Colonial American History - The Atlantic and Pacific Worlds - New Spain and New France - British America

Chapter 17: The Great Plains 1680–1800 :: The American Colonies by Alan Taylor

Notes: This chapter is effectively a continuation of Chapters 3-5, 16 and the material from there should be considered while reading this chapter.

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “In sum, the Great Plains exacerbated the paradoxical impact of colonialism so manifest throughout North America. In general, the effects of colonial intrusion—germs, weeds, livestock, soldiers, missionaries, and trade—spread far and wide, extending beyond imperial control and affecting native peoples in wildly unanticipated ways.”
  • “Their own word lakota means “allies,” but their foes, including the French, called them the Sioux, which meant “enemies.”
  • “The warriors rode three times round the village; and as each noted champion passed, the old women would scream out his name, to honor his bravery, and excite the emulation of the younger warriors. Little urchins, not two years old, followed the warlike pageant with glittering eyes, and gazed with eager admiration at the heroes of their tribe.”
  • “Holding a bow in one hand and an arrow in the other, [the mothers] sang near the bodies of their sons an air both gay and martial, thanking them for having given them the satisfaction of seeing them die at the hands of the enemy while fighting valiantly for the defense of their country, a death a thousand times preferable to the fate of him who on a wretched mat expires consumed by some deadly disease.”
  • “They told me this Reason for it, that they had lost the Use of their Bows and Arrows by having Guns so long amongst them, and when they were disappointed of Powder [&] Shott, … their Enemies found They had no Guns to Defend themselves with [and] made Warr Upon them & Destr[o]y[e]d above 100 Tents [of] Men, Women, and Children.”
  • “By combining Hispanic horses with French guns, many native bands reinvented themselves as buffalo-hunting nomads, which brought them unprecedented prosperity and power.”
  • “Possessing a spiritual rather than a scientific imagination, the natives believed that the buffalo swarmed like bees from subterranean hives every spring, and that their annual numbers depended primarily upon human rituals that managed their relationship with the supernatural.”
  • “As with all Native American religions, the villagers subscribed to a profound dualism that reflected upon the alternation of death and life, construction and destruction, reproduction and disintegration in their nature”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “As with all Native American religions, the villagers subscribed to a profound dualism that reflected upon the alternation of death and life, construction and destruction, reproduction and disintegration in their nature”
  • React and Respond: “Here in short, is gathered everything possible for trade and barter with these barbarians in exchange for deer and buffalo hides, and what is saddest, in exchange for Indian slaves, men and women, small and large, a great multitude of both sexes, for they are gold and silver and the richest treasure for the governors, who gorge themselves first with the largest mouthfuls from this table, while the rest eat the crumbs.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Hispanic New Mexico depended for survival upon both alliance with the Pueblo peoples of the Rio Grande and war with the nomads of the western Great Plains and southern Rocky Mountains.”
  • In what ways did the oppression of Native Americans impact Hispanic New Mexico?
  • What was the nature and purpose of the settlements at El Paso and Santa Fe?
  • How did the Spanish view their settlements in El Norte and the Southern plains?
  • Describe the three-way competition between the British, French and Spanish to exploit Native Americans
  • Compare and Contrast: The French and British interaction with Native Americans in the Northern Plains
  • Compare and Contrast: The French and Spanish interaction with Native Americans in the Southern Plains and El Norte
  • Describe how the manipulations of Native Americans by European settlements impacted their societies?
  • Describe the role firearms, horses and alcohol played in the destruction of pre contact Native American society?
  • Describe the purposes Europeans had in introducing firearms into Native American society?
  • What policies in New Spain made El Norte and the Southern Plains a trade “backwater” in the Spanish Empire.
  • What role did Vera Cruz play in Spanish Mexico?
  • Explain and Expand: “the Great Plains exacerbated the paradoxical impact of colonialism so manifest throughout North America”
  • Compare and Contrast: The Southern Great Plains and the Northern Plains
  • Compare and Contrast: The Eastern Great Plains and the Western Plains
  • Compare and Contrast: Nomadic Native Americans and stationary Native Americans
  • Describe the river systems of the Great Plains
  • Compare and Contrast: the role of the Missouri River and the role of the Mississippi River in European settlement
  • Who were the Genízaros and what role did they play in relations between Native Americans and Europeans on the Great Plains and El Norte?
  • Compare and Contrast: African Slavery with Native American Slavery
  • Compare and Contrast: French Native American slavery and Spanish Native American slavery
  • How did Hispanic peoples develop in El Norte and the Great Plains?
  • Compare and Contrast: Relations between Europeans and the Pueblo and the Apache
  • Explain and Expand: “Two horses and a few knives could usually purchase an adolescent Indian girl—the preferred commodity of the slave trade. Male captives were worth half as much.”
  • Compare and Contrast: How gender impacted Native American slavery and African American slavery
  • React and Respond: “Their own word lakota means “allies,” but their foes, including the French, called them the Sioux, which meant “enemies.””
  • Explain and Expand: “The horse-centered way of life proved a mixed blessing for women.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Environmentally, the horse-centered way of life was highly unstable.”
  • Compare and Contrast: The Spanish Mission system in California, New Mexico and Texas
  • Describe “Missions”, “Presidios” and “Pueblos”
  • How did Spanish colonialism change in Alta California, El Norte and the Southern Plains after the 1770s?
  • Explain and Expand: “In contrast to the aggressive French traders, who ventured deep into Indian country, the British factors cautiously stuck to their posts beside the bay”

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