At the time of the quincentennial commemoration of the Columbian voyages in 1992, historical scholarship on the Atlantic world revolved around the theme of "encounters." More recent research emphasizes the centrality of violence in the Columbian exchange. This article introduces the three following essays presented in this issue and analyzes the historical literature dealing with ethnic and religious violence in the early modern Atlantic world. Focusing particularly on the dynamics of captivity and atrocity, the author suggests that the patterns of violence developed in the early modern Atlantic world may have served as a model for the globalization of violence.
When Spanish settlers went to the Americas, they took with them institutions that had been central to their colonization of medieval Iberia, including the Inquisition. While the main interests of the crown and the church were to prevent the establishment of Judaism, Islam, and Protestant Christianity in the New World, the first bishop of New Spain, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, was soon drawn into applying the rigors of the Inquisition against the paganism of some thirty, mostly indigenous, leaders in the years 1536–1543. This paper analyzes the second trial in the series, that of the native sorcerer Martin Ocelotl, which alarmed religious authorities about the continuation of paganism in the Valley of Mexico and became a turning point in the escalation of religious violence against native leaders.
Staden, Hans, ca. 1525-ca. 1576. Warhaftige Historia und Beschreibung eyner Landtschafft der wilden, nacketen, grimmigen Menschfresser Leuthen in der Newenwelt America gelegen.
Cannibalism -- Brazil.
This article examines the ways sixteenth-century reports of cultural cannibalism among the Tupinamba of Brazil were employed strategically by Europeans and Brazilians in the contest for economic, spiritual, and cultural dominance in the Atlantic world. By focusing on the experience of captivity among the Tupinamba by Hans Staden of Germany, this essay also explores the use of the cannibal by one ordinary man, as he negotiated dangerous limitations on identity and free will in the context of Reformation and imperial battles to possess both bodies and souls.
North America -- Discovery and exploration -- English.
Violence -- North America -- History.
This article examines the interconnection of notions of fear and love during English exploration and colonization in the Atlantic world in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. English promotional literature argued that the English were uniquely qualified to establish a loving relationship with the native peoples they encountered. Increasing violence, however, presented a significant challenge to that image. By recasting intercultural violence as a natural component of a hierarchical yet intimate relationship, English accounts placed otherwise questionable actions into an acceptable framework that did not threaten their carefully constructed image as protectors of dependent Indians.