ImperialismWhat is imperialism? The extension of power over a territory, including its resources and people Or, getting permission to take over land and anyone or thing that is on it.
European ImperialismChristopher Columbus was the first explorer toreach South America and with that came theimperialism of a new world.Though he may not have directly taken over theland, it was because of his discovery that Northand South American were eventuallyimperialized.It was because of his discovery of all the richesthe land had to offer that many more explorerscame to these areas.
The Treaty of TordesillasIt was Portugal and Spain that really started theexploration of the western continents.They sent out people to find new routes to Asia.Columbus thought he discovered the sea route to Asiafor Spain, but what he really found was the Caribbean.Portugal had heard about this and felt that theydeserved a share of the riches coming from this part ofwhat they believed to be Asia.
The rulers of Spain could not come to an agreementover the trade route and goods so, in 1494, the popeurged them to sign a secret treaty.This was known as the Treaty of Tordesillas.The purpose of this treaty was to divide the New Worldbetween Spain and Portugal. Spain got the west and Portugal got the east. They followed an imaginary line.When other European countries heard about this treatythey were enraged.
England and France ignored the terms set out in thetreaty and sent their own explorers across the NorthAtlantic to find new territories.It was King Henry VII of England who sentGiovanni Caboto (John Cabot) to North America. Caboto was sent their to “subdue, occupy and possess all such towns, cities, castles...” Essentially, the king told Caboto to Imperialize whatever he discovered.The overall goal of the expansionist worldview(imperialism) was to help the countries gain powerover all territory, resources, and people that theycame across.
Taking ChargeWhat caused this imperialist attitude?It was partly a result of having an ethnocentricview towards the indigenous people they foundin this new territory.In the new area that Columbus discovered, thatthey called New Spain, the indigenous peoplewere enslaved and forced to work for theSpanishThe literally worked millions of people to deathin the silver mines and fields.
The Terrible Cost of Imperialism Two thriving civilizations were destroyed within a few years when the Spanish arrived in South America. The Inca, and Aztec empires were destroyed by the Spanish. They were forced to work, and had their culture stolen from them. More to come in the next unit.
Telling the Indigenous StoryMost of the written records of these two empireswere destroyed. The Spanish destroy their cities and monuments, and burned thousands of their ancient books.
Expansion and ImperialismEuropeans saw themselves as superior to the people ofthe Americas. This fuelled their drive for imperialism.They saw nothing wrong with what they did because,from their perspective, they needed the resources tosupport the European colonies.They also needed the land to support the colonies theyneeded because of over population.Having this attitude allowed them to ignore the rights ofthe Indigenous and First Nation peoples to theirtraditional lands.
An expansionist worldview also contributed tothe establishment of trade in African slaves. They had an ethnocentric view to the slaves as well, which made them the perfect people to do the work for Europeans.It was English merchant traders who typicallycaptured and brought African men, women,and children to the Americas.When they arrived, they were sold to plantationowners who needed labourers.