English 328, NEW FRANCE

Let’s compare one text from the New Spain unit with that of the New France unit.  What do you see in terms of similar/different concerns between the two European nations, and/or their depictions of indigenous nations?

20 thoughts on “English 328, NEW FRANCE

  1. The biggest difference that I saw between Columbus’s New Spain text and the Louis Hennepin text was in the long-term objectives of the Spanish and the French. Columbus, as well the other Spaniards we have read from for the course, were focused intensely on spreading Christianity, converting the indigenous peoples from what they viewed as Satanic faith to Catholicism. The French, on the other hand, seem primarily focused on the “fertility of the Indian Country,” including the vast southern territory of Louisiana. There was little talk of landscapes and wildlife in the Spanish texts beyond simply recounting what was there, but in Hennepin’s text he tells with details about the animals, landscapes, waterways, and climate that indicate a clear interest in the land above everything else. Hennepin mentions conversion in his letter to King Louis XIV more as a necessary step towards making the the natives more like the French for the sake of marriage and customs, rather than direct subjugation as the Spanish used with the Aztecs. The French did not travel and land in Canada with the immediate intent to convert indigenous nations that they came across, though that becomes a goal of theirs as they begin to recognize, with narrow perspective, that the “savages” they come across behave in uncivilized ways. This is where the French and Spanish texts are very similar, because they both show a complete disregard for the way of life that they themselves have “discovered” centuries into its existence. Both countries’ marvel at the exotic strangeness of the natives, then essentially refer to them as another animal in the new world that will have to be tamed.

    • I also did that distinction in where in the New Spain they highly focused on the spreading Christianity, while in the New France it was not their objective. The objective of the French was to have a treaty to be able to trade raw materials. Anthor thing I found interesting is that the Spainards were more like up in their faces to change their way of living, instead the French were more kinda laid back.

  2. One of the biggest similarities that I saw between interactions of the French and Spanish in the New World is the spread of religion. Both the French and Spanish try to convert the Natives and introduce them to the new religions and customs attached to the religions. It definitely seems like the Spanish are more focused on the conversion of Natives to Christianity than the French are converting Natives to catholicism. The French are definitely focused on creating an empire. They document aspects of Native life and the characteristics of their customs and the land where they live. There are sections that talk about how Natives care for themselves, and their health. The section on marriages is interesting as well as the end of the section on the physical conditions, their descriptions of the Natives are very detailed and super.

    • Yes, I do agree with you on that that I saw the similiarity of both parties are trying to spread their religion but with a different branch of Christainity but the Spainards in my opinion are more pushy than the French, yes the French did want to spread their religion but not as intensly as the Spainards.

    • You’ve made a really good point here! Both the French and the Spanish had a goal of conquering whatever they could in the new world, and spreading whatever their beliefs were onto whoever they encountered. It’s interesting to note how the Spanish simply wanted Christianity to be spread, while the French more specifically wanted Catholicism to be a part of the native’s lives. Also, it should be noted that the two countries viewed the natives as uncivilized people who needed to be taught and saved by the white Christian.

  3. A similarity I see between the New Spain and New France texts is how they view natives. Clearly, for both New Spain and New France, they both used the same tactic of befriending natives and them backstabbing them. In the letter to King Louis XIV, it was even written: “…that as soon as we have been able to tame them and win their friendship…” (pg. 182). They speak about the natives as if they were animals to control. A difference between the two texts would be how New Spain was more focused on spreading Christianity and eliminating other native cultures. Reading about New France I would say that while they would also spread their religion they were more focused on land and expanding the territory that they already have more than anything else.

  4. The biggest similarities I see between New Spain and New France are the colonizers perception of the indigenous people and the religious aspects of their colonization. Both Spain and France view the native people as pawns in their quest for more world power, and spreading their religion is a part of what both Spain and France are trying to spread. New Spain’s “The Miraculous Apparition of the Beloved Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, at Tepeyacac, near Mexico City” is essentially religious propaganda and our reading on New France constantly mentions “the Heavens” when describing the earthquake as a religious event (178). One difference that I noticed between the Spain and France writings was the explicit use of the word “empire” in the letter to King Louis XIV (182). While I am sure that Spain would have liked to claim land in the Americas, it isn’t stated so clearly as in the letter to King Louis XIV that the Americas had monetary value as a conquerable land.

  5. The biggest similarity between the New Spain Unit and the French Unit that I have noticed is the spread of religion. In the New Spain Unit, the Spaniards were intensely trying to spread christianity. For the French, it is about converting souls and creating empires. A difference between the texts is the details about wildlife, and landscapes. The French texts go into much detail about the wildlife and landscapes which we did not get much of in the New Spain unit.

  6. Hello Everyone! I hope every is staying safe!
    The comparison I saw with the New Spain and the New France is that during the New Spain the Indians acted in a way that was rebellious and throwing out all the norms and traditions that the Spaniards considered in a good way of living, especially when a came to religion. “We had told them that we were Christians and worshipped one God alone named Jesus Christ, who had suffered His death and passion to save us (45), indicates the New Spain was more pushy in getting the Indians to like their religion. While, the New France they were not as pushy when it came to religion, “If we sat to them: “Pray to God, brother, with me, they pray and they repeat word for word all the prayers you teach them. (183). Another aspect that I found very interesting is that the French were a little bit more laid back when it came to the traditions of the Indians, while in the New Spain, the traditions of the Indians seemed like an abomination. The French loved the Indian women’s , “ If the Indian women were capable of contracting marriage, we might marry as many as we would to our Frenchwomen (192), which means the French did like the indigenous women and have the mind set that yes we can have mixed race couples, instead of the New Spain they wanted the Indians to be separate and not have mixed race marriages.

    Also, I remember learning in school that the French were more considerate than the Spaniards when it came to how they would treat the Indians, even though both parties did show some actions of not understanding but what I can remember the French did not use the Indians as slaves and more as workers not like the Spaniards that used the Indians as slaves.

  7. As mentioned in Spanish and French texts, both European nations were concerned with “serving their King” and spreading religion. The French did not necessarily seem urgent in converting indigenous people to Christianity. On the other hand, the Spaniards would do anything in their power to dominate the natives and spread their religion. I noticed that the same descriptions and ideas were written in Columbus’s letter on discovering America as well as in the French description of the Indians; the natives were looked upon as foreign creatures never studied before, and their way of life and culture was beyond anything else. My favorite line from the reading was this: “For if France, as you say, is a little Earthly Paradise, why did you leave it?” Both the indigenous nations referenced from New Spain and New France were disinclined in changing their religious ways, and the Spaniards interpreted that roughly.

  8. The New Spain and New France texts are very similar as both groups completely take existing lands and groups as their own. Both the Spanish and the French rename the land to reflect their own culture and have the belief that their culture is superior to the native groups already living in that area. The French have a similar attitude to the Spanish as they view the natives as less civilized and speak about trying to tame the indigenous people and convert them to Christianity. One difference interesting difference was Louis Hennepin’s consideration of the indigenous group’s origin. This made it appear as if the French were trying to understand the group’s culture; however, he quickly states that it is unknown and begins to criticize the native culture and compare it to his own.

  9. A similarity that I found between New France and New Spain was the descriptions and perceptions of the natives culture and society. In Bernal Diaz del Castillo’s account of the Aztec Empire, he has a negative reaction towards the natives religious and cultural practices. Louis Hennepin also seems to share a similar perspective. Both men believe the natives to be uncivilized and primitive, and most notably criticize and look down upon the practice of non-Christian faiths. Both men also view these societies as the inverse of their own and something that they need to “fix” through European norms and Catholicism.

  10. The most distinctive trait I found that differed between the chapters regarding New Spain and New France were that of religion. Not only are they hoping to convert the Natives to two different religions (Christianity for Spain and Catholicism for the French), they also are very different in their severity regarding the matter. It seems as though the French are more focused on the fertility of the Indian countries land, and can even be seen commenting on all of the different crops that are found in each different countries land. I also feel as though Columbus and his people were significantly more harsh to the Natives while undergoing their goals, and the French were not as violent and brutal.

  11. Some clarifications here. Both the Spanish and French were Catholics. However, the cultural differences between them (and the types of societies encountered–more nomadic in the North (Canada), and empire-based in big cities toward the South (Mexico)–led them to different strategies. The French sought to convert natives and create a manageable empire in the Americas (and they know very well what the Spanish were conquering in competition with them). The Spanish also sought to convert the natives, but the sheer quantities led them to adopt strategies of incorporation. We saw examples of this last week with the Virgin of Guadalupe. Mixing is a fact in the Americas, but these colonizers took different approaches based upon what they encountered, their own cultural attitudes, etc.

  12. First let me say that the line in our weekly email “The British will come later,” is the most ominous sentence I have ever read.
    There are some big differences between the depictions of Natives in the texts we read about New Spain and New France. Something that struck me is that despite our authors calling the Natives “savages” quite often, there weren’t a lot of depictions of savage behavior. Whereas, those kinds of descriptions were everywhere in our readings on New Spain, especially in regards to their religions. The writings about the Natives in New France seem to come with respect, especially when Louis Hennepin describes the bodies of Natives. It almost reminds me of Columbus describing the Natives when he sees them for the first time. Hennepin still believes the Natives are beneath him, they don’t practice his religion, but he doesn’t really paint their religion or culture in vicious bold strokes like Diaz de Castillo.

  13. The Beloved Virgin Mary piece that we read last week contributed to the religious narrative that the Spanish were forcing onto the culture of the indigenous people of Mexico. Within Juan Diego’s story of the appearance of Mary was a narrative that could be spread, understood and assimilated by indigenous people that created a base of religious knowledge from which the Spanish could grow Catholicism. In contrast, the New France pieces are produced as descriptive pieces of the landscape and the inhabitants of those landscapes. I consider the New France pieces to be written more for the purpose of informing European readers of the benefits of the landscape and the habits of the native people than as a piece of conversion propaganda that I view the New Spain piece.

  14. One similarity that is continuously depicted in the texts from New Spain and New France is the idea of the Natives’ religion as ‘trickery’ or the work of the devil. In the New France unit, Louis Hennepin is describing the Native healers, but he does so by claiming that the methods that they use are pure tricks. Hennepin said “there are certain old men who live at other people’s expense by counterfeiting physicians in a superstitious manner” (190). He describes the methods that are used in healing rituals with disgust, but proceeds to claim that after baptising a child “in danger of death,” it was cured the next day. This is a reflection of similar concepts in the New Spain unit, where the Spaniards disregarded the culture of the Natives, specifically in the context of human sacrfices and cannibalism. It was said that the sacrifices were evil and the work of the devil, but through the eyes of the Natives, it was what was true and right for them. In contrast, the New Spain pieces include much greater detail about the ‘savagery’ of the Natives. Although it is evident that the French do not think of the Natives as equal (hence the use of the word ‘savage’), the focus of the text is not necessarily their failures, but includes great detail about their positive aspects, such as their impressive physical condition.

  15. Understanding that both the French and the Spaniards were Catholic, their “ideal” motive of conquering the land of the natives through justification of spreading their cherished faiths respectively. The difference between the New Spain and the New France was noticeable from the description and perspective of the Native Americans from the French and the Spanish not only in the beliefs of the Native Americans but the cultural basis and ways the Native Americans worked within their own community, thus creating vast differences in how the French and the Spanish tackled the issue of converting and ultimately ruling the Native Americans and incorporating them into the French and Spanish culture/community.

  16. The most prominent differences I noticed between the Spanish and French colonial accounts were their approaches in describing native behavior. While the Spanish conquistadors tell a heavily Eurocentric account, the French allow the natives to have more of a voice in their writing. While the French still refer to the natives as “savages”, they admit that native contentedness and “indifference” to French ways of life puzzle them. It seems that they are willing to negotiate with the natives on religious terms to an extent. In the reading, the French describe calm, religious conversations that lack force. At the end of these conversations and conversion attempts, the French are disheartened yet accepting of the rejections of Catholic faith. The approach to Spanish conversion appears to be a much more violent one. I also noticed that both groups of people felt that the “one true God” was on their side throughout all of their conversion efforts. It appears that their descriptions place their own culture on a moral pedestal without giving proof of God’s favor. In “The Pueblo Revolt of 1680”, Otermin states, “God was pleased that they should desist somewhat from shooting us”(175). God, however, seems to condone the Europeans’ use of violent force on the natives, according to European texts.

  17. It was very difficult to pick out the differences between the Spanish and French colonies. They both looked at the natives as “savages” and inferior to themselves. It seems like the Spanish were keen on killing them/ using them for harsh labor and the French treat them more like ignorant children. Its seems like the French harped more about religion than in the Spanish literature and they had more of a fixation on the fertility of the land. The Spanish were in for the thorough crushing of the native’s culture and the French were more focused on claiming “new” lands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.