Unit 2: How Trade and Travel Changed the World
Lesson I: Old and New World Exchanges
Activity 4: The Impact of Labor Systems in the Americas
In the previous activity you learned about the plantation system. The Spanish and Portuguese imposed a system of forced labor in Central and South America that was expanded by other Europeans throughout the Americas. The plantation system was part of the system. The Spanish adopted the Incan system of forced labor, the mit’a, to justify forcing natives to labor in places including the silver mines of Potosi. So much of the native population was killed by disease and slavery that Europeans began transporting enslaved Africans to work in the Caribbean, North America, and South America.
You are about to use primary source documents to complete an investigation about the impacts of labor systems on native and enslaved populations in the Americas. When analyzing a group of primary source documents, you will sometimes be faced with conflicting evidence. How do you decide who to believe or what a document really tells you about history? A historian looks at the factors that may be influencing the perspective of the author as well as at the historical context to determine how to use what the document says.
Historical Investigation — Impact of Labor Systems in the Americas
Directions: For this activity, open the student resource titled "Historical Investigation — Impact of Labor Systems in the Americas." Use the documents to analyze the impacts of labor systems on native and enslaved populations in the Americas.
- Download the Student Resource: Historical Investigation — Impact of Labor Systems in the Americas. (doc).
- Select the link to review the how to complete a Historical Investigation.
- Submit your answers to the completed historical investigation to your teacher as instructed.