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CHAPTER 15 Territorial Changes in the Hispanic New World: Contractions, Expansions, Adjustments In the last decades of the sixteenth century and throughout the seventeenth, far-reaching territorial changes occurred in the Spanish Indies and in Brazil. The dominions claimed de jure by Spain suffered substantial contractions; the lands occupied de facto by both Spain and Portugal expanded enormously, and Portuguese expansion produced major readjustments of the territorial claims of the two Hispanicpowers in South America. Territorial Contraction The Beginnings of Northern EuropeanColonization Territorial contraction in HispanicAmericaresulted not from the withdrawal of Spain and Portugal from lands they had already settled but from northern European colonization in regions they had left unoccupied. During the sixteenth century the French and the English had attempted to plant settlements along the coasts of North and South America, but these undertakings were illplanned and supported and came to bad ends. By the end of the 1500s circumstances had changed. The northern European nations had grown stronger and more able to support overseas empires. Their expandingeconomiesrequired more raw materials and larger markets, and mercantile elements had gained a greater voice in their governments. Permanent colonies in America could not only facilitate the penetration of Hispanic American commerce but would provide a direct source of furs, dyes, hides, and plantation products. Thousands 305 3 0 6 T E R R I T O R I A L C H A N G E S I N T H E N E W W O R L D of French, English, and Dutch had crossed the North and South Atlantic. They were familair with its windsand currents and with the lay of the land along the east coast of the American hemisphere and in the Caribbean. By the end of the sixteenth century, also, northern European naval power had increased vis-a-vis that of Spain and Portugal, and the rule of "No peace beyond the line" allowed foreign intrusions in America without disrupting international relations in Europe. Insofar as northern Europeans needed a legal justification for doing what they would have done anyway, they countered the Hispanic claim ofutipossidetis de jure (right of possession by law), based on the papal donation and prior discovery, with the doctrine of uti possidetis de facto (right of possession by effective occupation). Northern European colonization began modestly and in regions far removed from Spanish and Portuguese attention. Around 1599, the Dutch built two small forts on the lower Amazon and, in the early 1600s, established posts in the regions that became known as the Guianas. These settlements were little more than factories, although some small-scale planting took place around them. In 1611 the Dutch built Fort Orange at the mouth of the Hudson as a fur trading post. The English, most notably Sir Walter Raleigh, also attempted to settle in the Guianas in the 1590s and in the early 1600s but failed. Much farther north,however, they managed to establish their first permanent colony at Jamestown in 1607. The Naval Offensive of The Dutch West India Company In the 1620s northern European colonization in the New World gained momentum and began to intrude into more sensitive parts of lands claimed by Spain and Portugal. The initiative came from the Dutch West India Company, chartered in 1621 on the model of the Dutch East India Company of 1602. Shortly after its founding, the West India Company began to send powerful naval expeditions into American waters. In 1624, one of them took Bahia but was driven out by a combined Spanish and Portuguese fleet. Four years later, the Dutch admiral Piet Heyn fulfilled the dream of generations of privateers by capturing the Mexican treasure fleet in Cuban waters. The booty came to 15,000,000 florins, enough to pay the company's debts and declare a 50 percent dividend to stockholders. During the next two years, other Dutch commanders ranged through the Caribbean, ravaging its islands and coasts. T E R R I T O R I A L C H A N G E S I N T H E N E W W O R L D 3 0 7 The Dutch Conquest of Brazil Piet Heyn's success also allowed the company to capitalize large new enterprises and it turned its attention to Brazil,this time to the rich sugar lands of the northeast. In 1630 its forces took Recife and during the next few years extended its occupation along the coast southward to the Rio Sao Franciscoand northward...


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