Slavery: Why wasn't the Mexicans and Central Americans not involved?

Oct 2015
4,541
Matosinhos Portugal
#11
notgivenaway said:
Once the Spanish and Portuguese reached the Americas, they saw the resources, and worked the natives as slaves, to access the gold, silver, and other resources.

They simultaneously had reached Africa, and had made contact with trading kingdoms who had accessible slave markets.
The Portuguese (and the Spanish pirates) reached Africa, even the sub-Saharan Africa well before reaching America. It was not simultaneously.

The African slave trade predates the discovery of America in 1492. The Portuguese raided and traded slaves in Africa to sell them in Portugal and to re-export them to other places in Europe.

________________________


Right friend Tulius.

Correcto amigo Tulius.
 
Nov 2018
16
The Old Dominion
#12
Once the Spanish and Portuguese reached the Americas, they saw the resources, and worked the natives as slaves, to access the gold, silver, and other resources.

They simultaneously had reached Africa, and had made contact with trading kingdoms who had accessible slave markets.

As the native Americans were dying from being overworked, they noted that Africans were more adapted to hard labour and had more experience in growing crops en masse. So with the demand for workers, and much spare land, they founded plantations in the Americas. If it were not for native Americans handling the conditions well, then the transatlantic slave trade may not have happened to the degree it did.
I'm no expert on Middle America, but as far as Jamestown goes, I seem to recall that many of the primary sources also cited a much more prideful culture among the natives that made it especially demoralizing for them to work as slaves. If I recall correctly, they often preferred death of one form or another, than working as slaves for the Europeans. The American Indians lived "savagely" but their pride seems to have been very sensitive and easily pricked.

That may not have been the main reason why natives didn't continue on as slaves, I don't know, but it certainly was a factor on some level, perhaps even a decisive one.
 
Feb 2012
3,781
Portugal
#13
I'm no expert on Middle America, but as far as Jamestown goes, I seem to recall that many of the primary sources also cited a much more prideful culture among the natives that made it especially demoralizing for them to work as slaves. If I recall correctly, they often preferred death of one form or another, than working as slaves for the Europeans. The American Indians lived "savagely" but their pride seems to have been very sensitive and easily pricked.

That may not have been the main reason why natives didn't continue on as slaves, I don't know, but it certainly was a factor on some level, perhaps even a decisive one.
One might ask how sensible an European aristocrat or a Samurai would be of doing forced rural work? Don't know if it was a case in Jamestown but Brazilian Indians lived in a culture of war and they were mentalized for the entire process including death, which was also a part of their spiritual views, and it seems agricultural activities were mostly reserved to women. Also bear in mind that some tribes were semi-nomad so rural activities were minimum in their societies.
Just as a footnote about the natives relation to death in Mexican culture Jacques Soustelle mentions an aristocrat who was made prisioner for sacrifice but his capturers seem to be inclided to spare his life he however insisted in being sacrificed.
 
Nov 2018
16
The Old Dominion
#14
One might ask how sensible an European aristocrat or a Samurai would be of doing forced rural work? Don't know if it was a case in Jamestown but Brazilian Indians lived in a culture of war and they were mentalized for the entire process including death, which was also a part of their spiritual views, and it seems agricultural activities were mostly reserved to women. Also bear in mind that some tribes were semi-nomad so rural activities were minimum in their societies.
Many European aristocrats of the early 17th century were still fairly medieval in their penchant for personal combat, and following the old traditions of the warrior caste of the feudal system. So they didn't exactly have delicate skin on their hands, either. At least two of the early leaders at Jamestown, John Smith and George Percy, were both soldiers before coming to America, and seem to have styled themselves as medieval warrior nobility.

The description of Brazilian natives you give sounds very similar to the natives in Virginia. Women often stayed in villages and tended crops and other housework while the men went off on near-constant hunting and war parties. The natives here valued bravery in combat, and also seem to have had some kind of death cult, and sometimes sacrificed people. These are generalizations of course but very common information to come across in early accounts of natives. They did not take to slavery very well at all.
 
Likes: Yôḥānān
Nov 2010
7,021
Cornwall
#15
Many European aristocrats of the early 17th century were still fairly medieval in their penchant for personal combat, and following the old traditions of the warrior caste of the feudal system. So they didn't exactly have delicate skin on their hands, either. At least two of the early leaders at Jamestown, John Smith and George Percy, were both soldiers before coming to America, and seem to have styled themselves as medieval warrior nobility.l.
As far as Spain is concerned you are right in a sense, as these people had been inbred to war and fighting for 7 or 800 years. But aristocrats didn't tend to make the trip. They were quite comfortable at home thank you very much. It was typically the second (penniless) son of the hidalgo class, the bottom end of the upper class. And orginally many wanted to get out of Spain after the War of the Communities and make themselves scarce. Hence the rather wild, unpredictable nature of these people, as opposed to Imperial troops. One or two were clearly just psychopathic, such as Panfilo de Narvaez.
 
Likes: Yôḥānān
Nov 2018
16
The Old Dominion
#16
As far as Spain is concerned you are right in a sense, as these people had been inbred to war and fighting for 7 or 800 years. But aristocrats didn't tend to make the trip. They were quite comfortable at home thank you very much.
Right, it was the same in Virginia. George Percy was from a noble family, but he was a younger brother who had no means of his own, and the family patriarch Lord Percy was sitting in jail for his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot when George was at Jamestown trying to restore the family name. So even the most noble of them were kind of on the outskirts of the noble class, at least until Virginia was very well established.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
5,876
Spain
#18
John is right... Most of the Spanish Conquistadores were Hidalgos (Fidalgos, Hijosdalgo etc etc)... people without money... without lands.. but full of honor, "hidalguía", and pride...in fact, the sense of Honor in the Spanish Society in 16th and 17th Centuries lack of any equivalent.. save maybe the Japanese Society in the same centuries. The Hidalgo in the Spanish Society (Sp).

The american natives were not fit for slavery... and if we add the protection of the Crown.. we understand why failed the native slavery (nor in Spanish, French, Portuguese, British, Danish and Swedish Dominions).
 

Edratman

Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
6,071
Eastern PA
#19
There must be have also been a pre-European population density component to the issue. That is, there were sufficient native inhabitants residing in the regions before contact to leave sufficient numbers of people to work the land and mines after the population was ravaged by disease and the deprivations committed by the conquerors.
 
Likes: notgivenaway

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,812
Lisbon, Portugal
#20
We all know once the Europeans came to colonize; later to be the United States; they needed labor to work the lands; mostly preferring free labor. I was told that when they found the Indians and took the land, they asked the Indians to work the land as well, but the Indians refused; so they killed most of them/or started the Trail of Tears. (Correct me if I'm wrong in any part)
European settlers didn't kill most Indians in North America in the early days of colonization. Native Americans refused to collaborate with the Europeans, and the settlers generally excluded them from society in general, so they had to rely on slave African labour. Africans were not only more resistant to western diseases, more knowledgeable on farming techniques, but also it was very hard for them to escape bondage. A native-american could very easily escape the plantation and hide in the wilderness, an African slave not so much. A native-american was familiar to the geography of the area and he could blend in with other Indians if he tried to escape.

My question is how come the Europeans who colonized America did not go to Mexico and the Caribbean to get slaves? From what I know, the Indians said that they would not work the land, the Europeans that was still in Europe said they would not send prisoners to work the land as well. Why not go for the Hispanics that was closer to America versus going way to Africa to get slaves even though Africa was enslaving their own people themselves? It would have saved time and probably more work would have gotten time faster.
First of all, don't ever say that Africans "were enslaving their own people themselves". Africans are not even "a people" in the sense that they are not one single entity...when you discuss ancient slavery like Romans taking Germanic men as slaves, do you ever describe that action as "Europeans selling their own people themselves"? Don't you understand how absurd that argument is?

Second, Europeans did start to enslave indigenous peoples in Mexico and the Caribbean. The problem is that the native population of the Caribbean collapsed and the Catholic Church pressured Spanish and Portuguese colonial authorities to stop the enslavement of indigenous populations. Those indigenous later became nothing more than serfs and still exploited by the colonizers - that's why the population of African descendants is relatively little in countries such as Mexico or Peru. They didn't need to import many African slaves since they had millions of indigenous serfs to work for them.

Third, North American settlers would never go to Mexico to buy "Hispanic" slaves. Mostly because there wasn't such thing as "Hispanic slaves" in the market for sale, and also because Spain was dominating those places, and they would not tolerate English settlers coming down to Mexico or the Caribbean to capture slaves.
 

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