carefully bathing the stone god and speaking private prayers, and then the ritual would commence. It was simple really, Diego convinced the Indians this god would provide them with all the corn they needed.
  6. 6. Martin Ocelotl  It is possible that as early as 1508, Spanish ships were spotted by natives off the eastern coast of Mexico. Ocelotl was among the soothsayers imprisoned during the years of 1518 and 1519, during Hernan Cortes’ reign. Ocelotl was a religious prodigy who made predictions about bearded white men. Ocelotl was born in 1496, and very possibly born from a family of important priests or priestesses.  His mother enjoyed the people believing she was a sorceress and more effective than her son. His father was a merchant and the family lived in Chinata. In Chinata, Ocelotl was a major priest. He went to tell Moctezuma about certain signs, seen by him, with the nine other native ministers he accompanied. It did not go well and Ocelotl was punished by being imprisoned for one year and twelve days. Moctezuma was killed and Tenochtitlan fell in 1521, but this was after Ocelotl was ordered for release. Destruction was all around and the epidemic of smallpox threatened to rear its ugly head, but Ocelotl was lucky to survive unscathed.
  7. 7. Ocelotl was successful and  Ocelotl was a good businessman  accumulated land, jewels, and due to the teachings of his father gold that he would give away to and developed adaptability that those in need – a Robin Hood was remarkable. The conquest sort of gesture. Martin was did have repercussions and many coerced into a church marriage priests died or were killed in the in 1533 by Friar Antonio de epidemics. We really do not Ciudad Rodrigo. During the ceremony, Martin was forced to know anything of the survivors. renounce his ancient faith and The devil was quickly found by his “evil lifestyle,” and to abide Christian missionaries in their by the Christian faith and course of righteousness and church. labeled and accused the Mexica religious rites as “witchcraft.” Ocelotl was confronted in the  Ocelotl was baptized in 1525 in fall of 1536 regarding rumors Tetzcoco and christened with the about him being a wizard, Spanish name Martin. He was immortal, and able to change his age and nature. Several twenty-nine and set in his beliefs, witnesses were brought up so to say he completely against him and they discussed converted would be untrue. “secret meeting” Ocelotl held in his cellar.
  8. 8. Ocelotl denied the charges and he was appointed an attorney in order to present a formal accusation. Many of the testimonies regarding Ocelotl and his alleged “wizardry” were believed and he was sentenced on February 10, 1537 to public humiliation by being ridden on a mule through the streets to marketplaces accompanied by a crier who proclaimed in both Spanish and Nahuatl the charges against Ocelotl.  Martin’s freedom was taken away – he was sent off on a ship and his estate was auctioned off. It is possible this was done to hide the true extent of Martin’s assets and that he may have fallen victim to priestly competitors or debtors. Ocelotl's estate was vast and plentiful and it is unknown as to what his business activities really were. Mystery lies as to what really what happened to him because he and the ship somehow were lost at sea.
  9. 9. Juan de Morga Juan de Morga was young mulatto slaves. In the 17th century they lived in central Mexico.  Documents reveal they struggled to survive and experienced extremely hard times in the colonial labor system. They were two key factors in society – silver mines and sugar plantations. The slave life they lived was a crucial part of their story and factor of production. In 1650, Morga wrote a letter confessing he had made a pact with the Devil – the worst of his horrible sins. He further stated that God would need to cleanse all of his sins before he would believe in God, Mass was not attended by him, and he was a blasphemer. He would also renounce his faith if the authorities tried to return him to his master. Later that year he was returned to the capital city and was able to tell his pathetic story to officials of society. In 1627, Morga was born a slave in  the city Oaxaca, the son of a priest. It appears the only other information about his life is he has no brothers or sisters, only a paternal grandmother and an uncle. He did learn to read, write, and work figures, unlike other slaves. Morga passed himself off as a free man once he was home again. He did get his freedom for a short time, but was once again put into chains and escorted back to Oaxaca, his home. Back with his master, Morga was told he would be forgiven of his past crimes and not be “flogged,” but sent to someone else instead.
  10. 10.  Morga was severely beaten and tortured by his master for months at a time. He was branded and when the bandages were removed his master did not feel the branded letters were large enough and had ordered for the letters to be re-carved into Morga’s head. After some time passed, Morga escaped to the owners’ house and begged to be sold to someone else. This man thought it best to put Morga in jail but his master found out and used a priest to pretend to purchase Morga for himself, and instead brought Morga back to his master where he was beaten so badly, it took months to recover. One time while Morga was working his master attacked him without cause and flogged him so badly that strips of flesh had been ripped from Morga’s body. Morga wrote to the mayor about his situation and his master threatened Morga. It worked and Arratia then used his money to buy off the officials. It became so bad, that Morga called upon the Devil for help. An Indian took pity on him and said he knew of an herb that would prevent further harm from Arratia, and the only thing Morga needed to do was serve the Devil on a permanent basis. He of course agreed and Arratia’s attitude toward him (Morga) was very different. Arratia ordered two suits for Morga and talked to him in a kind and gentle manner. Morga was finally sold to Mateo Dias de la Madrid by accident. Morga was in jail and Arratia sent men to collect Morga, but they could not. It is unknown if this new master kept Morga as a slave or if he was finally granted freedom.
  11. 11. Antonio de Gouveia few. Gouveia was born nine years before Martin Luther and was a very curious man. In 1549, when the Portuguese Jesuits reached Brazil and Japan, Gouveia was in his prime. Gouveia was born in 1958 to a family of Old Christians in Terceira. At about twenty-two years of age Gouveia went to Lisbon and was made a subdeacon, deacon, and then ordained to the holy priesthood in the chapel of Saint Anne, after about two years while in Lisbon. Gouveia stated under oath in 1557 that “he studied Latin and rhetoric at the University of  Antonio de Gouveia was a deceptively charming Coimbra,” without specifying the man who moved about the Atlantic world freely. year. It is assumed he must have He was “an Azorean priest of obscure origins.” studied sometime before he set He knew how to get in with the rich and feed off sail in 1553 for Italy for further their eccentric personalities. He knew astrology, education. read fortunes, and practiced medicine, just to name a
  12. 12.  Disaster struck and Gouveia was shipwrecked. All possessions were lost and he resorted to practicing medicine in order to get back home. This was considered forbidden by the law of the Church as a profession for priests. He proved his abilities for curing the sick with his vast knowledge of herbs. A man with a cough was cured by him. A woman was sick and declined Gouveia’s services, he then predicted her death, and ironically, she died. He was later arrested and accused of superstition, “of having made of pact with the Devil.” Since Castilian documentation is absent, Gouveia’s testimony must be relied on. He made himself invisible in order to steal from a table of Castilian men. He boasted that he had the power to make people “lose their heads.” Although he appealed the sentence, the sentence was upheld. He applied for membership in the new Society of Jesus, once he was back home. The Jesuits may or may not have known what kind of character Gouveia was. The Jesuit experience did not please him and no one knows why. Gouveia’s magic was brought before the people. A hearing followed. He admitted “dereliction and accused himself of having celebrated Mass without reciting them beforehand.” Gouveia ended up in a Lisbon jail. He later disappears from the history books.
  13. 13. Catarina de Monte Sinay  Catarina de Monte Sinay loved the life she lived in the nunnery. It did not hold many surprises, but she was devoted and took her pledge as the “bride of Christ” very seriously. She felt the nunnery was a reward to the people of Bahia from the king. Bahia did much trade with Europe and Africa. Some items among trade were, fabrics, furniture, and tools. Catarina was successful in spreading the word of the church and helping those in need. She was extremely devote and wanted to make the world a better place. She was successful in her goals and felt rewarded by helping the people.
  14. 14.  Death approached Catarina and she had a will put together so that the few possessions she had would be put to good use. Her biggest asset was an endowment from her father that grew over a period of over half a century from working. It became a rather large sum and aside from this money, Catarina really did not have anything else. Even with this money she lived in the nunnery with as few amenities as possible. She was a very simple woman who did not need the finer things in life or material objects to make herself happy or complete.
  15. 15. Cristobal Bequer  In 1753, a letter was sent out stating the body of Cristobal Bequer was “laid out funeral beir, garbed in the vestments of a priest, with lights on the sides, ready to be buried in said convent.” He was a member of the cathedral chapter who was entitled to a proper church burial. It is documented that Cristobal’s background had arguments with the Church. It is a curious thing as to why and how Cristobal’s decision came about when he embraced life in the Church.
  16. 16.  The cathedral chapter accepted Cristobal in January 1739, back in Lima. The chapter was a key part in the secular church organization and had a very important role in everyday life and society. It also appears that his past had been either forgotten or forgiven, but it is also very possible the past was well hidden. That did not last long and he was not granted any extra duties from the meetings. Cristobal’s past did resurface and he attacked a man by hitting him in the head with keys and producing an obscene amount of blood. Luckily, the man survived, but he demanded a formal inquiry into Cristobal. Unfortunately, Cristobal’s behavior only worsened. Cristobal was sentenced for his crimes and was about to be imprisoned when he slipped away. In the end, Cristobal was confined in a Franciscan monastery in his last few months, he did avoid prosecution.
  17. 17. Thomas Peters  The struggle for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” was not made up of just white colonists, as many historians portray between 1776 and 1783 against England. It was also comprised of blacks and Native Americans. Thomas Peters was a remarkable freedom fighter whose memory has been lost among historians. When Peters was twenty- two years old, was a member of the Egba branch of the Yoruba tribe; now Nigeria. Peters was kidnapped in 1760 by African slave traders, which most likely resembled other Africans descriptions about their capture to the coast. Peters was kept aboard the French slave ship, Henri Quatre, by the captain. Brutality was as common as the slaves themselves and torturing was as common as selling slaves.
  18. 18.  It was not until French Louisiana, when Peters saw land again, the Henri Quatre made port. Shortly after making port, and since Peters had been deprived of his natural rights, he started his own revolution in America. Slavery was something Peters never adapted to and he made attempts to escape. Peters paid a very high price for his escape attempts by “unsuccessful black rebels: first he was whipped severely, then he was branded, and finally he was obliged to walk about in heavy ankle shackles.” No matter what Peters’ French master did, Peters fire for freedom could not be removed. His Louisiana master sold Peters sometime after 1760 to an Englishman. Peters was sold again about ten years later to a Scotsman. Peters lived to the age of fifty-four and thirty- two of them was a constant personal struggle for him because of his fight for survival and freedom.
  19. 19. Miguel Hernandez Miguel Hernandez lived in the sixteenth  century in Mexico, it was a full life. He was a free mulatto man, married, and with a family. As an educated man, he became a prominent figure in the community and fortunately found love and success in an era that had social and racial prejudice increasing towards people like Miguel. Miguel accomplished a rewarding life and was a rather lucky man. Although there were moments when racial tendencies among the people were negative, Miguel is an important man to know. He is someone of history that took the bad around him and made a rich and rewarding life. The knowledge and literacy Miguel had of the Spanish legal ways guided him to visit the notaries’ offices in town on many occasions. He would write contracts and wills, and most importantly, his signature was severely embellished in order to prevent confusion with another Miguel Hernandez that may arrive in town. He wanted to ensure his signature stood out from the others without any question as to which contracts he signed.
  20. 20.  Mulattos were considered dangerous because they lived outside the law – on the edge. They were considered to be guilty of committing “assault, rape, drunkenness, and theft.” The law tried to enforce strict legislation toward mulattos and in 1597, they were ordered to “leave the Indian areas because of their corrupting influence.” The magistrate then ordered blacks and mulattos “to perform services for Spaniards” in 1623.  Intimidation was a tactic used by the magistrate to inflict power over the blacks and mulattos. The magistrate used their power and took advantage of those of color and mixed raced who tried to become successful business persons. The magistrate was successful because those of mixed race and blacks did not have powerful or influential friends to help or prevent the injustices happening to them. Miguel was smart enough to keep himself out of the traps set-up by the magistrate. He also assisted in getting the blacks and mulattos back into society. Miguel was a man that crossed many boundaries – social and racial because of his relationships. He had ties with all different kinds of people and he did not care what anyone thought of that. He wanted to do the right thing and by helping those who were less fortunate due to race or social status. His life was not one that was easily put into only one category – he fit into many different levels, but that did not mean others favored this.
  21. 21. Rachael Pringle-Polgreen  Rachael Pringle-Polgreen was a tavern keeper. This was a main lifestyle for a freed woman. It was a stable way of life and it also brought in steady income. Freed women were also able to profit by sexual relationships with whites. In the late 1770s Polgreen became the first, or at least the earliest “freed women to own a hotel-tavern.” Polgreen was born some time around 1753. Her father, a Scottish schoolmaster named William Lauder and her mother, was an African woman William purchased not long after 1750.
  22. 22.  Polgreen was a beautiful girl and unfortunately, she was awakened by her father’s attempts to tarnish her chastity. Fortunately, William was unsuccessful during these attempts. William was angered that Polgreen did not succumb to his advances and ordered his daughter to be punished by whipping. It is said that a British naval officer saw Polgreen being prepared for the whipping and came to her rescue. She was not even eighteen at the time when she married her night in shining armor, Thomas Pringle.  When Polgreen was in her twenties she opened her tavern and hotel sometime in the 1770s. She named the hotel after the Prince William Henry after a visit by the now king. He visited a few times and it was a legendary episode. The hotel was completely demolished in a drunken spree. When the prince left he knocked Polgreen from her chair causing onlookers to laugh in an uproar. Polgreen did not show any emotion, she did however, sent the prince a bill for “700 pounds sterling in damages,” the prince paid the bill and this allowed Polgreen to rebuild her hotel.