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Understanding Spain's Contact With The Natives.

1120 words - 4 pages

The Spanish Conquest:Understanding Spain's Contact with the NativesBy the end of the sixteenth century, under the monarch of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Spain established permanent settlements in North America. Taking advantage of the Columbus Discovery, "Spain's rulers had developed efficient techniques for controlling newly conquered lands that could be applied to New World colonies" (Goldfield, et al. 19). With the completion of the reconquista, the Muslims were finally out of Spain and the Spanish grew hungry for riches and wealth. As noted by Professor Anderson, the Spanish began their conquest, near the end of the fifteenth century, with creating an empire in the Caribbean. Eventually the Spanish developed a one-way transmission of power through the sixteenth century, from the Caribbean to Mexico and finally Peru. Their goal was focused on obtaining gold to reestablish Christianity. The Spanish conquest was only possible with intercultural contact and by adapting to unforeseen conditions. Although Spain was primarily focused on land dominance, the use of the natives for labor, and their conversion to Christianity, Spanish settlements appeared stronger where they had accepted the Indians and formed alliances with them.After Spain consolidated the Caribbean, the Spanish moved on to Mexico and Peru, where they overtook the Aztec and Inca Empires. Both empires were well developed before the Spanish had arrived, but not strong enough to defend themselves. Hernán Cortés led Spain in Mexico. On their voyage, many troop members suffered from disease. More importantly and to their advantage, the native people were more susceptible to these diseases and they began to decline. Spain also developed an alliance with Aztec natives who were against the Aztec government. The Spanish soldiers "eventually gained 200,000 Indian allies eager to throw off Aztec rule" (Goldfield, et al. 21). With these two factors at hand, Cortés claimed power of the hegemonic Aztec Empire.Francisco Pizarro's excursion to the Peruvian Andes followed the ending of the Aztec Empire. The Inca Empire was in the midst of a civil war. Therefore, they were weak and vulnerable to the invasion of the Spaniards. Amazed with the enormous amount of wealth in Peru, "the colonial rulers subjected the native inhabitants of New Spain to compulsory tribute payments and forced labor" (Goldfield, et al. 23). The Spaniards method of contact with Indians transformed during Pizzaro's conquest in Peru.All this wealth the Spanish conquered increased their aspiration for more riches and so their conquest continued north. Spain's attitudes towards Indians became key functions in their success. In his article "Indians of the Rio Grande", Cabeza de Vaca describes his relations with the Indians on friendly terms. The Spanish cured the sick natives and in return the natives would supply them with what they needed, "for they would rather starve than partake of anything that had not...

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