By D. H. Figueredo, Frank Argote-Freyre
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Extra resources for A Brief History of the Caribbean (Brief History)
Williams, 24). The characteristics of the conquistadores were soon clear to the Tainos: audacious, ruthless, and violent. Their professed interest in converting them to Christianity was overshadowed by their gold lust and their need for a labor force. They were capable of virtually any 23 A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CARIBBEAN Spanish conquistador aiming a harquebus, late 1500s (North Wind Archives) atrocity if it furthered their aims. To deal with the invaders, the Tainos had limited choices: They could fight or avoid the invaders by escaping into the mountains.
The 16th Century: Spain Rules By sailing into the harbors of the New World, Spain was entering into a new arena of global power. Prior to 1492, the empires that emerged in Europe and Asia were ruled from a central authority that was relatively close by. To be sure, there were natural obstacles such as mountains and rivers, but no ocean separated the rulers from the ruled until Spain appropriated the New World. It was an appropriation achieved with unprecedented speed. In 1513, 11 years after Columbus reached the Caribbean, the Spanish crossed the isthmus of Panama and reached the Pacific Ocean while Juan Ponce de León was claiming Florida for Spain.
There was a pattern to colonization: swift progress through the territories; conversion of the indigenous people to the Catholic faith, as mandated by Queen Isabella; harsh elimination of native insurrection- Tainos were forced by the Spanish to mine gold from riverbanks in the Caribbean in exchange for religious training. The training, however, was not forthcoming. (North Wind Archives) 20 TWO WORLDS IN COLLISION: THE SPANISH CONQUEST ists; and forced labor for the Tainos and Caribs. The aim of the labor was the procurement of gold and silver for the monarchs, an almost fanatic search first encouraged by Columbus, who was convinced that the islands were rich in silver and gold by early findings in Hispaniola of gold nuggests on the Ozama River (at the entrance of present day Santo Domingo).
A Brief History of the Caribbean (Brief History) by D. H. Figueredo, Frank Argote-Freyre