Access the Effects of the Spanish Settlement in Hispaniola on the Tainos During the 15th to 16th Century.

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For the first ten years of colonization, Hispaniola was the only colony in the Caribbean where the Spanish settled. In the 16thcentury, Hispaniola was the centre of the Spanish colonial system in the Caribbean. It was known as the Pearl of the Caribbean. Just like in the other colonies, the Tainos thought that the Spaniards were gods and welcomed them into their villages. Columbus believed that Hispaniola had gold and forced the Tainos to work in the mines. Columbus also made the Tainos pay the Spanish a tribute to satisfy both the Crown’s and the settler’s greed for gold, and to obtain food for his settlement. It was easy to take control of the Tainos as they assumed that if they pleased the ‘gods’ that they would be richly rewarded in the afterlife. It was obvious from Columbus’ journals that the Tainos were not as used to battle and warfare as the Spaniards. Columbus noted that “with 50 men you could subject everyone and make them do what you wished” and that the natives were “such cowards and so fearful.” Due to these facts, it was seen that the Spaniards meet little resistance by the Tainos in Hispaniola. The Spanish conquest of the indigenous people in Hispaniola resulted in a new system of government, which has a negative effect on the Tainos, the introduction of different economic policies and activities and devastating changes in the Taino culture. During this time period, the Spaniards were interested in gold, glory and god. In the name of the Spanish Queen, Queen Isabella, Columbus and his men were to acquire colonies to improve the power of their country. They came to the Caribbean looking for a new trading route to the Indies. However, he found the Caribbean instead and called it the West Indies. Gold was seen as very important in Europe and the more a country had, the wealthier it was. With the introduction of other religions, such as the Muslim Moors, Queen Isabella was determined to spread Christianity to all of her colonies; old and new. Not only did Columbus and his Spaniards conquer the Tainos in Hispaniola, but also in other Caribbean countries such as Jamaica and Puerto Rico on his second voyage in 1493. He also went passed along the coastline of Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Antigua, Santa Cruz (St. Croix), Nevis, St. Kitts, Saba and the Virgin Islands. There he met the Kalinagos, a fierce tribe of indigenous people also living in the Caribbean at the same time of the Tainos. He also explored the coast of Guanahami in Bahamas and Cuba in his first voyage, the South American coastline in 1498 and the Central American coast in 1502 and 1504. One of the major effects of the Spanish settlement in Hispaniola was the dismantlement of the Taino’s society with the introduction of new labour systems. In total, 1,500 Spaniards came to Hispaniola on the second voyage of Columbus, where his intend was to colonize the island. The introduction of the repartimiento and encomienda labour systems dismantled the structured organization that the Tainos already had. There society was becoming extinct. It destroyed their livelihood as they could not farm for themselves, but for the Spaniards. They were overworked and beaten and their culture ignored. They were forced to adhere to the Spanish rule and convert to Christianity. They were banned from practicing their religion. The Spaniards also focused on other economic activities, like tobacco farming and cattle ranching, which exploited the Tainos even further. Another effect of the Spanish settlement in Hispaniola on the Taino’s was the induction of a tribute system. Now that Hispaniola was one of Spain’s colonies, a form of governance was needed. At first, the Tainos had to give a tribute and this was the form of control for the time. When this failed, the Spaniards established the repartimiento system in 1499. The repartimiento system, sometimes called the Repartimiento de Labor (Distribution of Labor), enabled a conquistador, or a Spanish...
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