Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Chapter 3 Colonization Begins in the Americas: Africans in America

The final part of Chapter 3!

People from Africa
Africans were among the early explorers of the Americas.  Some of the Africans were servants.  Some were slaves.  Some were free.

Columbus had black sailors in his crews.  Blacks marched with Balboa across the Isthmus of Panama in 1513.  They helped build the first ships on the Pacific coast.  Six years later, blacks dragged the heavy Spanish artillery that helped Cortes conquer the Aztecs.  Blacks accompanied Pizarro in his conquest of Peru.  In 1565, blacks assisted in building St. Augustine.  Blacks sailed up the St. Lawrence River with the French and helped to explore the Mississippi Valley.

"Little Steven"
One black explorer who wrote his name on the pages of history was Estevanico, which means "Little Steven" in Spanish.  In English he probably would have been called Stevie.  Estevanico served as an adviser to Hernando Cortes.  As a guide he traveled through Florida, Mexico, and parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

While exploring Florida in 1528, Estevanico and three companions were captured by Indians.  They escaped but spent 8 years wandering before they reached the Spanish headquarters in Mexico.  From Indians that Estevanico met during these wanderings, he first heard of Cibola, the Seven Cities of Gold.  These fabulous cities were said to be located somewhere north of Mexico.

In 1539, the Spanish explorer Father Marcos de Niza led an expedition to search for the Seven Cities of Gold.  Estevanico acted as a scout for the expedition.  He also served as interpreter, for he could speak the Indians' language.  One member of the expedition later wrote: "He inquired about the roads we should follow, and the villages; in short, about everything we wished to know."

Unfortunately Estevanico's skills led to his death.  Father Marcos sent him ahead of the main group to scout out the best way to the golden cities.  Weeks later, a wounded Indian staggered into the Spanish camp witht he news that Estevanico had been killed near the Seven Cities of Gold.  Father Marcos's expedition fled back to Mexico.

No one ever knew if Estevanico had reached the golden cities.  Nevertheless the story of Estevanico spurred De Soto, Coronado, and other Spanish explorers to search for these cities.  Hundreds of years later the Zuni Indians still told stories of a black man who had met his death as he approached their pueblos.

Blacks in New France
Black Africans also joined in French explorations of the New World.  Blacks paddled down the Mississippi with Marquette and Joliet.  At least 70 blacks served as farmers, carpenters, blacksmiths, and stonemasons in the French colony at Kaskaskia, Illinois.  In 1720 a Paris banker named Phillipe Renault brought white and black laborers to the mines of New France.

Probably the best-known black in New France was Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable.  A tall handsome man, he had been educated in Paris before coming to New France.  Like many other French traders and trappers, du Sable married an Indian woman.  The couple set up a trading post at the mouth of the Chicago River.  The trading post expanded to included a house, a bakery, a dairy, a stable, a workshop, and a barn.  The site is now within the modern city of Chicago.

Blacks in New Amsterdam
There were 11 male African slaves at the founding of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam in 1626.  A few years later, women slaves were brought to the colony.  Dutch merchants were prominent in the slave trade, but the Dutch often freed their slaves.

In 1644 the Dutch freed a dozen slaves in New Amsterdam.  In 1661 the first American slave petition, or request, for freedom was sent to the governor of the colony.  It was granted, giving the 12 slaves "their freedom on the same footing as other free peoples."

Ten Million Slaves
In the New World there was a great shortage of laborers.  As colonies grew, more people were needed to tend the fields and work the mines.  At first, settlers tried to force the Indians to work for them.  But many Indians died or ran away, so the colonists began in import African slaves as a source of cheap labor.

The first African slaves were brought to the Spanish colony of Hispaniola in the West Indies in 1501.  From then until slavery finally was ended in the Americas, about 10 million people were brought to the New World as slaves.  About three quarters of them were sent to the Portuguese colony of Brazil and to the Caribbean islands.  In Brazil, slaves worked in the gold mines and in the fields where sugarcane, coffee, and cotton were raised.  In the West Indies, slaves worked to produce sugar and other crops.  The slaves' lives were usually harsh and often short.

The English colonies in North America received about 400,000 slaves directly from Africa.  Other slaves, however, came to the English colonies after working for a time in the West Indies.  Some slaves worked at skilled trades.  But the great majority were unskilled laborers.
* * * * *
MAIN IDEAS
  1. The Vikings visited North America around A.D. 1000, but their discovery was not common knowledge.
  2. Columbus is considered the discoverer of America because his voyage in 1492 led to the exploration and colonization of the Americas.
  3. Within 100 years after Columbus's first voyage, Spain had become the richest nation in Europe by establishing an empire that extended from what is now the southwestern United States to Chile in South America.
  4. The French began to explore North America as a result of their search for the Northwest Passage to the Far East.
  5. The Dutch settled along the northeastern coast of North America, especially around the Hudson River Valley; the Swedes settled along the Delaware River; and the Russians settled Alaska.
  6. Some Africans were among the early explorers and settlers of the Americas.
  7. Many Africans were brought to the New World to work as slaves int eh fields and mines.
* * * * *

No more update for the rest of this week and tomorrow is 4th of July, so no chapter 4 updates til the next hiatus!

Sleepy Hollow will resume on July 7th with the start of Issue 6!

Check Out . . .
Chapter 3: Part Four


Here's June's newsletter! click here

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