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The Europeans Come to The New World: Backgrounds to The Tempest. The Golden Hinde. Pre-Contact Native America. The Aztecs. Mayan Culture. Inca Culture. Mississippi Mound Builders. Anasazi Culture. Europe in 1519. Ortellius’ Theatre of the World. 15 th c. World Map.

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The europeans come to the new world backgrounds to the tempest l.jpg
The Europeans Come to The New World:Backgrounds to The Tempest

The Golden Hinde

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15th c. World Map

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Diary Entries from Columbus’ 1st Expedition

And later [I noticed], near the said inlet, groves of trees, the most beautiful that I saw and with their leaves as green as those of Castile in the months of April and May. (Diario, 75-7) October 14, 1492

I saw many trees very different from ours, and among them many which had branches of many kinds, and all on one trunk. And one little branch is of one kind, and another of another, and so different that it is the greatest wonder in the world. (Diario, 89) (October 16, 1492)

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Diary Entries from Columbus’ 1st Expedition

The Indians touched them and kissed their hands and feet, marveling and believing that the Spaniards came from the heavens, and so they gave them to understand. (Diario, 137)

It is true that any little thing given to them, as well as our coming, they considered great marvels; and they believed that we had come from the heavens. (Diario, 109) October 21, 1492

In these islands I have found no human monstrosities, as many expected, but on the contrary the whole population is very well formed. (i. 14) (February 1493)

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Diary Entries from Columbus’ 1st Expedition

As soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island which I found, I took by force some of them, in order that they might learn and give me information. (i.10)

I showed them swords and they took them by the edge and through ignorance cut themselves... (Diario, p. 67)

[The natives] brought us all that they had in the world and knew that the Admiral wanted; and all so bigheartedly and so happily that it was a wonder. (Diario, 255)

They should be good and intelligent servants. (Diario, 67-9) October 15, 1492

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Diary Entries from Columbus’ 1st Expedition

Here there are some big lakes and over and around them the groves are marvelous. And here and in all of the island the groves are all green and the verdure like that in April in Andalusia. And the singing of the small birds is so marvelous that it seems that a man would never want to leave this place. And [there are] flocks of parrots that obscure the sun; and birds of so many kinds and sizes, and so different from ours, that it is a marvel. (Diario, 105) October 21, 1492

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Diary Entries from Columbus’ 1st Expedition

The Admiral gave them glass beads and brass rings and bells: not because they asked for something, but because it seemed that it was right; and above all, says the Admiral, because he already considers them as Christians and as more the subjects of the sovereigns of Castile than the Castilians. And he says that nothing is lacking except to know the language and to give them orders, because everything they are ordered to do they will do without any opposition. (Diario, 259)

[I admire] the wonderful dignity of the king whose people all obey him so that it is a marvel.... All of these lords are of few words and of very attractive customs; and their commands are for the most part carried out by hand signs so soon understood that it is a marvel. (Diario, 275)

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from Columbus log-book for December 18, 1492

I saw that he [the king] was pleased with a coverlet that I had on my bed. I gave it to him and some very good amber beads that I wore on my neck, and some red shoes, and a flask of orange-flower water, with which he was so pleased that it was a marvel. And he and his tutor and counselors were very troubled because they did not understand me nor I them. Nevertheless I gathered that he had told me that if something from this place pleased me that the whole island was at my command. I sent for some beads of mine on which Your Highnesses are sculptured, and I showed it to him; and again, as yesterday, I told him how Your Highnesses commanded and ruled over all the best part of the world, and that there were no other princes as great. And I showed him the royal banners and the others bearing the cross, which he esteemed greatly. “What great lords Your Highnesses must be,” he said (speaking toward his counselors), since from so far away and from the heavens they had sent me here without fear; and many other things passed between them that I did not understand, except that I saw well that they took everything as a great wonder.” (Greenblatt, p.51)

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From Columbus’ Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage, at sea, February 15, 1493

 As I know that you will be pleased at the great victory with which Our Lord has crowned my voyage, I write this to you, from which you will learn how in thirty-three days, I passed from the Canary Islands to the Indies with the fleet which the most illustrious king and queen, our sovereigns, gave to me. And there I found very many islands filled with people innumerable, and of themall I have taken possession for their highnesses, by proclamations made and with the royal standard unfurled, and no opposition was offered to me. To the first island which I found, I gave the name San Salvador, in remembrance of the Divine Majesty, Who has marvelously bestowed all this; the Indians call it ‘Guanahini’. To the second, I gave the name Isla de Santa Maria de Concecpion; to the third, Fernandina; to the fourth Isabella; to the fifth, Isla Junta, and so to each one I gave a new name.

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from a letter to Columbus’ agent Antonio de Torres (1494) proposing trade in slaves

Having seen how necessary cattle and beasts of burden are here, for the support of the people who have to be here, and indeed for all these islands, their highnesses might give license and a permit for a sufficient number of caravels to come here every year and to carry the said cattle and other supplies and things for the colonization of the country and the development of the land, and this at reasonable prices at the cost of those who transport them. Payment for these things could be made to them in slaves, from among these cannibals, a people very savage and suitable for the purpose, and well made and of very good intelligence. We believe that they, having abandoned that inhumanity, will be better than other slaves, and their inhumanity they will immediately lose when they are out of their own land. (i. 90-2)

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from Columbus’ account of the third voyage (1498) proposing trade in slaves

At home they judge me as a governor sent to Sicily or to a city or two under settled government, and where laws can be fully maintained, without fear of all being lost. I ought to be judged as a captain who went from Spain to the Indies to conquer a people, warlike and numerous, and with customs and beliefs very different from ours, a people living in highlands and mountains, having no settled dwellings, and apart from us; where, by the will of God, I have brought under the dominion of the king and queen, our sovereigns, another world, whereby Spain, which was called poor, is now rich.” (Selected Documents, ed. Jane, ii. 66)

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Explorations of the New World proposing trade in slaves

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Cortez’ Conquest of The Aztecs (1520) proposing trade in slaves

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"Battle for Tenochtitlan."  proposing trade in slaves

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"Battle for Tenochtitlan."  proposing trade in slaves

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Pizarro’s Conquest of Peru (1530) proposing trade in slaves

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Population Decline: Epidemic proposing trade in slaves

The microorganisms associated with diseases such as smallpox, measles, whooping cough, chicken pox, and influenza had not evolved in the Americas; hence, the indigenous peoples had no immunity to these diseases when the Europeans and Africans arrived. The Indians died in droves.


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Table 2. Demographic Disaster in Mexico1519-1595

population (millions)

population (millions)

percent decrease























Cook and Simpson




Cook and Borah





Central MexicanSymbiotic Region





Valley of Mexico













128 towns




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DeSoto’s Expedition (1539-43) proposing trade in slaves

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Cabeza de Vaca’s Journey proposing trade in slaves

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Coronado’s Expedition (1540-42) proposing trade in slaves

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Silver Mine of Potosi proposing trade in slaves

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Global Production of Silver 16 proposing trade in slavesth-18th c.

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Sugar Cane Plantations proposing trade in slaves

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The Slave Trade proposing trade in slaves

European slave trade by destination

Brazil: 4,000,000 35.4% Spanish Empire: 2,500,000 22.1% British West Indies: 2,000,000 17.7% French West Indies: 1,600,00 14.1% British North America: 500,000 4.4% Dutch West Indies: 500,000 4.4% Danish West Indies: 28,000 0.2% Europe: 200,000 1.8% Total 1500-1900: 11,328,000 100.0%

Source: The Slave Trade, Hugh Thomas, 1997

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The Cimarrons proposing trade in slaves

Grandy Nanny of the Maroons

The Maroons of Jamaica

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London 1616 proposing trade in slaves

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Elizabeth I and Philip II proposing trade in slaves

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Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh proposing trade in slaves

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The Roanoke proposing trade in slavesExpedition 1585

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Landing of Negroes Jamestown, 1617

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English French and Spanish Settlements