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Modern Day Historians Challenged The Traditional Accountsof The Spanish Conquest Of The Americas University College Dublin, Debates In History Essay

3220 words - 13 pages

Question: How has recent Historiography challenged different accounts and perceptions of the Spanish conquest of the America’s and of the Spanish inquisition.
Cruelty, Greed, Fanaticism, Aggression and Ruthlessness are all ways the Spanish were perceived to have been throughout history, mainly during the periods of the Spanish conquest and colonization of the America’s and the Spanish Inquisition. These popular views and accounts of the Spanish are widely believed to be true. It is only up until recently that modern day historians and scholars such as Philip Wayne Powell, Julian Juderias, Henry Kamen and Mark Williams and many others have challenged this Spanish Ideology and dedicated their work on finding out the myths and truth behind the Spanish colonization of the Americas and the Spanish Inquisition. It was Julian Juderias Himself that coined the phrase ‘’Black Legend’’. A phrase that has become extremely popular with historians who have challenged the perception that Spain had been a cruel and ruthless nation, it had become a foundation for their arguments and the basis for this essay. For years there has been a lack of Historical perspective and it was only the views of those who opposed the Spaniards were the views that were heard due to the number of groups and empires that opposed them. These factions and empires defamed the Spanish for many reasons. This essay will look at how historical bias, a smear campaign was used by many rivals in tarnishing the reputation of the Spanish empire. It will give historical context of the Spanish Empire throughout these times. It will look at how the Spanish conquest of the Americas and the Spanish inquisition were the two primary cited reasons as to why the Spanish Empire endured this unfair propaganda. The essay will then look at how, without any historical bias, modern day historians are challenging these propaganda campaigns against the Spanish, and in turn, creating a new historical perspective for us to let us choose for ourselves was the Spanish empire as cruel and ruthless as it was made out to be.
Spain during the 15th century was the most powerful political power in Europe and was a huge empire in terms of land owned. Chapman mentions that ’during the period of the House of Habsburg, or Austria, covering nearly two centuries Spain was one of the great powers of the world’[footnoteRef:1]. With Spain being one of the most powerful empires, it could have been a cause of the bitterness from the opposing empires, with Powell asserting in his book Tree of Hate ’the centuries of Spanish imperial power created a host of enemies, who mixing fear, envy and the intense hatred of religious conflict, made Spain and Spaniards the first to feel the impact of printing press as a propaganda weapon’[footnoteRef:2]. This propaganda and hate coming especially from their neighbouring European kingdoms. Along with this, Spain had control over ten provinces of the Habsburg Burgundian Netherlands, over half of the...

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