The goals of the Spanish colonizers in Mexico were to establish a profitable empire and spread Christianity through missionary work.
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The Spanish colonizers arrived in Mexico in the early 16th century with the primary goal of establishing a profitable empire. They sought to extract precious metals and resources from the land, particularly gold and silver, which were abundant in the area. The Spanish also aimed to expand their influence and power, ultimately creating new trade routes and markets for their goods. However, it was not solely a matter of economics; in addition to wealth, the Spanish sought to spread Christianity through missionary work. The conquistadors believed it was their duty to convert as many indigenous people as possible, often using violent means to suppress traditional practices and impose their own religion.
Bartolomé de las Casas, a 16th-century Spanish historian and colonizer, wrote extensively about the attitudes and motivations of the Spanish conquerors. In his famous work “A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies,” de las Casas describes the horrors committed by the Spanish in their quest for power and religious dominance. He writes, “They made bets as to who would slit a man in two, or cut off his head at a stroke…they poured peoples full of boiling soap, they made them eat excrement…they would practice their sword thrusts on still-living boys and girls” (De las Casas, 1566).
Interesting facts about Spanish colonization in Mexico include:
- Hernán Cortés, the most famous of the Spanish conquistadors, was initially motivated by greed and a desire for adventure, but he also saw himself as a crusader for Christianity. He famously burned his ships upon arrival in Mexico, showing his men that they were committed to their mission whether they wanted to be or not.
- The Spanish used a variety of tactics to suppress indigenous culture, including destroying temples and sacred sites, banning certain practices, and forcing natives to adopt Spanish dress and language.
- The Spanish brought a number of diseases with them to the New World, including smallpox, measles, and influenza. These diseases decimated the native population, which had no immunity to them.
- One of the most profitable industries for the Spanish in Mexico was silver mining. They extracted massive amounts of silver from the land, much of which was used to finance other colonial ventures.
- Despite the many atrocities committed by the Spanish in Mexico and elsewhere in the New World, some Catholic missionaries fought for the rights of the indigenous peoples and attempted to protect them from exploitation. Notable among these was Bartolomé de las Casas himself, who eventually became a vocal advocate for the rights of the native peoples.
|Goals of Spanish Colonizers in Mexico|
|Establish a profitable empire|
|Spread Christianity through missionary work|
|Extract precious metals and resources|
|Expand influence and power|
|Create new trade routes and markets|
|Suppress traditional practices and impose Spanish culture|
|Profit from silver mining|
|Commit atrocities against native peoples|
|Promote Catholic missionaries and advocates|
- de las Casas, Bartolomé. “A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies.” 1566.
- Prescott, William H. “The Conquest of Mexico.” 1843.
- “The Spanish Conquest of Mexico.” Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Response via video
The video provides a brief overview of the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, led by Hernán Cortés. After forming an alliance with a Totanac chief, Cortés marched to the Aztec capital and eventually conquered it with the help of neighboring states. The Aztec emperor Montezuma II was arrested and later died during a rebellion in the city. Although the Spanish lost many men during their retreat, they were able to regroup and defeat the Aztecs once again. The surviving Aztecs were cast out and forbidden from living in the ashes of their former city, and the Spanish went on to conquer neighboring states and the Maya in the Yucatan Peninsula over the course of 170 years, aided by disease.
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Aside from spiritual conquest through religious conversion, Spain hoped to pacify areas that held extractable natural resources such as iron, tin, copper, salt, silver, gold, hardwoods, tar and other such resources, which could then be exploited by investors.
Three goals of the Spanish colonization in the Americas were the spread of Catholicism, the increase of wealth, and the expansion of the Spanish empire. Spain was considered to have as three main goals behind its expeditions to North America: the expansion of its empire, the attainment of wealth, and the spread of Christianity.
The main goals of the Spanish colonization in the Americas are:
- to extend influence and power
- to spread Christianity
- to find gold, silver and other wealth.
Motivations for colonization: Spain’s colonization goals were to extract gold and silver from the Americas, to stimulate the Spanish economy and make Spain a more powerful country. Spain also aimed to convert Native Americans to Christianity.
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