Spanish Conquest

Spanish Conquest

´╗┐The Americas is a land of many influences. The majority of the populace is descended directly from the natives who inhabited the land long before European contact in the late fifteenth century, but they speak the language and worship the god of their conquerors. The Spanish who defeated the natives were multi-faceted people, holding the cultural traits of both the Visigothic warriors who established kingdoms in Spain when Rome fell and the Islamic Moors and Berbers who later controlled the bulk of the Iberian Peninsula. The religion transported across the Atlantic by the Spanish was Christianity, specifically a militant form of Catholicism that developed during the conflict with the Muslims. As a people and culture the Spanish had been at war for seven centuries, and once the Muslims were expelled from Granada in 1492, this militaristic heritage had no obvious outlet. The rest of Europe was Christian, and Spain had a weak economy after centuries of warfare; without some economic boost, the Spanish would never compete with the other European powers. The Spanish turned to exploration, and upon the discovery of the Americas, conquest. The earliest Spanish expeditions into Mexico met with dramatic success. Never before had so mighty an Empire as that of the Aztecs been felled by so small a group of men. It took only 600 Spanish and some native allies to demolish one of the greatest empires in the new world. Their successes in Mexico and the rest of Central America led the Spanish to explore further, and soon after they once again achieved the seemingly impossible. Francisco Pizarro successfully led a similarly small group of Spanish soldiers and mercenaries against the even larger and more advanced Inca Empire. The three foremost factors in the Spanish conquest were technology, disease, and the religion of the natives.
One of the common arguments regarding the Spanish defeat of the Aztecs is that the Aztec ruler, Montezuma, was incompetent. The Aztec ruler,...

Similar Essays