Journal of World History, vol. 3, no. 2 (1992)


Africa and the Atlantic Islands Meet the Garden of Eden: Christopher Columbus’s View of America, p. 149
William D. Phillips, Jr.
Christopher Columbus’s vision of the world beyond Europe was deeply influenced by what he gleaned from written sources such as Marco Polo and the Bible. Yet he also had a great deal of personal and practical experience from travels in the Atlantic Islands and costal regions of West Africa. Upon his arrival in the Caribbean, he expected to find the Asia described by Marco Polo. Initially, he considered establishing a series of factories and trading posts, similar to those of the Portuguese in West Africa, from which Europeans could tap into local trade networks. When he discovered that brisk trading relations would not likely come about in the near future, he advocated the establishment of mining and agricultural enterprises, such as those the Portuguese and Castilians had founded in the Atlantic islands. Thus his experience in Africa and the Atlantic islands helped shape his responses to the conditions he unexpectedly encountered in the Caribbean.

Cross-Cultural Trade and Diplomacy: Portuguese Relations with West Africa, 1441-1521, p. 165
Ivana Elbl
Documentary evidence shows that direct dealings between Portuguese and West Africans were mostly of a commercial nature and followed principles of mutual accommodation and pragmatism. If there was an advantage, it rested with the Africans on whose goodwill the Portuguese largely depended. The frequently voiced supposition that the Portuguese were able to act from a position of strength results from a failure to consider the values and goals of both the authors and the intended audiences of the narrative sources on which it is based.

Changing Jesuit Perceptions of the Brasis During the Sixteenth Century, p. 205
Duril Alden
In 1959, nine years after the founding of the Society of Jesus, its first representatives reached Brazil. At first the fathers believed that conversion of the native Brasis would be an easy task, achievable by gentle persuasion. They soon discovered otherwise: the colony was vast, and the missionaries were few; moreover, converts were prone to revert to former pagan practices, such as dependence upon shamans, anthropophagy, and plural marriage. To combat such activities, the fathers adopted new strategies including use of force.

“If We Get the Girls, We Get the Race”: Missionary Education of Native American Girls, p. 219
Carol Devens
Nineteenth-century missionaries targeted native American girls as a crucial part of their effort to “civilize” and convert Native American peoples. They developed programs to indoctrinate girls with Victorian values of female piety, domesticity, and submissiveness so that young women might raise their children by these principles. The cases of Ojibwa and Dakota girls suggest that this experience had a profound impact on girls’ identification with tribal cultural and on their relationships with female kin.

After the Conquest: The Survival of Indigenous Patters of Life and Belief, p. 239
Frances Karttunen
Historians have long assumes that the conquest of Mexico and the migration of Europeans to the Americas overwhelmed the indigenous culture of the Aztecs and their Mesoamericans neighbors. Indeed, Spanish rule and Roman Catholic institutions certainly established themselves solidly in colonial Mexico. Recent scholarship has shown, however, that many indigenous values and cultural elements survives the conquest of Mexico and persist even to the present day. This article examines four of these values-cardinality, duality, reciprocity, and propriety-discussing their roles in preconquest Mexico and showing how they survive into contemporary times.


Middle Eastern History and World History, p. 257
Edmund Burke III
Recent books by Peter Mansfield, Albert Yapp, and Albert Hourani offer surveys of the history of the modern Middle East. This essay reviews the three volumes and briefly discusses the Middle Eastern experience from the viewpoint of a world historian. The three books implicitly assume that a process of modernization has deeply influenced Middle Eastern history, and Hourani’s works succeeds especially well in situating Middle Eastern history in a broad, global context.