Slavery in the Spanish New World colonies

Slavery In The Spanish New World Colonies

Slavery in the Spanish New World colonies

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Slavery in the Spanish colonies began with the enslavement of the local indigenous peoples in their homelands by Spanish settlers. Enslavement and production quotas were used to force the local labor to bring a return on the expedition and colonization investments. Slavery was rampant and abusive during the first decades of the colonization, costing many thousands of indigenous lives through forced labor in mines, and depopulating the West Indies of their native population in a matter of decades. This made colonists require a new source of labor sparking the transatlantic slave trade.

After decades of pressure, primarily from priests and friars who argued that slavery was incompatible with Christianity, the Council of the Indies, mandated to protect the Native People in the Laws of the Indies, stopped the encomienda system and the enforced slavery of the natives. It did not however stop forced labor in the Spanish colonies which took on a new guise under the repartimiento.

Indigenous people enslaved by the Spanish

Spanish colonization of the Americas began with the capture and subjugation of local Indigenous peoples of the Americas, first of the Native Caribbean people by Columbus on his four voyages. Initially, enslavement represented one means by which the Columbus and other Castilians (Spaniards) mobilized native labor and met production quotas. Unlike the Portuguese slave trade, los Reyes Católicos were religiously against developing that for Castile and Aragon with...
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