atrocities during the colonization periodSocial Studies for 9th – Teacher: Mauricio Torres
Strange News “…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…”
Spaniards Columbus´ first meeting with natives began a cycle of encounter, conquest and death that would be repeated throughout the western hemisphere. Most of these “conquistadores” were usually criminals, low- lifes, convicted felons, thieves, murderers or simply: men with no regard for human life.
In the name of God Columbus met with the Taino people in the Caribbean. At first relations were friendly, but afterwards they soured. The Taino, out of ignorance, they offended the Spanish when they failed to pay proper respect to Christian symbols. Columbus felt superior, and thought he could decide their fate. This same type of encounters, were repeated over and over, by waves of conquistadores coming into the New World Attracted by the promise of riches as well as religious zeal, a flood of adventurers soon followed.
Guns, Horses and Disease Spanish Conquistadores barely numbered in the hundreds. Natives numbered in the millions. Their guns and cannons were superior. Metal armor provided them with better protection Horses frightened the natives as well as being useful in battle. Diseases to which Americans had no immunity or resistance, wiping out 90% of the population in the Caribbean.
Cortés & México Cortés and the Aztecs: Cortés was a landowner in Cuba. He heard of failed expeditions but believed he could do better where none had achieved anything. He landed in México with 600 men, 16 horses and a few cannons. He marched on to Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital. He arranged alliance with the Aztecs’s enemies.
Cortés & México Cortés and the Aztecs: In the meantime, he was thought to be a God by the Aztecs’s. For that reason many gifts were given to him by these people, in order to please him, and keep him away. He was interested in gold and silver, not religious gifts. He reached the Aztec capital and was dazzled by the grandeur of the city.
The fall of Tenochtitlán As with the Tainos, the relationship with the Aztecs grew strained very early. He sought to conquer them and convert them to Christianity, while he scorned their religion. Tensions rose, fighting began. Cortés came back and assaulted the capital, which was later demolished, in order to build México city. Smallpox decimated the Aztec population.
Pizarro Takes Perú After the civil war in the Incan Empire, Pizarro arrived in Perú. He followed tales of riches and gold. Pizarro wanted for Atahualpa to be his vassal and convert to Christianity. The Inca refused both. Allied with Huascar’s followers, he captured Atahualpa: The held him hostage, asked for ransom, got paid, but killed him anyway.
Resistance Despite continuing resistance, Pizarro and his followers overran the Inca heartland. They ha superior weapons, and once again, the natives were weakened by European diseases. Only a few generals fought back, like Rumiñahui. Afterwards, Pizarro conquered the whole Empire, gaining for Spain, land that today represents modern Ecuador and Chile.
Effects: Spain With fewer men, but more firepower, the Spaniards had accomplished a remarkable feat. They seized goods, two empires and had enslaved many natives. They made them mine for gold, killing thousands in the process. The wealth that came form the Americas made Spain the world’s greatest power.
Effects: Natives For most of them, these events marked the end of the world. With thousands of them dying, they thought that their gods were weaker and therefore converted to Christianity in order to end their own suffering. Still, natives continued to fight back: The Mayas fought Spanish rule for centuries. The Incas rose in rebellion every now and then (Túpac Amaru). They maintained many aspects of their culture .
Ask yourself How did a small number of conquistadores conquer huge native American empires? In what way did the Spanish conquest affect native Americans who survived? How might the history of Europeans be different if the Indians had not been killed by disease?
Facts on Pizarro He was born in Trujillo, Spain, the illegitimate son of Gonzalo Pizarro, an infantry colonel, and Francisca González, a woman of poor means. His exact birth date is uncertain, but is believed to be sometime in the 1470s, probably 1471. Scant attention was paid to his education and he grew up illiterate. He was a distant cousin of Hernán Cortés. Pizarro founded the city of Lima.
Comparing both Conquests When historians compare Pizarros and Cortéss conquests of Peru and Mexico, they usually give the palm to Pizarro because he led fewer men, faced larger armies, and was far from Spanish outposts in the Caribbean which could have supplied men, arms, and provisions.
Bibliography Ellis, E. G., & Esler, A. (2009). World History. (P. Hall, Ed.) Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, US: Pearson Education INC. Wikipedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia - Francisco Pizarro. Retrieved May 2012, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizarro Images taken from Google.
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