In Chapter 3, Taylor writes not only of the initial conquest of the land known as New Spain, but also of the development and regulation of the new empire. I had previously not known about how far the drastic decrease in population spread into North America due to the Spanish. To find slaves, Spanish went from Venezuela to Florida to South Carolina (Taylor, p. 52). This, coupled with disease, devastated the surrounding areas. Another topic I found interesting in this chapter was the thought and actions associated with consolidation and the Mexican natives’ attitude toward the Spanish. The conquistadores were good at conquering, but not at ruling a long lasting colony. The monarchs wanted to control, tax, and establish Spanish institutes in New Spain (Taylor, p. 59). Trying to manage the colonies from across the Atlantic proved extremely difficult. The priests wanted to convert the natives through peaceful relations, unlike the the conquistadores (Taylor, p. 59). Some Mexican Natives thought they could “outlast their Spanish masters” just as they had done with previous invasions, but the Spanish were far too technologically advanced (Taylor, p. 60). The bullion influenced the Spanish economy and the rest of Europe. The influx of gold and silver caused inflation, which was exacerbated by the weakened manufacturing industry. (Taylor, p. 63).
In Chapter 5, Taylor mainly focuses on the French involvement in Canada and their relationship with the Natives. The French and the Natives were both dependent on the fur trade. The Natives were dependent on the modern materials the French produced and traded. The French were dependent on the fur for profit, but the trade also provided protection from the Natives. Taylor portrays the French as being taken of advantage of by the Natives. The Natives “negotiated from a position of strength (Taylor, p. 93). The Natives took advantage of different fur traders and would travel to find the best price. As Sylvia pointed out, the Natives expected the French to be their allies in intertribal wars. The fur traders kept their posts small, to discourage more traders in the area.