Colonization of America

   1. First Trip around the World: Magallanes and Elcano

   The conquest and colonization of America, even if it had its defects at the time, represent a Spanish contribution to the history of humankind.

   Balboa had discovered the Pacific Ocean, however, with the sea it was necessary to establish a maritime communication. The final expedition was the one of Magallanes and Elcano.

   - MAGALLANES. Ferdinand Magallanes was a Portuguese who was at the service of Emperor Charles V. His plan was to reach the Moluccas islands, which were rich in spices, through the Pacific sailing westward in order to avoid going around the African continent. Charles approved the plan and five ships sailed out of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. After crossing the Atlantic, they bordered South America and crossed the Strait of Magallanes. They encountered great difficulties in the Pacific and the scurvy disease spread among the sailors. They had swollen gums, their teeth fell and their mouths were full of sores. They reached the island of Guam and then they went to Mactan, where the king killed Magallanes.

   - ELCANO. The Basque Juan Sebastián Elcano took command of the expedition and began the return by heading towards India and bordering Africa. They ended up in Sanlucar de Barrameda, from where they had began their journey three years earlier. Out of the 265 crewmembers who began the journey, 18 came back; however, they reached the goal of going around the Earth. The emperor granted a shield that had a globe on it with the following words: "Primus circumdedisti me" (the first who went around me).

   2. Indicate if the statement refers to: Magallanes or Elcano.

He went to India

He was a native of Portugal

He wanted to reach the Moluccas

He bordered Africa

He returned with 18 men

He bordered the Strait of his name

They suffered from scurvy

The emperor gave him a shield

He died in the island of Mactan

    3. The Conquerors

   Although there were others, we will now study Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro and Pedro de Valdivia.

   - HERNAN CORTES. With a fleet of eleven ships, he headed for the Yucatan peninsula and founded the city of Veracruz or Villa Rica. The Aztec emperor was called Moctezuma and he dominated other surrounding villages. The capital was Mexico, with one million inhabitants located in the middle of a lake. Cortés became friends with the neighboring villages and got closer and closer to the capital. Montezuma received him politely and organized a banquet. However, Hernán Cortés feared treason so he took him prisoner. Later Moctezuma was stoned until death by one of his own.

   Cortés organized his army and defeated the Aztecs in the Battle of Otumba. The success was due to panic that the Indians had for horses, which were considered fantastic animals. The conquered lands were called New Spain. (Refer to the image).

   - FRANCISCO PIZARRO created the plan of conquering the Inca Empire in South America. With Diego de Almagro and other Spaniards, he made two preparatory trips, but on the island of Gallo they encountered many difficulties. The Governor of Panama sent a boat to pick them up, but Pizarro drew a line on the ground with his sword and said, "this is the way to Peru to get rich; that way back to Panama to get poor". Only the “thirteen famous ones” stayed with Pizarro. (Refer to the image)

   On the third expedition, they arrived in Cajamarca and took the emperor Atahualpa as prisoner. To obtain his release, Atahualpa offered to fill the room where he was with gold and silver. He kept his promise. Pizarro condemned him to a process for having sent to kill his brother Huascar, who was competing for the crown, and had him executed. Pizarro founded Lima, the city of the Kings, where he established the capital.

    - PEDRO DE VALDIVIA managed to conquer and organize the territories of present day Chile. He founded the city and developed agriculture, but Caupolicán organized the great uprising of the Araucanians, where Valdivia died. Don García Hurtado de Mendoza, who succeeded him, defeated Caupolicán and was executed.

   4. Indicate if the statement refers to: Hernán Cortés, Pizarro or Valdivia.

They headed for Yucatan

He conquered the empire of the Incas

He fought with the Araucanians

He beat the Aztecs

He founded the city of Veracruz

He battled Atahualpa

He imprisoned Moctezuma

He was killed by Caupolicán

They were on the island of Gallo

He conquered the territories of Chile

    5. Colonization

    Although slanders have been said against Spain, we now know that the stimuli of colonization were two: one religious, to evangelize the Indians and the other humanitarian and generous, which equated Indians to the Spaniards and promoted the mixture of races. Thus arose the mixed race.

   - DEVELOPMENT OF THE ECONOMY. The conquistadors introduced new agricultural plants, such as wheat, barley, coffee, sugarcane and vegetables. They encouraged livestock and introduced new work tools. The industry of wines, ceramics, jewelry, cotton and wool were developed. Moreover, an impulse was given to trade.

   - DEVELOPMENT OF CULTURE. Indian schools (such as the one in Amatlán), secondary education schools (such as the one in Tlatelolco) and universities (such as the one in Mexico) were created. Libraries were opened and the printing press was being used. Colonial art developed in architecture, for example, the cathedrals of Puebla and Mexico. (See the Church in of Dolores of Tegucigalpa, Honduras).

   - ORGANIZATION of the government and administration. In Spain, the House of Hiring and the Council of the Indies were created. The viceroys and governors were located on American soil. The municipalities were governed by the indigenous people themselves under the supervision of the Spanish mayor and the priest, who was in charge of the religious duties. The whole organization was based on the Laws of India, with an undoubted generous and humanitarian spirit.

   - THE EVANGELIZING MISSIONS. The main concern of the Spanish kings was the Christianization of the Indians. The labor of culture and civilization that the missions carried out are very well known, especially those of the Franciscans in Mexico; the Franciscans and Jesuits in California and New Mexico; the Mercedarians in South America and the Jesuits in Paraguay, where they made the Indian villages turn into a community based on an autonomous regime. In addition to their religious work, the missionaries carried out an important educational role, teaching kids about crafts as well as agricultural, livestock and industrial practices with great zeal and heroism.

   6. Indicate whether the statement refers to: the economy, culture, organization or evangelization.

The Indian Council was created

They organized Missions

They created universities

They introduced wheat and barley

The Mercedarians in South America

There were viceroys and governors

The Jesuits founded communities

They introduced new work instruments

They took colonial art

They promulgated the Laws of India

They made the cathedral of Mexico

The wine industry was organized

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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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