ruralavalon wrote: ↑
Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:52 am
, by Aleck Loker.
This is a history of early Spanish exploration and settlements in North America. It is not limited to the widely known forays in Florida, Texas and New Mexico, but covers less widely known explorations or settlement attempts in the Carolinas, Alabama, the Mississippi basin, and the Great Plains.
Thank you. That looks very interesting.
I believe there is some thought that a wobble in the climate had an impact on this one. I can't remember where I read it and a quick google search at this point doesn't find it (it might have been Geoffrey Parker The World Crisis, but I have only skimmed that one).
https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/ ... hr2008.pdf
The late 1500s-late 1600s saw a somewhat colder Northern Hemisphere associated with 1. a local minimum in solar insolation (possibly) and 2. a number of volcanoes in the early 1600s (more definitive). As a result:
- Roanoke Island colony failed due to drought. Jamestown colony suffered from a brutal winter
- incidence of disease and cold was higher in the southern USA than normal, thus persuading the Spanish to withdraw from their colonies (as above)
I suspect it was a review of this book
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php? ... nt=reviews
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/11 ... -conquest/
https://www.historicalclimatology.com/b ... th-america
Planners and promoters of these expeditions tended to fill the gaps in their knowledge with self-serving rationalizations. Early voyages in search of a Northwest Passage over Canada epitomized the problem. Every encounter with extreme cold or sea ice could be explained away as some local aberration or accident. Similar rationalizations led Spaniards to look for Mediterranean conditions and a “new Andalusia” in Georgia and the Carolinas, and inspired English visions of silk, spices, and sugar in Virginia and even New England.
For this reason, early European explorers and colonists were sure to be disappointed with the climates of North America. What turned disappointment into disaster were the extreme conditions typical of the Little Ice Age. On examining the range of proxy and written evidence for North American climates, I found the same sort of anomalies that caused trouble for the Ottoman Empire. The epic drought and extreme cold during Jamestown’s “starving time” of 1609-10 is only the most famous example. In the 1540s, Spanish expeditions in California, the Southwest, and Southeast all encountered freezing winters with heavy snows where they would rarely be found today.
A seventeenth-century depiction of the Jamestown colony, which settlers briefly abandoned amid a long drought.
Then from the late 1500s to the turn of the 17th century, a series of large volcanic eruptions brought global temperatures lower still. In 1601, for instance, the Rio Grande froze over near today’s Albuquerque; frost and drought brought famine to the Pueblos; and Juan de Oñate’s conquest of New Mexico nearly collapsed from hunger and desertions. French settlers in New England and Canada perished in the long winters that decade, and the little-remembered English colony at Sagadahoc, Maine gave up in 1608 after less than a year, its “hopes . . . frozen to death” in the words of one contemporary.
Cold and drought, as well as storms, afflicted colonial expeditions in different ways. Crops failed and animals died. Diseases spread from exposure, poor water supplies, and malnutrition. Long winters without fresh food brought scurvy. Supply ships were lost when needed most. Competition for food and fuel engendered conflict between European invaders and Native Americans, who also had to adapt to Little Ice Age conditions.
Yet evolving perceptions of North America’s climates were just as consequential as realities. Years or even decades of experience with parts of the continent did not always translate into realistic appraisals of their climates or accurate planning. Sometimes when the high hopes of early expeditions met the shock of unexpected extremes, they gave way to exaggerated disparagement and despair. Around the 1570s, after decades of disappointment, Spanish officials began to dismiss the whole of La Florida (today’s Southeastern United States) as “worthless,” and the near collapse of Spanish New Mexico left a similarly negative impression among officials in Mexico and Spain.