Friday, September 11, 2009

Spanish Success in Florida

Though England, France and Spain all had their own stake in Florida, I believe the most successful empire was the Spanish. Though they all had their own problems with the environment and the indigenous people—each empire had high aspirations for Florida and as their dreams began to dissolve, so did their views of the Indians—the Spanish were able to build up an impressive mission system and, though their increased racialization of Indians resulted in some skirmishes with the native people, their conflicts were not like the French. The failures of the French, and the racialization towards the Indians, led to massive military campaigns against people like the Natchez, as well as devastating many smaller tribes nearby. Though the English fostered trade and contact with the Indian people, they arrived later and, like the Spanish and French before them, racialized the Indians for their own benefit. Though they worked closely with the Indians and attempted to “civilize” them, when this is unsuccessful, the only other choice they try to pacify them. When this doesn’t work their only choice is to annihilate them. This cycle of peace and conflict continues with the British. The Spanish, as the first in Florida, maintain a presence there for centuries, conducted vast missionary projects and established one of Florida’s oldest settlements.

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