The American Pageant: A History of the Republic Advanced by David M. Kennedy

By David M. Kennedy

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Their advanced agricultural practices, based *Much controversy surrounds estimates of the pre-Columbian Native American population. The figures here are from William M. , The Native Population of the Americas in 1492, rev. ed. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992). qxd 1/3/05 3:37 PM Page 7 Examining the Evidence Making Sense of the New World This map from 1546 by Sebastian Münster represents one of the earliest efforts to make geographic sense out of the New World (Nouus Orbis and Die N˚uw Welt on the map).

The Portuguese appetite for slaves was enormous and dwarfed the modest scale of the pre-European traffic. Slave trading became a big business. Some forty thousand Africans were carried away to the Atlantic sugar islands in the last half of the fifteenth century. Millions more were to be wrenched from their home continent after the discovery of the Americas. In these fifteenth-century Portuguese adventures in Africa were to be found the origins of the modern plantation system, based on largescale commercial agriculture and the wholesale exploitation of slave labor.

Ten years later the Frenchman Jacques Cartier journeyed hundreds of miles up the St. Lawrence River. To secure the northern periphery of their New World domain against such encroachments and to convert more Indian souls to Christianity, the Spanish began to fortify and settle their North American borderlands. In a move to block French ambitions and to protect the sea-lanes to the Caribbean, the Spanish erected a fortress at St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565, thus founding the oldest continually inhabited European settlement in the future United States.

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