Want to learn more about Spain’s tactics in its conquest of the Americas? Read on for a historical overview of how Spain managed to conquer the Americas at a remarkable pace…
After the discovery of Europe by the explorer Christopher Columbus Spain initiated the exploration of the Americas. The expeditions were initiated in the 15th century and continued for the next two centuries within which Spain employed various tactics to conquer the Americas.
Historical records indicate that the conquest of the Americas was a remarkable feat that was achieved by the Spanish conquerors. The sheer pace at which the different areas were explored and conquered was unparalleled by any other example in history. For the rulers of Spain the objective of these expeditions was to spread the word of God and expand the dominion of the Spanish Crown by adding new civilizations to it.
Spain was quick to accomplish its goals and the Spanish Empire that was formed as a result of these efforts far outstretched the Golden Ages of Roman and Greek Empires of the past in terms of the land that it had under their possession. Although the pace at which the conquests were achieved was surely remarkable the tactics employed by the Spanish were certainly questionable. Perhaps no one but the native population of the Americas felt the Spanish tactics to be questionable and morally corrupt.
According to the locals the primary reason for conquering their home territory was the lust for gold. And it was in pursuit of this lust that the Spanish Empire actually destroyed a number of native civilizations.
Major damage was caused to the local populations by diseases, such as smallpox, that had made their way into the American continents through the Europeans. These diseases alone killed far more natives than were killed during battles. The loss of so many lives further weakened the native civilization and it eventually crumbled in front of the Spanish Conquistadors.
By the 1500s a large part of the Americas had been discovered and conquered by the Spaniards. For the purpose of safeguarding the integrity of the local population the Spanish government instituted the Laws of Burgos in 1512. The objective of these laws was to regulate the behavior of the Spanish settlers on the continent and the manner in which they were to treat the Native Americans. The maltreatment of the natives was forgiven, however, whereas the conversion to Catholicism was endorsed. By the 16th century more than 240,000 Europeans had entered the American ports and established themselves in the newly discovered regions.
The fact that Spain did have a major interest in the riches of the Americas came o light when just a century later more than one-fifth of the total budget of the country was comprised of American silver.
While some argue that historical records have been manipulated to condemn the Spanish Empire and to deliberately cast a bad light upon the entire series of expeditions, others are of the staunch opinion that the Spanish committed severe injustices against the local population upon their arrival and for many years thereafter.