The agonizing process of symbiosis between two contrasting cultures, the Indian and the European, began when Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas on October 12, 1492.1 His voyages spread the religion, language, culture, and lifestyle of Spain in the New World.2 The…
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he financial means for Spain that allowed it to dominate Europe for nearly one hundred years.4 Mining silver, however, was not an uncomplicated business undertaking and required planning and workforce management strategies. The Spaniards developed labor systems that were not beneficial to the natives, however. The discovery of silver in Spanish America changed the lives of natives through developing the mita service and importing black slaves, which transformed the latter’s socio-economic, demographic, and cultural characteristics.
The industry of silver mining was the biggest and most complex industries in the Indies, which altered the economic and social infrastructures of the natives in different degrees through its innovations with the mita system. Silver mining was concentrated in north central Mexico and the highlands of Upper Peru.5 Mining it needed a massive workforce with a combination of skilled and unskilled laborers.6 The skilled laborers maintained the shafts, drainage, and ventilation systems, while the unskilled ones extracted the ore from the pits.7 The state changed the economic and social organization of the natives, in order to fit the labor needs of the silver mines.8 The Spaniards developed its specialized workforce system through combining private organizational efforts and state-controlled public services.9 In Peru, Don Francisco Toledo elaborated Spain’s forced labor system through combining Inca-based mita system and recently made Spanish labor practices.10 The mita system obliged native adult laborers to work at faraway mines. Miners received very poor remuneration and worked at perilous mine conditions. They were paid in silver, but the costs of food, lodging, tools, and clothing left them with nothing. The owners of the mines made extra money from selling these basic commodities to the natives, since the mines were far from communities. In Mexico, native families experienced socio-economic transition from being communal-work based
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(“History of Latin America Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 words - 1”, n.d.)
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(History of Latin America Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 Words - 1)
“History of Latin America Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 Words - 1”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/history/1602635-history-of-latin-america.
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