APUSH Terms Periods 2 and 3

Terms in this set (51)

In the eighteenth century, and especially after 1750, New Spain fostered settlement of New Mexico by a system of mercedes, or land grants, given to prestigious individuals and to groups of more humble status. This approach fostered respect for Puebloan lands and also increased tensions with Navajos and Apaches. In these villages, bonds of godparentage, work on the acéquías (irrigation ditches), and the Penitentes (a lay Catholic brotherhood) provided social cohesion within a pattern of dispersed settlement.

In the Texas region at the close of the seventeenth century, Spain responded to expanding French settlements in the Mississippi River valley, and even incursions along the Red River, by establishing two small missions in 1690 and five more in 1716, and then by situating a presidio (1718) at the Río San Antonio. From this emerging center several more missions were founded, and for over a century priests laboriously evangelized the Indians of Texas. In the Texas War for Independence (1836), a Mexican siege of Mission San Antonio de Valero gained enduring fame as Alamo.

Concerned about Russian fur-trapping and raiding settlements along the coast of Alta California in the 1760s, Spanish authorities initiated another program of temporal and spiritual conquest. Under the leadership of José de Gálvez, appointed visitador general by King Carlos III, and Father Junipero Serra, Catalonian soldiers and Franciscan priests founded several presidios and twenty-one missions along the Pacific coast, from San Diego (1769) to Solano (1823). Although some rebellions erupted--at San Diego in 1775, at San Gabriel in 1785, and at Santa Barbara, Santa Inez, and La Purísima in 1824--apathy and disease (especially syphilis, introduced by the soldiers) mostly reigned at the missions. Argument continues about the priests' treatment of the Indians, responsibility for the precipitous decline in the Indian populations, and the legitimacy of the whole effort to so radically change, often by force, Indian culture and beliefs.

Generally speaking, the mission effort overwhelmingly failed. Disease, indifference, rebellion, and the resilience of Native beliefs meant that most Indian peoples never genuinely converted to Spanish ways. In Texas in 1823-1824 and in California in 1833, Mexico "secularized" the missions, converting them into simple parish churches. The Indians were to have regained lands preempted by the missions, but most settled in towns or returned to their original habitats, and former army personnel occupied the mission lands.

Several settlements in the Spanish borderlands grew into metropolises--especially Los Angeles (1781) and San Jose (1777)--but Spain founded only pueblos (small towns) and several lasting villas (large towns), most notably Santa Fe (1610), Albuquerque (1716), and San Antonio. Each city remains a magnet for contemporary Mexican immigrants who move al norte (to the north), to places their predecessors founded and named. Although Spain ceded Florida to England in 1763, St. Augustine remains the oldest European-founded city in the United States.
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