Was a legal system that was employed mainly by the Spanish crown during the Spanish colonization of the Americas to regulate Native American labour.
• In 1511, Cortés accompanied Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, an aide of the
Governor of Hispaniola, in his expedition to conquer Cuba. Velázquez was appointed as governor. At the age of 26, Cortés was made clerk to the treasurer with the responsibility of ensuring that the Crown received the quinto of the profits from the expedition.
• The Governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez, was so impressed with Cortés that he secured a high political position for him in the colony. He became secretary for Governor Velázquez. Cortés was twice appointed municipal magistrate of
Santiago. In Cuba, Cortés became a man of substance with an encomienda to provide Indian labour for his mines and cattle. This new position of power also made him the new source of leadership, which opposing forces in the colony could then turn to. In 1514, Cortés led a group which demanded that more
Indians be assigned to the settlers.
• It was not until he had been almost 15 years in the Indies, that Cortés began to look beyond his substantial status as mayor of the capital of Cuba and as a man of affairs in the thriving colony. He missed the first two expeditions, under the orders of Francisco Hernández de Córdoba and then Juan de
Grijalva, sent by Diego Velázquez to Mexico in 1518.
• Cortés reached