Europeans and Africans in British and Spanish America Essay
The relations between the Europeans and Africans in British and Spanish America can be characterized by many similarities as well as differences. It is important to note that the Spaniards began to develop relations with Africans in Europe, early before invading Americas in the 15th century. Thus, enslaved Africans and black conquistadors came to Americas with the Spaniards in order to invade new lands and receive opportunities for gaining more wealth. From this perspective, Africans were also oriented to improving their living conditions there, as well as the white settlers. In spite of the fact that Africans remained enslaved by the Spaniards in America, they succeeded in sustaining fraternal communities, and they also focused on developing their specific religions and culture. Many free Africans had the opportunity to change their social status because of participating in the military activities. Thus, the Spaniards were inclined to use Africans more in military activities than as the free or cheap workforce.
The relations between Africans and Europeans in Spanish America can be discussed as diverse because black settlers played different roles in the society, including the roles of soldiers, servants, and slaves. It is possible to state that Africans and Europeans in Spanish Africa developed close relations, and constant interactions of two cultural groups contributed significantly to the development of the new society in Spanish America. There were no active military conflicts in Spanish America to demonstrate the resistance of the Africans to the rule of the Spaniards because the black settlers discussed their position of slaves and servants as the misfortune, and they often oriented to the examples of successful blacks who lived as free people in plantations. White Europeans paid much attention to the life of the black communities because of the history of long relations between the Spaniards and Africans. As a result, the life of black slaves in the Spanish plantations differed significantly from the life of Africans in the British colonies.
From this point, it is important to pay attention to the fact that those Africans who lived in North America were focused on developing more distant relations with the white settlers because the number of black slaves was various in different colonies, depending on the production activities in North America. During a long period of time, Africans in the British colonies were perceived as only slaves or as a source of the cheap workforce for white masters. Black laborers developed contacts mainly with white laborers, and rarely, with white masters. That is why, the communication was limited, and white settlers used all the chances to accentuate their superiority. As a result, the discrimination of Africans was typical not only for upper classes but also for the lowest classes because of the accentuated difference in the color of skin. Those Africans who worked as servants were more legally protected in North America, and their rights were even mentioned in the documents regulating the life in colonies. These blacks were discussed as having a higher social status in the communities. In spite of the fact the relations between Africans and Europeans in British America were not as close as in Spanish America, many blacks pointed at the opportunities for improving their social status while being freed by the masters. The life of Africans in different colonies could not be compared with the life of blacks in Spanish America.
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