Spanish Empire in the
by Kariss Miller
• Lived 1580-1670’s.
• He was a native priest in Peru and spent time doing mita labor which was hazardous
• The Spanish attempted to convert the Peruvian Indians to Catholics.
• Diego’s grandparents trusted that he would keep the stone image of God of
Sorimana and to also perform the cult rituals as he was taught.
• Diego finally answers to charges of heresy when he is in his 90’s.
• Lived 1496-1537.
• He was a priest within the Aztec Empire, from Chinanta in Mexico.
• Martin continued his religious practices even after the fall of the Aztec Empire.
• Over time Martin converted to Christianity, and then in his 20’s he was
• Martin, however, continued to practice his old religious ways and was
eventually accused of using witchcraft and was put on trial.
• After the trial, he was ordered imprisonment.
Juan de Morga / Gertrudis de Escobar
• Both were young slaves in Mexico in the 17th century.
• Both worked the unfair and harsh colonial labor system.
• While Gertrudis’ parents had predeceased her, she had been sold a slave by
• Juan had been born a slave.
• Gertrudis was born in the mid 1600’s and endured many beatings
throughout the years and had attempted escapes.
• Was daughter of Moctezuma II who ruled Tenochtitlan.
• Lived 1509-1550
• Isabel eventually converted to Catholicism.
• As an heiress, she gave generously to those in need.
• She was connected via marriage to many high ranking
Beatriz de Padilla
• Beatriz was a mixed race woman in the 1600’s in Guadalajara.
• Beatriz was accused by royal agent Don Juan Sanchez de Viduarre of the
death of “Diego,” a priest from the village she was from.
• She was accused of various acts ranging from poisonings to witchcraft and
was known for treating people poorly.
• Lived 1910-1942.
• Was a Spanish poet whose works were inspired by the deaths
of friends and his wife, “Josefina” with whom he had 2 sons.
• His resistant movement toward Spain cost him several arrests,
and a jail term of 30 years.
• He eventually expired due to TB.
• He continued his poetic works in jail and had a great following
of supporters throughout his term.
• Lived in Mexico around 1632, he was a publisher, and an engineer.
• He was an ambitious man who wanted to share his knowledge of politics and
the sciences with the world.
• His upbringing was not at all conducive for receiving respect from high ranking
• He was even imprisoned for applying his own ideas (water basin). However,
problems occurred with the basin due to lack of funding in order to finish the
Tula, the Mythical Beginning
The Mexica Founded Tenochtitlan, the Site of Modern Day Mexico City
• Founded in 1325, Tenochtitlan was inhabited by the Mexica people, who for years were
in search of a permanent settlement, as they were continuously chased-off of previous
lands they had hoped might be a permanent settlement.
• The Mexica people were skilled “hunters & gatherers” and very resourceful.
• For many years they kept an isolated existence as they built towns and the operations
necessary to support their people.
• Eventually, the lack of raw materials would forced them to establish relations with the
• The Tenochtitlan emblem: the eagle symbolizes the founding by the Mexica, the prickly
pear symbolizes the heart of sacrificial victims, and the snake symbolizes the idea of evil
(as it relates to biting the eagle).
The Empire Builders
Obstacles to True Control: Enormous Distances & Rudimentary Means of
• Finally in 1440, Moctezuma I comes in to power, but not without challenges.
• One of the many challenges involved the Tenochtitlan troops’ travels through
• Caravans had to cover hundreds of miles through vegetation, hostile weather
conditions, and rugged mountains before descending to the Gulf or Pacific.
• This proved an even bigger challenge as people were unfamiliar with the horse,
mule or the wheel so consequently everything had to be carried on a human
The Aztecs, Conquering Heroes
• The Aztecs were mainly motivated by their gods and the cosmos and were obsessed
with carrying out mass human sacrifices.
• They considered their god mortal with a need to continuously be fed. Feeding this
god would ensure adequate rainfall and sun. Without these two things, the world
would come to an end.
• The Aztecs also saw sacrifice as an form of government. It maintained an element
of terror and also enabled the elimination of certain people that may have proved
dangerous or otherwise considered a threat.
The Clash of Two Worlds
Nightmare Siege of Tenochtitlan Remains Etched in Aztec Memory
• Hernan Cortes caused the fall of the Aztec Empire.
• Cortes expanded his troops with thousands of Indians and took control of
Lake Texcoco by constructing a fleet of brigantines and various other
• Eventually the Spaniards would cut off water and food supplies to the
• Disease also took a toll on the Indians.
• The city fell in 1521 and Cortes became the governor in 1522.
From Resistance to Collaboration
On Top of Everything, Epidemics
• Various disease such as typhus and smallpox spread from the time of the
siege of Tenochtitlan, causing epidemics from the mid to late 1500’s, and
the mid 1600’s and consequently the mortality rates soared.
• The Indians were quick to blame the Spaniards for disrupting their way of
life and the cruelty the Spanish was known for.
• Many Indians turned to booze and suicides rose due to the unbearable
depletion that their populations were experiencing.
The Aftermath of The Conquest
The West Set Its Traps
• Over time the Indians assimilated to the culture brought by the Spaniards;
alcoholism being the primary issue.
• Bars were havens for drunkenness, money squandering, brawls, and
prostitution. However, bars also became a place of many races and could be a
relaxing alternative for people as it was an escape for some as being “labeled”
in society. There was an element of equality.
• Employment among the peoples varied with less appealing work such as forced
labor in the mines; to more acceptable work such as craft making, food, and
work as a servant.
• These were ships that would sail a couple of times per year from the
Philippines and Mexico. The names of the ships would changed based upon
which route they were traveling.
• Trade was the main source of income for Spanish colonists delivering spices,
textiles, metals, etc.
• These commodities were acquired from the Asia-Pacific, to be sold the
American and European markets.
• Even when Mexico and the Philippines gained independence, the two nations
continued to trade (with the exception of a temporary lull during the
Spanish-American War) and the ships would sail for the next three centuries
bringing economic stability, various goods, and good cultural relations.
Bartolomé de las Casas
• Lived 1484-1566 and was a 16th century priest and an author.
• Fought for Natives rights as he was a strong opposer of the way in which the Spanish
colonists treated the Native Americans.
• He had initially wanted to trade native labor for African slave labor, but eventually
became an advocate for the Africans as well.
• He was a good man who encouraged colonists to give up their slaves and envisioned a
society in which natives and Spanish colonists could cohabitate in peace.
• He proposed fair wages, proper medical care, and agriculture skills for the natives.
• While las Casas made great strides in 1542 with the removal of certain officials from the
Council of the Indies, his actions did not come without criticism.
• Threats were made against las Casas’ life as he continued to push for the rights of the
native people. He would eventually be tried for treason.
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
• Was born in 1490 and was a Spanish explorer of the New World.
• In 1527 he and many others set out on an expedition to North America.
• After many months, the group arrived on the mainland with very few men remaining.
• The men began trekking through modern-day Florida, excited at the possibility of gold; but
quickly became lost, starved, wounded, and sick amidst swampy terrain.
• In a moment of survival, the men would slaughter and eat their horses, melt down various
supplies to reconstruct items so that they could build a number of boats so that they could
search for Mexico.
• They followed the coastline. They were affected by weather systems. Survivors including de
Vaca would become enslaved for a few years only to escape finally in search of his original
goal which was Mexico.
• It is fair to say that de Vaca was a good man, as his experiences made him more sensitive to
the indigenous people. He became known as a faith healer.
• He finally sailed back to Europe in 1537.