Labor in the Americas
The Spainish and the Encomienda

  • The Encomienda system was the most widely used Labor Systems by the Spanish in North and South America
  • This system basically justified European colonizers right to enslave indigenous populations of lands the occupied
  • Originally developed in Spain during the Reconquista, rewarded Spanish conquerors with the right to extract labor out of conquered peoples
  • Spanish justified this enslavement of indigenous populations by stating that the natives were only doing the Spainards work because in return it was the Europeans duty to look at for the Physical and Spirtual Welfare of their workers
The Portugese and African Slavery
  • During the Early years of portugese settlement in Brazil the Europeans attempted to use Native labor like the Spanish
  • Unfortuantley, the Native populations of Brazil were extremely elusive and easily avaded Portugese slavery making it impossible for the Portugese to establish an "encomienda like" labor system
  • To make up for this lack of Labor the Portugese began to rely heavily on the African Slave trade
...........................................................(My boy Kunta).................................................................
  • Conditions working on Sugar Plantations were very harsh large amounts of African Slaves died every year
  • Constant demand for African Slaves in Brazil, which became one of the main importers of African slaves for 200 years
North American Labor Indentured servants and Slavery
  • Cash Crops became the main export of the mainly English Colonies of North America
  • Like the Portuguese the English had a hard time forcing Indigenous populations to work on their plantations so they needed a new type of Cheap labor
  • Indentured Servants became very popular initially, Indentured Servants were Europeans who had no future in their own countries and who sold roughly 7 years of their lives to plantation owners in order for a boat ride over to the Americas
  • More often than not Indentured servants came from the ranks of; orphans, unemployed, criminals, and political prisoners
  • After 1680 however the flow of indentured servants slowed and Enslaved Africans became the prominent source of labor just like in Brazil
  • All English colonies in America benefited from African Slavery but the Southern colonies were the predominant slave holders
  • Southern colonies used slave labor to power a large amount of their economy (plantation crops), while the Northern colonies were supported by factories allowing them to use machines to power their industry instead of people

South America
1. Spanish
-Colombus arrived, 1492, followed by Spanish settlers
*original plan to build forts/trade posts
*no goods to trade- supported society by mining gold
*used native labor- decimated population
-conquistadores entered S.A., 16th C.
*Aztec/Inca already had means to mobilize masses, recruit labor
*Spaniards took over (Cortes- Aztec, Pizzaro- Inca)
*Set up local administration, established colonies
2. Portuguese
-arrived Brazil, 1500
*colonized, but no real involvement
*sugar plantations midcentury increased involvement
3. Mestizo Society
-Spanish/Portugues both used social hierarchy
*peninsulares at the top- migrants born in Europe
*creoles next- migrants born in Americas from Iberian parents
*mixed parentage below- imported slaves/conquered people at the bottom
4. Encomienda System
-Use by Spanish settlers to mine for gold in Carribbean
*too few Spanish settlers, recruited native labor
*encomienda- gave settlers right to force Tainos to work in mines, fields
*encomenderos assumed responsibility of worker's welfare, health, conversion to Christianity
-Brutal system
*workers were worked hard, punished severely if gold was not produced/insufficient work
*occassional rebellions- put down easily
5. The Hacienda
-most prominent agriculutural/craft producer
*major source of labor- native populations
*reward Spanish conquerers by allowing labor/tribute from conquered people
*rampant abuse by encomendaros, 1520s-1540s
-encomienda system went out of use, mid-16th C.
*replaced by debt peonage
*landowners gave loans to natives, repaid with labor
*wages too low to pay off debts- effective captive labor system for Spanish

Evaluators: Ally Wilson- little gramatical changes and spelling
Josh Abrantes - Slight grammar check
Katie Dowling-fixed some spelling, the rest is good