It’s about to ask Why did the Spanish Empire turn to the enslavement of indigenous people? Among the many things that might have led them to consider enslaving indigenous people, which factor played the most-important role? Using de Vaca’s description of his encounter with Spanish officials in 1536, assess how Spanish officials approached the question of slavery and what shaped their decision-making process.
First Paper Assignment
Why did the Spanish Empire turn to the enslavement of indigenous people? Among the many things
that might have led them to consider enslaving indigenous people, which factor played the mostimportant role? Using de Vaca’s description of his encounter with Spanish officials in 1536, assess
how Spanish officials approached the question of slavery and what shaped their decision-making
Minimum 1000 words (4-5 Pages double-spaced)
Five paragraphs: Introduction with clear thesis, then three body paragraphs that develop the
thesis in three different ways, then conclusion that explains the importance of your claim.
Must be uploaded by 5 p.m. Friday, October 18
How to answer:
1) Re-read Chapter 9 of A Land So Strange.
2) Read the brief excerpt below from the Bandelier 1905 translation of La Relación de Nuñez
Cabeza de Vaca, de Vaca’s published account of his journeys. This section is from de Vaca’s
encounter with Spanish settlers and officials in April 1536 after their nine years’ journey
across the Gulf region.
3) Assess different things that shaped Spanish officials’ decision: greed, labor shortages, racial
views, religious views, past Spanish colonial practices, and other factors.
4) Based on these readings, what would you emphasize as the key (not only) factor that drove
the growth of Spanish enslavement of indigenous people.
5) Note that you have to make a judgment here; there’s no right or wrong answer, and no yes
or no answer. You might believe that 5 or 6 (or more) factors influenced the Spanish
decision. But your goal is to decide which one was most important. Don’t waffle. Your
argument is about what is the most important factor to keep in mind.
6) Look for evidence–quotes from this excerpt and from A Land So Strange that support your
point. You may also use the Foner text but are not required to.
7) Write a 1,000-word paper that
a. Has a clear thesis statement in the Introduction
b. Develops it through 3 body paragraphs with clear topic sentences that explain the
relationship between the paragraph and the overall argument and how the paragraph
supports the thesis.
c. Includes a conclusion that explains the importance of your claim.
d. Uses at least 2 quotes from this excerpt and at least 2 from A Land So Strange to
support your ideas.
e. Cites those quotes through parenthetical citations. (Reséndez, 217) or (La relación
excerpt) or (Foner, 34) to name the page numbers you are referring to.
f. Is well-edited and free from most errors.
AFTER FIVE DAYS, Andrés Dorantes and Alonso del Castillo arrived with those who had gone
for them; and they brought more than 600 natives of the vicinity whom the Indians who had been
escorting us drew out of the woods and took to the mounted Christians, who thereupon dismissed
their own escort. When they arrived, Alcaraz begged us to order the villagers of this river out of the
woods in the same way to get us food. It would be unnecessary to command them to bring food, if
they came at all; for the Indians were always diligent to bring us all they could. We sent our heralds
to call them, and presently there came 600 Indians with all the corn they possessed. They brought it
m clay-sealed earthen pots which had been buried. They also brought whatever else they had; but we
wished only a meal, so gave the rest to the Christians to divide among themselves.
After this we had a hot argument with them, for they meant to make slaves of the Indians in our
train. We got so angry that we went off forgetting the many Turkish-shaped bows, the many
pouches, and the five emerald arrowheads, etc., which we thus lost. And to think we had given these
Christians a supply of cowbides and other things that our retainers had carried a long distance!
It proved difficult to persuade our escorting Indians to go back to their homes, to feel
apprehensive no longer, and to plant their corn. [February being the usual planting time m those
parts, there would be a sense of urgency to plant before the crop should be entirely missed.] But
they did not want to do anything until they had first delivered us into the hands of other Indians, as
custom bound them. They feared they would die if they returned without fulfilling this obligation
whereas, with us, they said they feared neither Christians nor lances.
….To the last I could not convince the Indians that we were of the same people as the Christian
slavers. Only with the greatest effort were we able to induce them to go back home. We ordered
them to fear no more, reestablish their towns, and farm….When the Indians took their leave of us
they said they would do as we commanded and rebuild their towns, if the Christians let them. And I
solemnly swear that if they have not done so it is the fault of the Christians.
After we had dismissed the Indians in peace and thanked them for their toil in our behalf, the
Christians subtly sent us on our way [under arrest] in the charge of an alcalde named Cebreros,
attended by two horsemen [and a number of Indian allies]. They took us through forests and wastes
so we would not communicate with the natives and would neither see nor learn of their crafty
scheme afoot. Thus we often misjudge the motives of men; we thought we had effected the Indians’
liberty, when the Christians were but poising to pounce.
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