Land and Labor I

        I.            Economic  Foundations

A.      Economy and society dominated by three main areas

1.  Large land holdings

2.  Mining centers

3.  The commercial system

a.       Trade networks and shipping

b.      Markets

B.      Large landholders dominated society, with mine “owners” and wealthy merchants making up rest of elite

C.      Large landholdings (latifundia) the most important economically, but most land in small and medium holdings

1.  Hacienda/fazenda

a.       Generally large landholdings devoted to a variety of activities

b.      Often focused on local and regional markets, but many engaged in export markets as well

2.  Plantation

a.       Usually refers to a single cash-crop farm devoted to export

b.      Depended primarily on slave labor

3.  Estancias

a.       usually refers to ranches which raised animals

b.      engaged in both local and export markets

4.  “Minifundia” – small and medium sized holdings

a.       Generally oriented to subsistence and local markets

b.      Operators frequently worked on nearby large landholdings as well

c.       In some areas, supplied goods to one-crop plantations

d.      In economically lean years, large landholders would lease out land in sharecropping-like arrangements

      II.            Land

A.      Spanish and Portuguese hungry for land, as it was essential for joining the aristocracy

B.      Loss of land by Amerindians, however, would be gradual, with great regional variation

C.      Seizing land held by Amerindian leaders

1.  Cortes took the vast personal belongings of the Aztec emperor

2.  Land of Aztec nobles taken as a right of conquest

3.  Land that supported Aztec institutions, such as temples, went to the Crown

4. This pattern of seizing land held by nobles who fought the Spanish applied in areas beyond the Aztec world

5.  Did not apply as readily in less urbanized regions (this would be particularly apparent in Portuguese regions)

D.      Communal and village lands not strictly taken by force

1.  Spaniards were highly legalistic, and wanted titles that could be defended in court

2.  Spanish authorities generally recognized the legitimacy of Amerindian precedent

3.  Crown offered some protection sot Amerindian land

4.  Tribute often related to Amerindians ties to the land; landless Amerindians not easily incorporated in tribute system

5. Amerindians outnumbered Spaniards, making it difficult to take land by pure force

6.  Spanish needed legalistic and more subtle ways to take lands

a.       Could be seized to pay tribute and other debts

b.      Ranching rights could be used to usurp control of land

c.       Amerindians might be coerced into swapping their land for less valuable land

d.      Amerindians could be sued into poverty

e.      Those who rebelled against Spanish rule could have land taken for violating the requerimiento, Spain’s “divine right” of conquest

7.  Abandoned land could also be taken under Spanish and Portuguese law. This was a factor where disease decimated the Amerindian population

    III.            Labor

A.      Spanish initially made use of encomienda to control Amerindian labor

1.  Had roots in systems used during the Reconquista

2.  Quickly emerges full-blown in Caribbean

3.  A tribute based system

a.       Ecomenderos received right to collect tribute (including labor) from Amerindians living in a particular area

b.      Did not grant the encomendero title to the land, though many acted as if it did

c.       In exchange, encomendero was expected to provide military service to crown and protect Amerindians in the encomienda

4. Gave conquistadores the social position and wealth source they craved

5.  Crown did not like the feudalistic nature of the system, as it undermined Crown authority

6.  As Amerindian population declined became less viable

7. Gradually phased out over 1500s and 1600s, but doesn't completely disappear until 1700s

8.  As Amerindian populations were low in Portuguese regions, tribute labor not a major factor there

B.      Draft (corvee) labor systems

1.  Inca and Aztecs both had made use of draft labor as part of their tribute systems (mita for the Inca, coatequitl for the Aztecs)

2.  Spanish Crown builds on these, turning to the repartimiento system

a.       Crown would control the Amerindian labor tribute

b.      Spanish wishing to use Amerindian draft labor would have to request it form the Crown

c.       Shifted power back to the Crown, gave officials some means to protect Amerindians from excessive exploitation (when they chose too)

C.      Slavery

1.  Amerindian slavery

a.       Many initially enslaved in both Spanish and Portuguese territories

b.      Detached labor from land, giving slaveholders more power over labor than tribute holders

c.       Pursuit of Amerindians to capture as slaves pushed frontiers of European exploration, notably by bandeirantes in Brazil

d.      Amerindian labor pool could not keep up with European demands, particularly because of decline from disease

2.  African slavery

a.       Growth of slavery tightly linked to emergence of cash crop plantations

a.       Portuguese developed model for sugar plantations in Madeira and Cabo Verde in 1400s

b.      Transported this model to northern Brazil in 1560s

c.       Sugar plantations spread to Caribbean in early 1600s

d.      Other crops (tobacco and coffee, notably) adopt this model

e.      In Brazil, mining will make extensive use of slave labor in later period

b.      Slave trade

a.       Atlantic African slave trade begins in 1440s, ends in 1860s

b.      12 to 15 million make the passage, roughly the equivalent amount die en route

c.       All the major Atlantic European powers are involved, though British do most of the shipping

d.      Origins

                                                                                                                                       i.      Begins primarily in the far Western region, with center of trade moving south and east over time

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Portuguese went farther south to Angola, and even from Mozambique in the west

e.      Destination

                                                                                                                                       i.      More than 33% go to Brazil

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Most of the rest go to Caribbean, both islands and the mainland

                                                                                                                                    iii.      In other areas, found frequently in port cities, sometimes in mining regions

                                                                                                                                   iv.      All the colonial regions receive at least some of the slave trade

                                                                                                                                     v.      700,000 go to British North America

f.        British pushed to end the slave trade

                                                                                                                                       i.      Banned the slave trade in 1807

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Would use navy to attack the slave trade

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Last known shipment arrived in Cuba in 1870