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Spanish Colonies In The Western Hemisphere


external image SpanishConquistadors.jpg When the Spanish came to America they wanted to get rich quick, however they encountered the natives on their quest. The Aztecs were the first natives to be encountered by the Spanish, they met in hostility. The Spanish lead by the conqueror Hernan Cortes wanted the gold obtained by the Aztecs,and they were not willing to give it up with out a fight. The first military action was an assault on the capital of Tenochtitlan. The Spanish had horses and guns and better melee weapons, which scared the Aztecs but the Aztecs had many more soldiers then the Spanish which is why this first attempt did not work. After this attack many natives died of diseases that they had never encountered before brought by the Europeans. The Aztecs could no longer defend their empire with so many dead they were forced into submission. With Cortes’ success and rumors of silver and gold many more conquistadors came. Francisco Pizarro was another conqueror that came to America; he conquered the Incas which showed there was more wealth to be gained in South America. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado y Lujan explored Mexico and New Mexico for gold, although he did not find any the greater significance is that he opened up North America for Spanish exploration. Most of the indigenous population was wiped out after the conquistadors' explorations, with the wars the brewed between the two forces and the foreign diseases brought upon by the Spanish.

Spanish Conquest of South America

Now that the Spanish had destroyed the native empires they have claimed their dominion over the land. The Spanish had discovered all the riches within the lands natural resources such as gold, now they wanted to have a steady flow of income. They brought in more conquistadors and settlers to colonize the new world. Once the land was settled the Spanish started to mine gold and silver. These mines accumulated the most gold in the world, making Spain the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world. The settlers that came after the conquistadors did not destroy everything in their path to get riches but wanted to make the new world more like Spain. Colonists adapted their old civilization to their new surroundings. A new class system was developed, harshly using the native as the main work force on the bottom of the social hierarchy. A big influence on the on the way that South America developed socially and economically was the Catholic Church. Catholicism quickly became the only religion of South America; this made their settlements very religious. Missions sprung up all across the land and because of that some of our cities today still have the same names. The purpose of these missions was to convert the natives to Catholicism to keep better control over Spain’s colonies. The Spanish empire was the largest at the time spanning from Mexico to the bottom of South America. The colonies purpose was to generate wealth which it did very well; for Spain, not for more land to have their citizens live in. The colonies of Spain were a success to the conquistadors and the people leaving back in Spain, they have accomplished what they came to America for, wealth.

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A Survey: American History by Allan Brinkley