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Friday, July 1, 2011

Columbus and the Spanish Conquest

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Columbus and the Spanish Conquest


Columbus was a talented navigator from Genoa he wanted to benefit from the victory at Granada. He served the Portuguese crown for years he had also been a slave trader trading between Africa and the Atlantic islands. Columbus had been begging the courts of Portugal, England, France, and Spain to give him the ships and me to attempt to reach eastern Asia by sailing west across the Atlantic. There was a problem with this though. Columbus thought the world circumference at only 16,000 miles. So he said he would reach Japan or China by sailing west ,000 miles. But the Portuguese laughed at this because they put the worlds circumference at 6,000 miles. They told Columbus that he is mad if he tried that because he would perish on the huge ocean. With the fall of Granada Columbus had another chance to pled his case. Isabella who now had men and resources to spare grew more receptive to his request.


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She made him “Admiral of the Ocean Sea” in charge of a fleet of two caravels, the Nina and the Pinta together with a lager ,square rigged ship The Santa Maria which Columbus made his flag ship.


Columbus left the port of Palos in August of 14 , Columbus headed south to the Canaries, to pick up provisions and sailed west across the Atlantic . As they traveled the crew became restless when October came around but on the 1 of October they spotted land. They splashed ashore on San Salvador, now Watlings island in the Bahamas. Chris was convinced that he was somewhere in the East Indies some where near China or Japan. Columbus called the local inhabitants Indians. For several months he poked about the Caribbean , mostly along the coast of Cuba and while doing so he ran the Santa Maria onto rocks the ship had to be abandoned. Because of this Columbus left a garrison of men behind on Hispaniola. When he returned in late 14 all of his men had been killed by the Tainos. After that Columbus made more voyages in quest of China. After his third voyage they shipped hi back to Spain in chains in 1500. Although later restored to royal favor he died in 1506.


Ex-soldiers and peasants were taken across the Atlantic to settle the new land. With them they carried seeds for Europe cereal crops and livestock, including horses, cows, sheep, goats, and pigs. The islands did not have fences so the animals went around the island freely eating every thing up. Because of that the Tainos food supply soon became threatened. The Spaniards forced the increasingly malnourished Indians to work for them. With all of this happening the native population declined catastrophically. By the 1514 only ,000 able-bodied adults remained on Hispaniola, from a population that was at least one million. This same thing happened to Cuba, Jamaica, and other small islands. Soon after all the Indians were dying we had African slave to replace them. The Spaniards continued their new world explorations as the years went by. One geographer name the new continent “America” which he named in honor of his informant the explorer Amerigo Vespucci. Soon Spain conquered Mexico and there they found treasure they had been seeking. Hernan Cortes and his small army of 400 men were the one to discover the fabulous city Tenochtitlan, the Aztec empire. The Aztec leader sent rich presents to persuade the Spaniards to leave but it had the opposite effects. Because of cultural misunderstanding war broke out. But the thing was that both sides had different objectives. Europeans tried to settle matters on eh battlefield and expected to kill many enemies. But the natives fought to gain captives whether for sacrifice or to replace the tribal losses through adoption.


When Cortes entered Tenochtitlan in 151 he seized Moctezuma the Aztec ruler as a prisoner and hostage. Though overwhelmingly outnumbered Cortes and his men began to destroy Aztec religious objects and replace them with images of the Virgin Mary or other Catholic saints. In response to this while Cortes was away the Aztecs rose against the intruders, Moctezuma was killed and the Spaniards were driven out with Heavy losses. But the smallpox the Spaniards left behind soon began killing Aztecs by the thousands. The next year Cortez returned with thousands of the Tlaxcalans warriors and he built warships armed with cannon to dominated lake Texcoco which the city lay on. After defeating the Aztecs the city lay in ruins but Spain built Mexico city on the ruins of Tenochtitlan.


Cabeza de Vaca made his way back to Mexico city in 156 after an overland journey that took him form Florida through Texas. Hernando de soto landed in Florida in 15 and roamed through muck of the southeastern US in quest of gold and silver. He crossed the Mississippi in 1541 wandered through the Ozarks and eastern Oklahoma. During these times of travel Spanish Priests did their best to convert Thousands of North Americans Indians to the Catholic faith. After that they started to build missions one of the first was in Virginia.


Today we still have missions all around the USA and Mexico. There are still native Americans that live in Mexico and all over the USA. Also there are many different cultures that live in America today and in Mexico. Not only do Europeans live here we have Chinese, Africans, Mexicans etc. We have people from all around the world who have settled and made America there home for generations.








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