The Spanish Empire ruled, invaded and settled in the Americas by colonizing the New World. The Spanish conquerors initiated it and they brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain and Portugal between 15th and 19th centuries. Spain was motivated for colonial expansion mainly due to trade and the spread of the Christian faith through conversions of indigenous people. Portugal colonized parts of South America, mainly Brazil. The Portuguese did not divide the colonial territory in Americas unlike the Spanish; but instead kept the territorial unity. Even after the invasion of the Spanish and the Portuguese, the indigenous people did not cease to believe in their own gods, and continued to celebrate their religious festivals. The intermediaries Chi, Melchor, tomacauna, Catalina, and Pedro de Ayarza found it inevitable to bridge the relations and they did so by adopting some of the Spanish and Portuguese culture while at the same time worshipping their own gods.
Christopher Columbus and his successors established the first Spanish settlement around late fifteen century. The discovery of the gold, silver, pearls and other assets made Spanish to settle and establish control over the indigenous people. The Portuguese settlers arrived at Siio Vicente, in southern Brazil during 1532, and the French established their colony at Rio de Janerio in central Brazil during 1555, but it was taken by the Portuguese in 1560. The Portuguese began their colonization by forming good relationship with the neighboring Indians. The early Portuguese colony depended on those men who were ready to easily move between the very different Indian and Portuguese worlds. They maintained their control over colonies by learning indigenous languages, marrying Amerindian women, and taking part in tribal affairs. The mixed-blood off spring of these relationships often served as cultural mediators. The Portuguese shared similar inquisition with the Spanish empire as well. The civil war between two brothers (Atahualpa and Huascar) broke out to see whom the God would favor on the battlefield. The winner would be nominated as a king. During this war, the Spaniards declared the war and started the conquest of the Inca Empire. Due to fear and abuse of the Spanish, the indigenous populations started to cooperate with Spanish and thus helped the Spanish in build Spanish control and conquest over Latin America.
The political, social, and religious roles of indigenous people changed in major ways after the Spanish invasion. The indigenous people changed their customs and beliefs dramatically. The Spanish made significant efforts for settling the indigenous people into European style which changed their lifestyle. When the Spanish invaded, the attitude of the indigenous people towards the Spanish was hostile and unfriendly. The native leaders were unprepared and surprised from their appearances. The indigenous people used to believe that each aspect of their world connected to their daily life experience. For example, they believed that the Sun, the moon, and the stars are their gods. They also believed that the divine power comes from the natural power such as mountains, trees, streams.
Some groups of people left to Spanish communities because they thought that the Christian God is more powerful than their God. The local populations served as mediators between new Europeans and the communities. For example, Fernandes Nobre lived a dual life while moving to Portuguese and Tupi-Guarani. He was a slave trader along the coast of Africa and a planter in Brazil. They also learned to survive colonial exploitation, protect their followers and their people, maintain the socioeconomic order, and continue celebrating religious rituals. Some group of people joined the labor force to fulfill the Spanish demands. They continued producing food, making clothes, panning gold, and digging silver from mines. They began linking native society among their people and the Spanish colonies.
Gaspar Antonio Chi was a Mayan noble and belonged to Mani. He was an interpreter between the Spanish and Maya, and worked as a notary for Diego de Landa who was a bishop. He knew Latin besides Spanish and Nahuatl. Gaspar allowed the Spanish to join him, and took revenge by letting them enter the rival tribe who had killed his father and his grandfather. When Chi lived in Merida, Yucatan, King Charles V of Spain, with the object of gathering information about his colonies, sent questionnaires and many colonists were not interested in filling those out so they asked Chi to answer them. While filling those out, Chi often wrote about his personal views as to how things have changed for the worse after the Spanish arrived.
Fernandes became Tomacauna by tattooing his legs, arms, and buttocks with red and black inks. In addition, he also tied feathers in hair, walked naked among Indians, and finished all Indian rituals. He performed the dance, sang, smoked tobacco, drank palm wines and attended the Indian ceremonies. He performed all rituals that Indians perform in order to become a part of the Indian culture. Tomacauna lived his life in a complex manner. He had kept the catholic holy faith in his belief, and his practicing religion shows that he had adopted his religion. He also learned how to act and how to survive in dangerous situations.
Don Melchor Caruarayco and his ancestries had been known in sierras of northern Peru. Caruarayco changed the name of Felipe at his baptism and became the first Christian lruraka. He helped to convince the lords of the Chachapoyas people to believe the Spanish rule. He favored his son Melehior to rule. Melchior chiefly helped poor and helpless people for their basic needs. Melchior also adapted to religious changes brought by the Spaniards. The Spanish missionaries were abandoning the practice of and adopting the notion of off springs.
The controversies of Catalina took place where the ships from Mexico were sailing towards Spain. Havana detained a prominent notary of his family for attempting to have Catalina carrying with them to Spain. The case of Catalina proved to complicate colonial ideas of gender and cast. Catalina was a Spanish woman but she was viewed as the servant girl. But the appearances of the Catalina and lack of education proved that she was AmeriIndian. The controversy showed that there was tension and difficulty of maintaining categories of race, cast, and ethnicity. The case of Catalina raised these questions of race, cast, and status throughout the colonial area.
The Pedro de Ayarza gave the perfect example of tensions raised over questions of honor, race, and status. Pedro de Ayarza was a dark skinned and double ancestry contained merchant. He was the captain of local military. He paid surprising fees to lawyers and purchased the official â€œwhitnessâ€ and â€œdonâ€ for his eldest son Ponaciano because he was denied to graduate from the University because of his race. However, he was unable to purchase it for his two younger sons and for himself. Many officials supported this while others feared the consequences of it. But the odd compromise divided his family and it demonstrated the process of legitimacy and honor in Spanish rule.
Due to the Spanish and Portuguese colonization, the culture and size of the indigenous population were significantly altered. Not only that, but the economy and religion of the areas where they colonized were affected too. The population declined tremendously due to disease that the Spanish brought with them and enslavement. Nonetheless, the go-betweens tried to adapt to the new culture by changing their names and convincing their lords to believe in the Spanish and Portuguese rule. The articles of Catalina and Pedro de Ayarza exemplified how race, caste, and gender were issues of concern during the colonial era.