Three Types Of Cultural Encounters

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Bitterli distinguishes between three types of cultural encounter which are firstly cultural contacts, secondly cultural collisions and thirdly cultural relationships. In his book “Cultures in Conflict. Encounters Between European and Non-European Cultures, 1492 – 1800” Bitterli describes all three of them using a wide range of historical examples all over the globe.
All of these types can lead into another type or can change during time. Contacts can lead into relationships, relationships into collisions or back to mere contacts again – relationships can even develop out of a former collision. Cultural encounters described by Bitterli happened mainly in the time of European expansion from 1492 to 1800. Those newly discovered areas (from a
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This was the case for example in the very beginning of the discoveries of the Americas, when Columbus on his first voyage left some 40 men on Hispaniola and returned to Spain. When he came back nearly one year later, the fort was burned and all settlers killed. In the following 40 years the indigenous population of Hispaniola was completely wiped out. Not only diseases but also enslavement and deliberately hunting down and killing of the various tribes were the reasons for it. A papal bull which granted the Spanish Crown the right to colonize all the land in the west and helped to make destruction, killing and any form of cruellest warfare legal in the case, that the Taínos resisted the Spanish supremacy or the teaching of the Christian faith. In the proceeding 16th century a number of laws tried to lessen the Spanish influence and cruelty to the Taínos and other North American tribes but it was too late.
Cultural collisions as cruel as they were developed a certain form of cultural mixing. This happened in the exchanging and utilisation of different crops and livestock, the mixing of religious attitudes, technology and of course the creation of a mixed population. Collisions represent the largest outcome of cultural encounters throughout the centuries. In
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He was granted the area of nowadays Pennsylvania and tried to treat the Natives with greatest respect. His efforts achieved a unique sort of coexisting with mutual benefits for about 40 years.
But European culture was not always the superior culture. This was the case when in Asia. The Chinese and the Japanese imposed strict rules on the Europeans. Sometimes they even were not allowed to set a foot on Chinese land. The Chinese authorities also imposed harsh laws on trade and for many years trade was officially completely forbidden. Still Europeans with highly developed manual skills were secretly welcomed and respected.
Some decades after happily welcoming Europeans and the benefits of trade and cultural and technological exchange, the Japanese tried to get rid of European influence and culture by ruling out all Christian missionaries and even killing some 150.000 converts of their own people. Bitterli calls these forms of relationships controlled
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