Colonial – Best of History Web Sites

The early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages of the post-classical era

Patrice Lumumba: the most important assassination of …

European trade and mercantalism exacerbated the already fierce religious and economic competitions among the countries of Europe in the New World. Each empire, while possessing different economic goals, imposed economic values and systems onto America's Indians and the people of Africa. In 1776, the colonists had revolted against the regulations imposed by England's mercantile practices and declared independence based on the ideals of liberty. Eventually, the Age of Enlightenment that inspired the American Revolution would lead to a change in sentiment toward the issue of slavery. When Britain outlawed the international slave trade in 1807, the new nation of the United States of America also introduced a bill prohibiting the importation of slaves. However, by the time that Britain freed slaves throughout its empire, including in the West Indies in 1833, the slave system was too ingrained to do likewise in the United States. The paradox of slavery operating within a nation based on ideals of freedom would persist for almost a century.

Sep 19, 2009 · Brown, David

The slave system in English colonies was somewhat different from its status in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, which were under strict royal and church oversight. Once a population was subdued and converted, the Catholic Church devoted itself to preserving the rights of all Catholics. Roman law had traditionally protected slaves with certain rights albeit under a conservative, paternalistic system (except in the periphery of the empire like the present American Southwest where such controls were weak and slaves were treated more harshly). England's colonies were less centralized, and the government left planters with far more individual discretion. Slave treatment also depended on several factors including the efficacy of working the slave to death and then replacing him/her, or the geography of servitude. Slaves in the North had a great deal more interaction with white society than those on the large rice plantations in the South, while slave life in the northern colonies was largely relegated to domestic work or artisan-related activities. Since the colonists in the North established settlements largely for religious reasons, they did not develop a "cash" crop and thus did not require the same numbers of slaves as the southern plantations. However, it is important to note that the northern colonies depended increasingly upon the slave system as the two regions developed a highly efficient commercial relationship.

After most of Latin America became independent from Spain in the 1820s, popular groups faced the challenge of finding a place for themselves in the new, postcolonial nation-states. From being subjects of a European monarch, subaltern groups—be they indigenous peoples, Afro-Latin Americans, artisans, campesinos, women, or soldiers—now occupied an undefined social and political space in nation-states created, at least initially, by powerful elites. Over the course of the century, these groups utilized various strategies to deal with the new states and to attempt to improve their social, economic, and political livelihoods: direct rebellion, flight, concern with only local prerogatives, pursuit of patron/client relationships, and, most often, engagement with the nation and appropriation of the identity of citizen. It is this last strategy that has dominated the historiography of these movements since the 1990s. Before this, most works on popular movements asserted that 19th-century subalterns were ignorant of national politics, only concerned with life within view of their village church’s bell tower. If plebeians entered into national political life it was only as the clients of powerful patrons or as conscripted soldiers to serve as cannon fodder in wars between elite factions that meant nothing to them. Some subalterns did heroically rebel against the nation-state, but such insurrections were rare, doomed to fail, and ultimately did not affect the trajectory of Latin American societies. Since the early1990s, however, a new historiography of nation and state formation has stressed the importance of popular movements for shaping national politics and life. Not all popular movements rejected national life; many sought to claim a place in the nation, formed alliances with elite groups, called upon the state to help them, voted in elections, and fought in civil wars, all with an eye to bargaining with the powerful in order to improve their social, economic, and political lives.


Indigenous Peoples of the Americas | New World …

Seminal study into the character of colonial Latin American societies. Examines black populations alongside other racial groups. Challenges the myth that Latin American societies were better sites of race relations given their unique historical development. Strong on assessing church and state policies, as well as racial interactivity within caste hierarchies. Undergraduate friendly.