Exploitation in Cuba during the Ages of Exploration and Colonization

Lisa Modrow, Social Studies, Bailey Middle School

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


This curriculum unit will examine the issue of exploitation of certain groups in Cuba during the Ages of Exploration and Colonization.  It focuses in particular on the exploitation of Native Americans and enslaved Africans brought to the New World.  In the unit, students will discover the impact, both positive and negative, of Christopher Columbus and how his actions resulted in the enslavement of Native Americans.  Then, students will consider how the encomienda system, a system whereby conquerors were granted the labor of Native Americans, was used as another method of enslavement.  Finally, students will engage with personal accounts of those who traveled the Middle Passage and will consider what that horrific voyage may have been like for the millions of Africans who were forced to travel it.  Finally, students will be assessed through the creation of sensory figures so that they have a real understanding of the personal effects of this exploitation.