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Strategies Of Adjustment: Spanish Defense Of The Circum-Caribbean Colonies, 1493–1600

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is concerned with the ways in which American circumstances influenced Spanish military institutions in the circum-Caribbean colonies during the first stages of colonization. Its perspective is informed from historical archaeology at military sites in the region, and the discussion is structured by three broad, roughly chronological themes. The first of these is the military organization of initial confrontation and territorial control. The second theme addresses the defense and security of the newly established colonies. As the wealth of America was extracted and sent to Europe, it became necessary for Spain to prevent economic exploitation of the colonies by other European powers. This principally involved defending coastal ports and shipping lanes from corsairs, privateers and pirates, and this remained an enduring concern for Spain until the late eighteenth century. Military adjustments in expansion and control of the frontier during the sixteenth century constitute the third theme of this discussion.

Keywords: America; circum-Caribbean colonies; coastal ports; military adjustments; Spanish military institutions



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