by ansmiths
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The Conquistadors

What were the short and long term consequences of the interaction?

What were the immediate reactions of both the parties involved?

What were the motives for the interaction

After the visit of Columbus in 1492 more Spanish visitors came. While they were in the Americas to explore the New World they were also there to claim the resources that the natives possessed. However what set them apart from Columbus was that they carried weapons, rode warhorses and wore heavy armor. Upon sight of the heavily armored and armed Spanish the Aztecs were in awe. They saw these foreign conquerors as “ people with white skin and yellow hair, clad completely in iron, who rode “deer” as tall as a house and had dogs with burning yellow eyes.” When the Aztec king heard this account he came to the belief that the leader of the band, Corts, was the ancient god-king Quetzalcoatl. While Moctezuma wasn’t initially sure that Corts was truly the God or not, he began sending items of religious value to Corts. Some of these items included turquoise, feathers, and religious ornaments made from gold and silver. While the religious items were of no interest to Corts the gold and silver intrigued him and pressed him to come to the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitln. Upon entering the city the Spanish’s first reaction was to imprison the Aztec king in order to gain control of all the riches as well as gain control of the Aztecs to convert them to Christianity. These immediate reactions from both parties caused a conflict to erupt between the Aztecs and Spanish causing a war to breakout ending in Spanish victory and the end of the Aztecs.

Once the conquistadors arrived in the Americas they began to exploit the riches from the natives. While the natives didn’t initially rebel against the Spanish when they took the Aztec gold a conflict erupted between the Spanish and Aztecs. The Spanish forces were pushed out of the city by the massive army of the Aztecs. By the end of the conflict more than half of Corts men were dead and so was the Aztec king. Returning in 1521 Corts with a much larger force of Spaniards as well as Indians attacked the city once more. This time however, it was the Aztecs who were slaughtered. Inspired by his success additional conquistadors came to the Americas. This time they waged their war on the Inca Empire, they conquered the Incan heartland giving additional land to the Spanish. While the Spanish killed the Incas and Aztecs in battle many thousands more were killed from the diseases brought by the conquistadors. These wars and disease brought out an age of depopulation and oppression for the Native Americans. The long term consequences were the destruction of the society of the Native Americans by the hands of the conquistadors. The survivors of the several campaigns were then captured and forced into slavery working in the silver mines in Peru. These slaves were then forced to convert to Christianity. Also, the Spanish were negatively affected by the conquest of the Americas. While the gold helped the Spanish become the major power of Europe it also caused many wars to occur to help supply the needs for the growing empire. The conquistadors effected the lifestyle of the Native Americans as well as their own in their campaigns throughout America.

When Columbus returned to Spain with the news of a “New World”, that was now under the jurisdiction of the Spanish, many Spaniards sought to expand their power in the Americans. When the first few conquistadors went to the Americas rumors soon spread about the vast riches of the Native Americans. Conquistadors like Corts soon arrived and began to conquer land in the Americas as they searched for the immense riches the Aztecs possessed. Also, many of the conquistadors went to the Americas for the glory of battle and discovering new land. Many of the conquistadors heard of the ferocity the Aztecs possessed and were attracted to the idea of waging a foreign war. While many of the Conquistadors went to the Americas for additional land, more wealth or glory, some went to spread Christianity and to convert the Aztecs as well as Native Americans. This furry of religious zeal began when Columbus failed to have the Tainos accept the symbols of Christianity. Due to the Tainoian’s disrespect for Christianity, Columbus was lead to believe that he and the rest of Spain were superior to the Native Americans and as such should choose their future for them. It was through the motives of gold, glory and religion that the conquistadors took over the Americas.

In 1492 Columbus was one of the first men in Spain to travail to the “new world.” Landing in the Caribbean or later called the West Indies, Columbus encountered several villages inhabited by the Tainos. Upon initially meeting the Tainos Columbus was shocked by the overwhelming generosity the Tainos showed towards the visitors. While the Tainos were generous and kind people Columbus came to believe that he and the rest of the Spanish were superior to them because they rejected the Christian ideals. Once Columbus believed that he was the Tainos’s superior he felt that he should be the one to choose their fate. Upon returning to Spain Columbus told the Spanish king of the immense wealth of the Native Americans and their hospitality. The next group of Spaniards to come the Americas was the conquistadors. The conquistadors were a group of Spanish conquers who went to Americas after Columbus’s initial discovery. Often times they would steal all of the Native American’s gold and force them to pan for additional gold to bring more wealth back to Spain. It was through the Spaniard’s desire for additional wealth that they had campaigns throughout the Americas attacking the Aztecs and conquering most of the Native Americans.


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