Unit 1: European Colonization of America. Lesson 3: Conquistadors. Conquistadors. Standards. Strand: History Topic: Colonization to Independence
Unit 1: European Colonization of America
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European countries established colonies in North America as a means of increasing wealth and power. As the English colonies developed their own governments and economies, they resisted domination by the monarchy, rebelled and fought for independence.
Content Statement: 2
North America, originally inhabited by American Indians, was explored and colonized by Europeans for economic and religious reasons.
What were the economic and religious reasons for Europeans (the Spanish) coming to North and South America?
Effects of the Reconquista
During the Reconquista in Spain, (fighting with the Moors of N. Africa) there was constant war.
This created a class of warriors that had little land or money.
When the Reconquista ended, these soldiers were out of work.
Many Spanish soldiers chose to move to the Americas to seek fortune and fame.
Conquistadores – Spanish soldiers who led military expeditions in the Americas.
Hernán Cortés – Spanish conquistador sent to present-day Mexico in 1519.
He heard stories of a wealthy land ruled by King Moctezuma.
He wanted to find Moctezuma and capture him and his treasure in the name of the King of Spain.
Traveled with around 600 armed soldiers, 16 horses, and war dogs.
Kingdom of the Aztec
Moctezuma II (aka Montezuma)- King of the Aztec Empire
Rich civilization was made up of millions of people with thousands of warriors.
While he had many warriors, his people had never seen horses and had no guns.
Cortés hoped his superior weapons, horses, and war dogs would frighten the Aztecs and bring him victory.
Moctezuma sent Cortés gifts of gold and other valuables to try and keep him away from the Aztec capital Tenochtitlán.
The signs of wealth only encouraged Cortés and increased his greed.
Cortés and Moctezuma
Moctezuma was friendly to the Spanish, but Cortés took him prisoner and captured the city.
The Aztec rebelled and fought back against the Spanish.
The outnumbered Spanish suffered heavy losses.
During the battle of Tenochtitlán, Moctezuma was wounded and died shortly after.
The Spanish fought the Aztec for several months.
Cortés gathered thousands of soldiers from other American Indian groups and equipped his fleet with cannons.
The city was destroyed shortly after.
Cortés conquered a territory larger than Spain.
Effects on the Aztec
After the capital fell, other towns soon fell to Cortés and his men.
Hundreds of thousands of Aztec also began to die from Spanish diseases such as smallpox.
These losses and the spread of disease led to the fall of the Aztec empire.
News of Cortés’ success and fortune inspired other conquistadores.
Francisco Pizarro was a conquistador who heard of Cortés’ success and wanted to become rich and famous as well.
Pizarro heard rumors of golden cities in the mountains of South America.
In 1531, Pizarro landed with a small army on the coast of present-day Peru.
Pizarro and the Inca
Pizarro soon reached the Incan Empire.
It stretched from present-day Chile to Colombia.
The Inca leader, Atahualpa (ah-ta-wall-pa) heard about Pizarro and his men but he was not afraid
Pizarro only had around 200 men compared to the thousands of the Inca
Factors against the Inca
The Inca could not compete with the Spanish invaders’ swords and guns
Smallpox also killed tens of thousands of Inca
The Inca also were involved in a civil war with forces led by Atahualpa’s half-brother.
Fall of the Inca
Pizarro arranged a meeting with Atahualpa.
Pizarro lured Atahualpa and his men to the feast, and then opened fire on the unarmed Inca.
He then kidnapped Atahualpa and tried to force him to convert to Christianity.
While holding him captive, Pizarro made plans to gain power over the Inca
He then ransomed Atahualpa for Incan gold and silver
For Atahualpa’s safe return, the Inca delivered 24 tons of gold and silver to Pizarro.
Instead of freeing him, Pizarro killed Atahualpa.
Pizarro then joined with several Inca rebel leaders, and eventually conquered the Inca Empire.
Conquistadors had conquered a huge territory for Spain.
After mid 1500’s, Spain’s American empire was larger than that of any other European nation.
Spain ran into the problem of trying to control an empire across the Atlantic ocean
Spain ruled its American empire through a system of royal officials.
The Council of the Indies was formed to govern the Americas from Spain
The Council appointed two viceroys
The Viceroyalty of Peru
Most of South America
The Viceroyalty of New Spain
Central America and Mexico
Most of the local officials were not carefully watched
The empire was so large it was difficult to oversee everything that happened.
The people in Spanish America lived in the old Aztec and Inca Empires
These lands were full with gold and silver mines
This gold and silver would be shipped back to Spain
Ruling New Spain
There were three kinds of settlements in New Spain
Pueblos - trading posts and centers of government
Formed on the sites of American Indian villages
Missions – Religious community built around a church
Used to convert local American Indians to Catholicism
Presidios – Military forts
Used to protect the towns and missions
Ruling New Spain
Orders from King Phillip II of Spain also declared that Christianity should be spread through the Native population
The natives should also be taught Spanish customs and ways of life.
Life in New Spain
Many settlers relied heavily on the labor of American Indians
Spain established the encomienda
This gave Spanish settlers the right to tax local American Indians or to make them work
In exchange, these settlers were to protect and teach local American Indians
Life in New Spain
The settlers also were expected to convert the native Americans to Christianity
The native Americans were treated like slaves, being forced to grow crops, work in mines, and herd cattle
Many of the native Americans died because of harsh working conditions
The natives also were continuing to die because of Spanish disease.
In response to these deaths, the Spanish started to bring in enslaved Africans in order to work on plantations.
Colonial Society/Social Classes
By 1650 the Spanish Empire in America contained between 3 and 4 million people
American Indians made up about 80% of the population
Spanish law divided society into classes based on birthplace and race
Social Classes- highest to lowest
Peninsulares- were white Spaniards born in Spain
Held the highest government offices in New Spain
Criollos(cree -o-yo-s)– people born in the Americas to Spanish parents
Mestizos – Had both Spanish and American Indian parents
Often worked for criollos as laborers or craftspeople
Largest group of people of European descent
American Indians had only limited legal protection
Enslaved Africans had little or no legal protection