The History Of Spanish Conquistadors

Submitted By Olman-Bonilla
Words: 1122
Pages: 5

History Throughout Atlantic history, countless different groups of people have come in contact with each other and have had lasting impacts as a result. In many cases, these interactions weren’t friendly and war erupted along with conquest. For example, interactions between the Spanish and Natives of the America’s resulted in severe bloodshed and oppression. 1Conquest was deeply ingrained in Spanish culture and was believed to be a worthy endeavor not only in the eyes of man, but by God. Spanish conquistadors generally conquered native kingdoms and chiefdoms rather than setting up allies or trade forts like the Portuguese had practiced. 2They were predisposed by war and forcing wealth from native hands, and looted and plundered from the richer kingdoms. Because of their advanced weapons and cavalry, the Spanish could divide and conquer tribes and villages with ease for the most part.
In 1492 Christopher Columbus arrived on the Caribbean islands accompanied by three ships; the Nina the Pinta and the Santa Maria. On first contact with the native people, the Spaniards attempted communication and trade. They began by selling beads, brass bells, keys and many other simple objects. The natives treated them well and the sailors even found gold in Hispaniola. When one of the ships sank, Fort Navidad was built with spare wood and materials with the help of the Taino people. Columbus then returned to Spain and had to leave behind some of his crew at Fort Navidad until he returned with his next voyage. 3The sailors left behind soon began to abuse the Taino women and make harsh demands for tribute and service. Chief Cannabo soon attacked the small fort equipped with three thousand native warriors, and slaughtered them all. Columbus then returned on his second voyage approximately a year later with more men, livestock and dogs. Despite seeing the obvious warnings of his former comrades mutilated bodies strewn about the ruins, Columbus continued onto the islands and began to set up camp. 4After failed attempts at trade because of the bad blood, they immediately reverted back to war and brutality. They set up Isabella as the first permanent settlement and within the next thirty years there is an 80-90 percent reduction of native Caribbeans. The Spanish easily overthrew the local people and established the encomienda system where Indians were distributed to Spanish overlords as a share of spoils. They natives were abused and forced to dig and pan for gold under harsh treatment. 5Some of the more sadistic conquistadors would participate in a blood sport known as “monteria infernal”. The Spanish would release Indians into the forest soon followed by packs of greyhounds or Mastiffs to hunt and kill them. They began killing and enslaving the Taino people in mass numbers and sent nearly six hundred back to Spain as slaves. Soon thousands of natives began to die off not from being slaughtered, but from infectious diseases that they had never came in contact with before. 6Diseases such as smallpox, measles, whooping cough, malaria and many others whipped out countless innocent people. One of the greatest consequences of the interactions between the Amerindians and Spanish was the unthinkable amount of innocent native people that died as a result. The killing didn’t stop when Columbus returned on his third voyage with even more people. The Taino now attempted to come together and rebel, but that soon was halted when they were still being slaughtered by the thousands. 7The Spanish practiced a “scorched-earth” strategy and burned every village in their path including more innocent people. They spread their newly acquired land, established more towns, and fortified previously built ones.8Led by Ovando, the Spanish launched the final Indian wars in Hispaniola and slaughtered hundreds of innocent Taino people. The number of Natives killed throughout Columbus’ voyages and those that followed is an unthinkable number, practically making it genocide.