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Kerala Plus One History Chapter Wise Questions and Answers Chapter 8 The Confrontation of Cultures
We have got much information about the confrontation between Europeans and the indigenes of the Americas. Explain.
The Europeans who went to the Americas have given details of their journeys in their diaries and logbooks (the books in which details of the voyage are recorded). The records and writing of officials arid the Jesuit missionaries are also very important. Europeans have written a lot about the discovery of the Americas, North, and South. They have written more about their migration but their descriptions about the indigenes are very few.
In both the Americas (North and South) and the nearby islands, people have been living for thousands of years. There were migrations from Asia and from the islands of the South Ocean. South America was a region full of forests and hills, The longest river in the world Amazon flows mostly through dense forests. In Mexico, Central America, there were many dense human habitations. In the forest areas, there were also scattered villages.
The people who lived in the Caribbean Islands were of a community called Arawak. Write about the life of Arawaks.
In the Caribbean Sea, there are hundreds of small islands. They are known as Bahamas, Greater Antilles and the Lesser Antilles. On these islands, the community called Arawaks or Arawakian Lucayans lived. The violent tribe called Caribs drove away the Arawaks from the Lesser Antilles. Arawaks were peace-loving people. They preferred co-operation to competition. They were experts in making boats. They traveled in the open sea in small wooden boats. They lived by hunting, fishing, and farming. They cultivated com, sweet potatoes, some other root crops, and tapioca.
The Arawaks practised joint farming. Thus they tried to feed everyone in the community. This was their highest cultural value. They organized themselves under the elders in the community. Polygamy was common among them. They were animists. Animism (from Latin anima, “breath, spirit, life”) is the view that entities in nature such as animals, plants, and often even inanimate objects possess a spiritual essence. The ‘shaman’ (the priest) had a big role in their lives. The shamans worked as healers and as intermediaries between this world and the supernatural world.
Arawaks used golden ornaments. But they were not aware of the value of gold. They would gladly exchange their golden ornaments with the cheap crystal chains of the Europeans. The shine and beauty of the crystal chain was more important to them. They were good weavers. The art of weaving had developed nicely among them. Their swing beds made of coir was a big attraction to the Europeans.
The people of Brazil did not have to depend on agriculture. Why?
The people who lived on the eastern shores of South America and in the villages of the forests were called Tupinamba. This region is present Brazil. The name Brazil came from a tree called Brazilwood. The people of Brazil had no iron. Therefore they could not clear forests and do any agriculture. Since they had plenty of fruits, vegetables, and fish, they did not have to depend on agriculture.
Prepare a seminar paper on the political systems of Central and South America.
In Central arid South America, there were some famous civilizations. The most noteworthy of them were the Aztec and Mayan culture of Central America and the Inca culture of South America. They were highly organized nations. These urban civilizations were made possible because of the surplus production of corn. The huge architectural marvels built by the Aztec, Mayan and Inca cultures still make us stare at them in awe and wonder.
The Aztecs: Aztec culture is centred around Mexico. In the 12th century, the Aztecs from the north migrated to the main valley of Mexico. By defeating the various tribes there, they built a large empire. From the defeated people they also collected tributes.
The Aztec society was hierarchical. There were different classes in society. The most important of them were the nobles or lords. Priests and other high officials belonged to this class.
Hereditary nobles were a small minority. They occupied the highest posts in the government, army . and priesthood. The nobles chose an able man from among themselves as their leader and he continued to be the king till he died. The king was supposed to be representative of the sun on earth.
Warriors and priests were the most respected people in society. Merchants were given a lot of concessions. Skilled and competent workers, doctors and intelligent teachers were also respected. Since the land was limited, the Aztecs tried to make it as fertile as they could. They also built artificial islands (Chinampas) by weaving mats from bamboo and covering them with earth for cultivating plants. In between these fertile islands they built canals.
In 1325, the Aztecs built their capital city Tenochtitlan in the middle of a lake. There were palaces and pyramids there. Since the Aztecs were often engaged in battle, their temples were dedicated to war gods and sun-god.
The Mayans: The Mayan culture of Mexico developed between the 11th and 14th centuries. In the 16th century, the Mayans were politically less powerful than the Aztecs. The centre point of Mayan culture was com cultivation. When com was planted, when ft was, growing, and when harvested there were different religious rituals connected with it. The Mayans had surplus crops. The extra income they had helped the administrators, priests, and chiefs to invest and develop architecture, astronomy, and mathematics.
The Mayans have given great Contributions in writing, architecture, mathematics, and astronomy. They had formed a picture script. Scholars could read their picture-script writing only partially.
The Incas of Peru: Among the local civilizations of South America, the biggest and the best is the Inca culture of- Peru. The Incas belong to a class called Quechua. Their language is also Quechua. Inca means the emperor who roles of-the land. The capital of Inca was a city named Cuzco. In the 12th century, the first emperor Manco Capac founded that city. The expansion of the empire began during the period of the 9th Inca. The empire spread from Ecuador to Chile, some 3000 miles.
The Inca Empire was highly centralized. The source of authority was the emperor.
Newly defeated tribes were successfully integrated with the empire. Each subject was to speak the language of the royal court, Quechua. The tribal administration was done by a Council of Elders. The Tribes owed their loyalty to the rulers.
Regional rulers gave the emperor military help. For this cooperation, they were adequately rewarded.
The basis of Inca culture was agriculture. Since the soil was less fertile, they made layers on the sides of hills and developed irrigation facilities. The Incas cultivated on a large scale. In 1500 they had more cultivation than what they have today. Their main crops were corn and potatoes.
Another important occupation of the Incas was animal husbandry. They grew a special kind of goats called lama goats which they used for meat as well as for work.
Aztecs had given great importance to education. Explain.
Aztecs had given great importance to education. They made sure that all the children attended schools. The schools where the children of the nobles were studying were called Calmecac. Here they got training to be army leaders and religious leaders. Other students studied at the schools called Telpochcalli. Here they studied things like history, myths, traditional and ritualistic songs.
Boys were given military and agricultural training. They were also trained in other professions. Girls were given training to do household jobs.
Incas were proud builders and architects. Justify.
Like Aztecs, the Incas were also proud builders and architects. Through the hilly region between Ecuador and Chile, they constructed many roads. They also built many forts, temples, palaces, and towers. They built their forts with stone slabs. Since the stone slabs were cut fine, they did not need any lime for fixing.
To cut the stones from the stone quarries and to transport them to the construction sites they made use of the labour of people, the masons got the stories .like flakes or layers. Some of the slabs weighed many tons. But they did not have any wheeled vehicles to carry them. Physical effort was needed to make the slabs reach the work sites. Work was organized and strictly supervised.
It Was the progress in science and technology and the invention of machines that helped geographical discoveries. Examine the statement.
In the quest for geographical discoveries, progress in science and technology and the invention of machines helped considerably. The invention of the magnetic compass made voyages in the sea easy. Although people had some idea about magnetic compasses right from 1380, it was in the 15th century they were widely used. The magnetic compass helped navigators to find the exact direction to which they were going.
There was also great progress in shipbuilding. Big ships that could carry a lot of goods were made. They were also made in such a way that they were ready to face attacks from enemies. The availability of written material in natural science, geography and travel increased the desire for people to make travels in the sea.
The exploratory geographical voyages had economic, religious and political goals. Discuss.
The exploratory geographical voyages definitely had economic, religious and political goals.
The main Inspiration behind geographical discoveries was economic. The European, economy was facing a crisis. The Great Plague and wars reduced the population in Europe considerably. Trade was reduced. There wasn’t enough silver and gold for making coins. Distance trade also was in problems. In 1453, the Turk conquered Constantinople and this was a big shock. Although the Italians tried to trade with the Turks, they had to give higher taxes. With this, the land- route trade between Europeans and the Eastern countries became difficult. In short, the goals of the European were making huge profits through trade and collecting Valuable metals like silver and gold.
The desire to propagate Christianity to the world outside Europe also prompted the Europeans to embark upon voyages of discovery. Europeans were ready to undertake any adventure to spread Christianity to other lands. Along with the navigators, there were also missionaries and priests in their adventurous journeys.
The Crusades had caused an increase in trade between Europe and Asia. The products of Asia, especially spices, were in great demand in Europe. The rulers of Europe realized that through trade they could get political power. They thought that the newly discovered lands could be made their colonies and there they could establish their political power. They also wanted regions which were strategic so that it would help them in wars. Thus the European rulers encouraged voyages of discovery.
It was Columbus, the Italian navigator, who led the geographical discoveries. Based on this statement describe voyages of Columbus and his discoveries.
Columbus (1451-1506), the Italian navigator, was the person who led many of the geographical discoveries. He was a navigator who dedicated his life to adventure and fame. He had believed in prophecies. He firmly believed that his destiny was finding out a sea route to the East by sailing westward. The geographical- astronomical book titled “Imago Mundi” written by Cardinal Pierre d’Ailly in 1410 inspired Columbus.
He presented his schemes of voyage to the Portuguese King but he refused to approve them. But the Queen of Spain, Isabella, was ready to help him. Thus on 3 August 1492, with Spanish help, Columbus started his voyage from the port of Palos. Columbus and co-navigators began their voyage in three small ships named Santa Maria, Pinta, and Nina. With the assistance of 40 expert navigators, Columbus himself navigated Santa Maria. The voyage crossing the Atlantic was a long one.
The Spanish established a colonial empire in America. Based on this statement, prepare a seminar paper.
Following Columbus there was a flow of Spanish navigators and migrants into America. They tried to colonize the Central and Southern regions of America. They used their military power, gunpowder, and horses to do it. From the local people, they collected tributes. They made the indigenes work in the gold and silver mines. After the first discovery, the Spanish established a residential centre there. They made the local people work there. With the help of the local chiefs, they made explorations into the interiors of the country and tried to find new gold mines.
Cortes and the Aztecs: Cortes and his warriors were known as Conquistadores. They attacked Mexico. In 1519, Cortes went from Cuba to Mexico. There he established a friendship with a group called Totonacs who wanted to secede from the Aztec rule. The Aztec ruler Montezuma sent an officer to meet Cortes, the officer was terrified at the zeal for war shown by the Spaniards, their gunpowder and horses. Montezuma was made to believe that Cortes was a reincarnation of some deity and he has come to take revenge on him.
Even then the Aztecs resisted the Spaniards. In a battle called The Night of Tears, some 600 conquistadores and Tiaxcalans, their allies, were killed. Cortes was forced to retreat to Tlaxcala. He then made fresh plans against the new king of the Aztecs Cuauhtenoc. By this time many Aztecs began to die from the small pox the Europeans had brought with them. With just 150 soldiers and 30 horses, Cortes moved into Tenochtitlan. The Aztecs felt their end was near and the Aztec king surrendered. Later he was executed.
Cortes completed the conquest of Mexico and then he became the Captain-General of Spain in Mexico. From Mexico, the Spaniards extended their control to Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras.
Pizarro and the Incas: Pizarro was quite different from Cortes. He was a poor man with no education. He joined the army and in 1502 he reached the Caribbean. He had heard that the Inca Empire was full of gold and silver. He tried many times to reach there from the Pacific. Once when he was returning home, he happened to meet the Spanish king. He showed the king some Inca golden plates with beautiful carvings on them. The greed of the king was roused. He promised Pizarro that if he conquered the Inca Empire, he would make him the governor of the place. Pizarro tried to follow the path of Cortes. But when he found that the situation was different in the Inca Empire, he was disappointed.
in 1532, after an internal conflict, Atahualpa occupied the throne of the Inca Empire. At this time Pizarro appeared and trapped the king. The king promised to give Pizarro enough gold to fill a room if he was left free. This was the highest ransom ever recorded in history. But Pizarro did not succumb to this offer. He killed the king and his followers looted the entire Inca Empire. They also occupied it.
The Portuguese occupied Brazil by accident. Describe the colonization of Brazil and the role of Cabral in it.
The Portuguese occupied Brazil by mere accident. In 1500 a fleet of ships under Pedro Alvarez Cabral traveled to India. His ships were caught in a storm and they reached present-day Brazil. Thus Cabral got the name for discovering Brazil. Since Brazil was in the Eastern part of South America which the Pope had allowed the Portuguese to capture, Cabral claimed that Brazil was theirs.
Geographical discoveries had far-reaching impacts in Europe, the Americas, and Africa. Prepare a seminar paper on this topic.
Geographical discoveries definitely had far-reaching impacts on Europe, the Americas, and Africa. From the 15th century, some sea routes from Ocean to Ocean were known. But most of these routes were quite unknown to the Europeans. Not even a single ship had ever reached the Caribbean or the Americas. In the Southern Atlantic, nobody had done any exploration. No ship entered there or traveled toward the Pacific or Indian Ocean. But by the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th, all this became old stories. Adventurous navigators reached all these places.
The discovery of the Americas had big repercussions on Europe, The flow of silver and gold from the newly discovered regions helped international trade and industrialization.
Between 1500 and 1600, each year hundreds of ships loaded with silver from South American mines readied Spain. But neither Spain nor Portugal made use of it for their internal development or welfare of the common people. They used it to develop trade or to build their naval power.
But England, France, Belgium, and Holland benefitted from the discoveries. Their merchants formed joint-stock companies and started trade trips. They established colonies in the newly discovered regions and brought new-world products like tobacco, potato, sugar, coco, pepper, and rubber into Europe. Soon the American produce became familiar to the Europeans. The Europeans then took them to places like India.
Geographical discoveries were ruinous to the indigenous people of the Americas. Many of the local people there were killed. Their culture and lifestyles were destroyed. They had to work like slaves in mines, estates, and mills.
Before the coming of the Europeans, there were some 70 million indigenes in the Americas. After a century and a half, their number was reduced to 3.5 million. It was wars and diseases that destroyed them.
In the duel between ancient American and European cultures, the Aztec-Inca cultures were completely ruined. Europeans used a war strategy that terrified the local people psychologically and physically. This also showed the differences in their values. The local people did not realize the depth of the greed of the Spaniards for gold and silver.
The worst result of geographical discoveries was slavery. Do you agree with this view? Justify.
I agree with the view that slavery was the worst and brutal result of geographical discoveries. Slavery was not a new idea. But in South America, this was a new thing. The special feature of slavery in South America was that the increasing capitalist production system followed this brutal idea. The circumstances in which the slaves worked were terrible. But the Spaniards thought that such type of exploitation was necessary for their economic gains.