SAQs for APUSH Topic 1.5 — Labor, Slavery, and Caste in the Spanish Colonial System

Four short answer questions designed to help students review for the annual exam and that relate to Spanish treatment of and attitude toward those who lived in North America from 1492–1607 but were not born in Spain.

  1. The Spanish, following the arrival of Columbus, developed a pyramid shaped caste system that incorporated, and carefully defined the status of, the diverse population of Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans in their empire. Where could Europeans (the Spanish in particular) be found on this pyramid? Where could the Native Americans be found? The Africans?
  2. The Spanish, following the arrival of Columbus, developed an encomienda system. What specifically did the encomienda system grant a Spanish colonial leader. What did the encomienda system require of the Native Americans? Briefly describe one economic effect of the encomienda system. Briefly describe one social effect of the encomienda system.
  3. The Spanish, following the arrival of Columbus, imported enslaved Africans to labor in plantation agriculture and mining. By the mid-1500’s, in what part of the present-day United States could one find evidence of this labor?
  4. The Valladolid debate (1550–1551) was the first moral debate in European history to discuss the rights and treatment of an indigenous people by European colonizers. Breifly describe the positions taken in this debate by Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda? Also the postion taken by Bartolomé de las Casas.

High school APUSH teacher with much in-class and online teaching experience. Also a blogger, keynote speaker, editor, podcast host, and conference presenter.