Thursday, June 30, 2011

Elizabeth I and the Problems of Queenship

Hey y'all. Before I begin to write on the subject of Elizabeth I and the Problems of Queenship, I would like to apologize for not being on lately to post an entry or two. I had some trouble with my internet last week, but everything is fixed now and I'm ready to get back in to the swing of things! As always, I hope you enjoy this post.

Elizabeth I was the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She was born a princess but her mother was executed two and a half years after her birth, and Elizaneth was labeled an illegitimate child. Elizabeth reigned as Queen regnant of England and Ireland after her half-siblings Edward VI and Mary I from November 1558 until her death. She is often referred to as the Virgin Queen because she never married, and is known for the leader during the time of defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, giving credit to "Protestant winds" (a storm at sea).

Now, the problems of queenship
~~Salic Law forbade female monarchs on the "Continent"
~~She was an illegitimate daughter
~~She was taking over from the turbulent rule of legitimate (Catholic) Queen Mary, her half-sister
~~Could she lead troops? Would she lose grip of the kingdom through marriage? Was she tough enough to rule in the rough world of British politics? Can a woman be the Supreme Authority of the Church of England?
~~She needed to overcome significant negative stereotypes about women in the public sphere

Married to the Nation
~~She called her own shots and used her sexuality to gain allies
~~She believed in religion without fanaticism
~~She was tough enough--she signed her own cousin's death warrant

Problems to Solve

Just like there are problems to solve with a kingship and a presidency, Queen Elizabeth I also had many problems to solve during her reign as Queen of England.

~~The currency supply in Europe doubled thanks to Spanish mining which triggered mass inflation.
~~The English are early adapters of calorie-dense American foods like potatoes and the new frost-resistant wheat.
~~The population soars from 3 million in 1500 to 5 million by 1630; there is a lot of productive potential but wages are falling even as prices are going through the roof--poverty is a huge problem.

To solve these problems, Elizabeth I aggressively pursues policies designed to build economy--assisted manufacturers, looked outward to new markets, competed with more established mercantile nations such as East India, the Turks, and Africa, and also hired privateers like Sir Francis Drake and John Hawkins who would steal from the Spanish to benefit the Crown.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

England's Early Empire

England, 1500-1600s

England, as is common knowledge, is an island shared with Wales and Scotland. In the 16th and 17th centuries, England was considered to be a very violent and ill-educated backwater by the rest of Europe. England had tried to colonize Ireland in the 12th century, but their effort had petered out.

Due to natural reproduction among the lower social classes, population increased and with it came the beginnings of urban migration due to the poor economically integrating with the rest of Europe; there was little to sell and mass poverty was growing increasingly worse and inflation was rising.

Also during this time, political factions were held down by a strong king, Henry VIII, with a civil war, the War of the Roses, not long past. Henry VIII wanted total sovereignty in legal and spiritual matters. This came to a head when he wanted a divorce so he could get a new wife and (hopefully) a male heir. He broke from the Catolic Church and declared himself the head of the Church of England. Because of this, there was religious turmoil; England became enemies with Spain and France; and the dynasty was not secured. A male heir, Prince Edward, was late in coming and he was sickly. There were plenty of threats to domestic security and England was in need of money.

Beginnings of "Reclamation"
~~1539--King Henry VIII asserts his rights to ownership of all Church property (knocks down monasteries and takes stuff)
~~1540--King Henry VIII declares himself King of Ireland on the basis of old claims (invitation, right of conquest)
~~Violet religious reforms--attacks on Catholicism and "folk religions" (beliefs in the supernatural, animism, druidism--the "old ways" that predated Christianity in Ireland)
~~Henry VIII dies and great turmoil ensues in England
~~A series of Henry's children (Edward, Mary, Elizabeth) take the thrown and all have to deal with civil unrest
~~Irish projects go on the back burner for about 25 years.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Creating Empires Changes Europeans (short post)

~~Changes their political systems
~~Changes their economy
~~Changes their moral and religious lives
~~Changes their view of human rights and liberty--albeit very inconsistantly (as will be seen in later posts)

Rivals in the Caribbean: French v. Dutch (short post)

(pictured: Dutch Man-of-War and various other ships)

Although the Spanish and English were known for their colonies in the Caribbean, a little known fact is that the French and Dutch also had colonies in the Caribbean.

The French had established colonies at St. Christopher, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and other islands in the West Indies after 1625. The Dutch, through their West India Company, expanded into islands in search of a lucrative trade in sugar cane and slaves.

The presence of so many Europeans vying for supremacy in the Caribbean made it a very violent and pirate-ridden place...think "Pirates of the Caribbean" on crack.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rivals for the Northeast: The Dutch

From 1492 to the early 1600s, Spain, France, England, and the Netherlands were in a race to see which empire could not only spread their influences far and wide but also to see which could find an all-water route to the Asian subcontinent of India.All four empires failed, but all four empires found success in the New World. In New York, it was the French, Dutch, and later the English who found great success.

Albany, formally known as Fort Orange, was settled by the Dutch in early 1600s after being discovered by Henry Hudson. Looking for a faster route to Asia in 1609, he explored the river which was later named for him, northward from the island of Manhattan.

Hudson's crew on his ship, the Half Moon (pictured), were under stress and angry that that no route to Asia had been found. The crew mutanied and sent Hudson, his son, and any supporters onto a small rowboat adrift in what is now Hudson Bay without food and palpable water.

Despite that, the Dutch set up New Amterdam in 1626 at the mouth of the Hudson River as a way to protect its valuable upriver posts, which was later named New York by the English who took over, was founded with Fort Orange at the hub.

By 1664, nearly 10,000 Dutch were settled in Fort Orange when the English captured the fort and renamed it Albany in honor of the Duke of Albany. Though it was technically part of Britain's crown until the American Revolution, Dutch merchants continued to influence the city. Under Dutch guidance, Albany played an inportant role in maintaining communication between the French British, and the Iroquois.

Unlike the French and the Spanish at the time, the Dutch didn't want cultural change, they just wanted profits. The Dutch made no attempt to convert Indians and even prided themselves on religious tolerance and their ability to mind their own business--this made the Dutch colony unusually attractive to the Protestant religious dissenters and Jewish exiles. New Amsterdan had the official policy of taking everyone who will behave themselves and pay taxes; from its earliest beginnings, it was a thriving port town with people of multi-racial and multi-lingual decents.

The Dutch traded with the Indians upriver because the Indians were eager to get guns they had seen and been able to field-test in 1609. However, not everything was well and good. The Dutch bullied the Indians around modern-day Kingston and tried to seize farmland so they would leave. The Dutch authorized large tracts of land to anyone who would bring over 50 settlers, these people were called Patroons and an example of a Patroon would be the famous Killean Van Rennsalaer. Although many Dutch settlers came over, it was hard to get very many people since the introduction of guns had made the Dutch colony a very violent place.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The French, continued...

Although the previous post is titled "The French in Mainland North America", it was primarily about the first and second voyages of Jacque Cartier and there is so much more to information about the French in mainland North America to be provided. This blog post will briefly discuss the French cultural adaptation, the significance of the fur trade, religious development, and the founding of Quebec by Samuel de Champlain.

French Cultural Adaptation

Coureur des bois was a term meaning "Runners in the Woods". They acted as field representatives to deliver French-made goods to the Indian villages and to take back packs of fur to the French villages. The Coureur des bois adopted indigenous dress, learned the different languages, sought cultural knowledge, and entered into long-term relationships with the women. This kind of relationship was called marriage a la facon du and was absolutely essential to develop kin networks. The Coureur des bois embraced intercultural marriage and raised bi-racial children. Both males and females who were born from such intercultural marriages rose to positions of importance in the fur trade in the 17th century.

Significance of the Fur Trade

~~Allowed cultural integration--trade was part of a network of kinship and social obligations; trade gave French a foothold in this world, otherwise they would have been outsiders.
~~Gave the French influence without the expense of an army.
~~The fur trade was perceived as mutually beneficial by hosts--swapping technology for by-products of teh hunt; both sides think they're getting the better end of the deal.
~~Labor-saving from French--hunting done by Indian men, hide prep and transport done by Indian women.
~~However, in conjunction with pandemics, touches of a contest for territory and population will shake Northeastern America.

Religious Development

Jesuit priests arrived in New France inspired by the success of the Spanish Franciscan monks; they wanted to convert North American Indians to Catholicism, but realized that they would have to do it without the benefit or an army or, often, the support of the other Frenchmen in the colony, especially the coureurs des bois who saw the Jesuits as prissy nuisances.

The Jesuits abandoned the idea early on that the Native Americans will flock to them or that they can gather everyone together in agricultural peasant communities because in coastal New France, most of the Indians were light and mobile farmers.

The Jesuits went with the Indians and with the coureurs des bois into the woods and would preach to them along the way. By doing this, the Jesuits tried to create a feeling of shared suffering and sacrifice.

"Flying Missions", or the set of letters written by these Jesuit missionaries produced historians' most important body of knowledge about Northern Woodland Indians and was published in Jesuit Relations.

The Progressive Era's Reform Movements: A Summary

The Progressive Era was a period of widespread social activism and political reform in the U.S. from the 1890s to the 1920s. The main objec...