Peter H. Wood's Strange New Land: A Review

Topics: Slavery, United States, North America Pages: 3 (764 words) Published: June 22, 2013
Strange New Land, offers a seemingly vast view of the presence of African Americans in present day North America. Mr. Wood describes the harsh and often brutal fate of African Americans during the colonization of America.

Exploring Chapter 1, allowed me to view the way different cultures took advantage of not only African Americans, but Native Americans as well. Native Americans were invaded by Spanish settlers, taken into slavery and forced to live with harsh living conditions. Settlers exposed them to a vast number of diseases, and tricked other Native Americans into agreements, in which they were starved, made to live in the cold, and which ultimately led to the death of many of them. Native Americans were resistant to being overtaken and fought back to protect their people and their land.

Spanish settlers needed more laborers to cultivate new land, and explore additional regions for settlement. Spanish Conquerors like Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon sent out to find laborers in Western Europe. During his search, he found that Europeans that practiced Christianity did not believe in exploiting its people. In return, the Catholic Church, did however, not mind the exploit of non-Christians to Spanish Settlers. As groups resisted fiercely, they looked to other options in which they could gain access to the slave trade.

African Americans to my surprise came as a third resort. Spanish settlers wanted to gain access to the dreams of gold and silver told to be lying within the American soil. However African Americans would prove to be more valuable than just for labor. Spanish Speaking Africans such as Gomez and Esteban were great explorers and go-between people when asked to settle what is now the state of New Mexico. Being intermediaries between the Native Americans and Spanish settlers, they showed the resourcefulness that Africans held during the colonization of America.

As I continue to discover how Africans came about to be in America, I was intrigued to learn...
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