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Economic Backdrop

New Spain’s Economy was established on the principle of mercantilism, which meant that the wealth extracted from the new world would be sent back in order to enrich old Spain. Spain experiences a "Golden Age" in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries because of the vast income they received from New Spain, and used this wealth to finance a myriad of wars in Europe and north Africa. Early in the Spanish settlement of New Spain the Encomienda system was developed. The Encomienda system was run by giving spanish people Villages and large plots of land to control. With this land they would force the Natives to preform Labor in the mines or on plantations. The Encomienda System was not rid of until the early 1700's. All trade proposals with New Spain were required to be approved by the officials in Spain before the proposals could move ahead. The Spanish were tremendous participators in mining, and between 1560 and 1685, New Spain provided 25,000 to 35,000 tons of silver annually to the motherland, Spain. Between 1685 and 1810 the annual amount doubled.1 During the sixteenth century, "Spain held the equivalent of US$1.5 trillion (1990 terms) in gold and silver received from New Spain."2 This extremely large amount of imports from New Spain left homeland Spain utterly dependent on their revenue.

1.) Robert Tignor, Worlds Together Worlds Apart, (New York: W. W. Norton Company, Inc: 2011)
2.) New World Encyclopedia, "Spanish Empire." (Last modified February 6, 2009.)

Political Backdrop

The Hapsburg prince, Charles V, became the king of Spain and also was elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1519 His Empire was so incredibly large, that it was known as the Empire where the sun never sets.1 In 1524, Charles V created the council of the Indies in 1524 that was New Spain's main governing administration; centered in Madrid.2 In order to insure that the King of Spain's commands be followed, Charles V instituted the position of Viceroy, who acted as the ruler of New Spain and reported to the council of the Indies. Then Charles V created admistrational structures known as "audencias," or or judicial courts, which were stationed throughout New Spain, that helped to enforce royal law as well as demand that taxes were collected.


1.) Robert Tignor, Worlds Together Worlds Apart, (New York: W. W. Norton Company, Inc: 2011)
2.) "Colonial Mexico 1519 - 1713 ." (Accessed November 4, 2012.)
3.) Schmoop, "Spanish Colonization." (Last modified 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012.)


Aspects of Culture

Social Backdrop

When the Spanish began settling in New Spain they brought over a vast amount of Pathogens, which they held immunity to but the indigenous peoples did not. The diseases effectively killed 90% of the indigenious people. With such a shortage of population it was virtually impossible for the natives to resist settlement by the Spaniards. There was a clearly defined social hierarchy among the people of New Spain. At the top were the spaniards who were born in spain or "peninsulares." After this group were those who who were born from Spanish parents and they were known as criollos. After the criollos were the people who were born of a mixed heritage between Spanish and native; these people were called mestizos. After the mestizos were the ingenious people of the lands. Finally, at the bottom were the African slaves, who were increasingly more difficult to import and often were killed from their working environment.1

1.) Intense Cogitation, "Social Structure of Colonial Latin America [History notes]." (Last modified 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012.)

AP World History Spanish Colonies In America (Things you may have forgotten in High School)


The religious education was used to convert natives to the Catholic faith. The best education from New Spain was offered to the Peninsulares, who would receive private tutors. Below the Peninsulares were the criollos who only sometimes would obtain education, but aspired to reach the status of the peninsulares. Then below the criollos were the natives as well as the african slaves who received no form of education. The only form of learning that they would receive is from missionaries trying to convert them to Catholicism.

Artistic Innovation

Indios Mecos; Barbados Indians--- Art.jpg
Artist- Cabrera Miguel- oil on canvas- XVIII century.

A popular theme in New Spain is displaying the Indigenous people, and their lives. As you can see here the Artist portrays how the native people would dress as well as how they would obtain food; the bow and arrow. They also show how the mother is the person caring for the children.

A very popular them in art was for the catholic faith and displaying facets of the faith. In this picture you can see many stores from the bible all centered around one person, the virgin of Guadalupe.

Virgin of guadalupe - Peru ---Art.jpg
Virgin of Guadalupe- Anonymous Artist/ PERU- Oil on Fabric
Classic Saltillo sarape---- Art.jpg
Classic Saltillo sarape - textiles- cotton and wool-1725

A large focus for artwork was based on textiles that many of the people from New spain produced.

Screen ---art.jpg
Mexico City, Mexico- Screen- Viceroyalty of New Spain, c. 1740-1760- Oil on canvas, pine, gilding

The Virgin of Sorrows.jpg
Colonial Mexico or Guatemala- La Dolorosa (The Virgin of Sorrows)- c. 1650-1750- Wood, paint, glass, ivory, gilding

Artistic innovation in New Spain was highly related to the Roman Catholic Religion that New Spain lived by.

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Virgin of the Rosary of Guápulo, ca. 1680- Peruvian (Cuzco)- Oil on canvas

Classic literary texts

Miguel de Cervantes
1547-1616. Spanish novelist and poet.


"Liberty is one of the most precious gifts which heaven has bestowed on man; with it we cannot compare the treasures which the earth contains or the sea conceals; for liberty, as for honor, we can and ought to risk our lives; and, on for the other hand, captivity is the greatest evil that can befall man."1

1.)Quote Miguel de Cervantes


A large protestant reformation in Europe drastically decreased the number of Catholics under Spanish control. For this reason the Encomiendas were expected to convert the people within the lands they were given to Catholicism in order to increase the number of Catholics under the Spanish rule. Christian missionaries had armies and prominent officials to force native people as well as slaves into converting to Catholicism. Ways in which they achieved conversion was by destroying sanctuaries and other religious items as well as whipping those who fought back. Within the Approximate 300 years that New Spain was a prominent force, about 12,000 churches were built.1

1.) Palfrey, Dale Hoyt. "Religion and society in New Spain: Mexico's Colonial era." (Last modified 1998. Accessed November 4, 2012.)

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This picture illustrates how the Missionaries possessed their own armies in order to enforce the Catholic Religion


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Cathedral of CordobaBuilt in 1601 in the City of Cordoba Argentina which was founded by Spanish conquistador Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera.

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Church of Santa Prisca

Built in 1751 in the city of Taxco which was at the time one of the most important cites for precious mineral mining for New Spain.

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Acolman, Saint Augustine
This Piece of Architecture was built in the 16th century using forced indian labor and was built using some of the ruins of a pre columbian building.

Observations about what we have learned.

I have learned much from this project about research based protects. I know that I must be able to budget my time because finding reliable sources on the internet takes a very long time and requires a lot of effort. Also I have learned that there are times when there is minimal information concerning a subject that you need to cover.


New World Encyclopedia, "Spanish Empire." Last modified February 6, 2009. Accessed November 4, 2012.

Palfrey, Dale Hoyt. "Religion and society in New Spain: Mexico's Colonial era." Last modified 1998. Accessed November 4, 2012.

Schmoop, "Spanish Colonization." Last modified 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012.

Ekland, Charlotte. "Saint Augustine (San Agustín), Acolman, Mexico, 16th Century." Last modified 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012.

Intense Cogitation, "Social Structure of Colonial Latin America [History notes]." Last modified 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012.

"Colonial Mexico 1519 - 1713 ." Accessed November 4, 2012.

"AP World History Spanish Colonies In America (Things you may have forgotten in High School)." Recorded Feb 24, 2012. YahhitsTaylor . Web,


F: Follows directions but steals material. Both footnotes (or endnotes) and a bibliography (in Chicago Manual of Style format) are expected. You can change text using the T button to create superscript numbers.1 In short, treat the project like writing a research paper. There should be a caption under each picture that gives the name, originator, date, and source. Paragraphs and descriptions should be your writing, not another author's work pasted in with a few key words changed using the thesaurus function in Word.
D: Follows directions, cites sources, doesn't complete the project, is riddled with errors. It is evident that the team failed to use its time well.
C: Follows directions. Pastes the correct items into the correct places but takes no care in explaining the choices made. Uses less than six sources. Text is SLOPPY - no proofing!
B: Follows directions. Describes the choices made using complete sentences and clear language. Labels items correctly. Cites sources. Organizes the visuals. The paragraphs are clearly written, but general in nature.
A: Does B - but, shows some extra care, thought and research. An A has a "Wow" factor. This does not mean more color or flying moneys. It means that the content selected does a great job TEACHING about the culture of the in that region in that time period.

This is the rubric that I have used in the past. It functions well as a checklist.