Mesoamerican conquistadors in the sixteenth centuryPresentation Transcript
Mesoamerican Conquistadors in the Sixteenth Century Magdalena Andreoli
The Big Question This first chapter of “Mesoamerican Conquistadors in the 16th Century” focuses on the question: how was it possible that the Spanish invaders were able to conquer Mexico and Peru reinforce centuries of colonial rule?
The Answer Luckily enough, this Spanish successful campaign can be broken down into 5 simple categories: The military genius of Hernando Cortes Superiority of Spanish resources Structural weakness and disunity of the Mexica/Aztec empire Impact of epidemic disease Mistake in identity of Cortes (belief that Cortes was Quetzalcoatl)
The Brains and Bran Without Cortes’ military know-how, the Spanish invasion would not have been so successful, but it is important to acknowledge that while Cortes did provide the brains, the Spanish did not provide all of the bran. In fact, without the native’s support the Spanish wouldn’t have gotten far in their campaign throughout Latin America.
The Native Role The natives played an important role in multiple elements of the Spanish campaign, including:
Combat: The Natives provided the majority of the soldiers used in the Spanish’s campaigns, so much in fact that the Native elites or entire Native communities would submit petitions claiming rights and privileges for their contraption to the conquest.
The Native Role (continued)
Noncombat: Allied forces provided porters, cooks, guides, interpreters, spies, etc.
For background knowledge, it should be known that the Spanish conquerors weren’t a part of the Spanish army but were mercenaries hired by companies, who hoped to build business settlements where merchants could follow and bring supplies, slaves, and correspondences.
But until the merchants could arrive, the Spanish had to rely on the Native’s network of supplies for support, which were vital to the Spanish survival in Latin America.
The Native Role (continued) Strategic role: This book seems to say that the Spanish conquest was influenced by pre-conquest Mesoamerican military strategies and mechanisms, some of which being: Forging of multicity alliances Pursuit of sequential conquest Heavy use of trade routes Granting of lordships (to encourage alliances)