World History



























































New Spain

The Atlantic powers of Europe came to dominate trade on the world’s oceans. Portugal’s trading empire included Brazil in South America and trading stations in Africa and Asia. The huge Spanish trading empire stretched from Europe to Asia to the Americas. Spain’s holdings in America were called New Spain; they extended from what is now the southern U.S. to the tip of South America. (Today, lands south of the U.S. are called Latin America.) New Spain’s biggest business enterprise was silver mining, which produced enough silver to make Spain the most powerful nation in Europe if not in the world.

Brazil = a country in South America that was colonized by Portugal. Today, the people of this country still speak Portuguese.

New Spain = Spain’s possessions in the New World; the regions of Central and South America that were colonized by Spain.

Latin America = the part of the American continents that lies south of the United States.

Unlike English settlers in North America who maintained a distance from the “Indians,” the Spanish wanted to bring the indigenous people of New Spain into the Catholic faith. Many Spaniards intermarried with Native Americans and later with African-Americans creating a distinctive new civilization in Latin America. In this mixed society, Spaniards born in Europe were at the top of the social pyramid followed by Spaniards born in America (creoles). These people controlled society in New Spain. Next in rank were people of mixed Spanish and Native American heritage (mestizos) and mixed Spanish and black heritage (mulattos). At the bottom of society were Native Americans and African-Americans of unmixed ancestry.

mestizo = a person of mixed racial or ethnic ancestry, especially, in Latin America, of mixed American Indian and European descent.