Summary: This reading chronicles the exploits of two famous (or infamous) Europeans, Vasco Nunez de Balboa and Francis Drake. They were both instrumental in the events that led up to the development of the colonization of what is now known as the Isthmus of Panama. Drive mostly by the allure of silver and gold, these two men exploited the Indian populations and African slaves for personal and national ambitions. Pay particular attention in this reading to the unintended consequences of depending on slaves to extract the riches of this region.
Note: This is an optional assignment. If you elect not to do this assignment, there will be no consequences positive or negative to your quarter average.
- Reading due
- First draft due 7 June.
- Comments due
- Final draft due 9 June.
Essay: To often we have a simplistic and naive stereotype of the role of slaves in history, as passive victims living at the whim of their masters. As you read these pages look for several examples where this clearly is an inaccurate perception of the relationship between slaves and slave owners (individuals and slave owning governments). Use these examples to demonstrate the active and powerful role Indian and African slaves played in the economy and culture of the region discussed in this reading.