Describe and Analyze the Social, Political, and Economic Effects of European Contact with the Americas Between 1450 and 1550

Topics: Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Native Americans in the United States, Americas Pages: 2 (715 words) Published: March 22, 2008
Between the 1450, and 1550, as the Europeans infiltrated and dominated the Americas, this revolutionizing contact altered “the way of life” for the Native Americans. The Spanish empire imbibed the Native American culture and took them under their rule due to the Spaniards advanced weapons and technologies which overpowered the simple defense systems of the Americans. Although the Spaniards opened the American’s eyes to the potential of their lands, the Americans were put under slave trade and were forced labor to produce goods which were used to increase wealth for the Spaniards. This contact with a new and engulfing people transformed the Americans known society and left only a few practices to continue over what used to be their lands.

At the beginning of the era, the Native Americans were polytheistic. In contrast, after the European contact and the introduction of Christianity, Christianity became the forced dominant religion. With the European’s travel over seas came European and African deadly new diseases that diminished the population of the Natives greatly. The Spanish dominance also changed the social classes. Where before the emperor was the superior leader, the Europeans changed the classes based on race, such as mulattos, people from African-European descent, mestizos, people from Amerindian and European descent, and creoles, people with European descents born in the New World. The production of maize continued to play an important role in the civilizations even after the European contact due to their dependence on corn’s dietary staple, and large-scale irrigation projects. As well as crops, Native American languages persisted through their society upheaval.

Due to the Spaniards control over the American kingdoms, all power was taken away from the Natives. Their multiple kingdoms such as the Aztec, Inca, Arawak, and Taino, all went down into the hands of the Spanish. Some tried to resist, such as the Arawaks, who were provoked into war with the...
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