In What Ways Did The Spaniards Experience Of Colonisation Pre 1520 Shape Thier Approach To The Conquest Of Mexico Notes
This is a short sample from our The Spanish Conquest and Colonisation of the New World Notes collection which contains 30 pages of notes in total. If you find this useful you might like to consider purchasing our The Spanish Conquest and Colonisation of the New World Notes.
|Pages In Full Document||5|
|Original Document File Type:||Word (Doc) (Conversion to PDF is available post purchase if required)|
|Price:||Part of a package The Spanish Conquest and Colonisation of the New World Notes containing 5 other documents which retails for £24.99.|
The original file is a 'Word (Doc)' whilst this sample is a 'PDF' representation of said file. This means that the formatting here may have errors. The original document you'll receive on purchase should have more polished formatting.
In What Ways Did The Spaniards Experience Of Colonisation Pre 1520 Shape Thier Approach To The Conquest Of Mexico RevisionThe following is a plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our The Spanish Conquest and Colonisation of the New World Notes. This text version has had its formatting removed so pay attention to its contents alone rather than its presentation. The version you download will have its original formatting intact and so will be much prettier to look at.
In what ways did the Spaniards’ experience of colonization before 1520 shape their
approach to the conquest of Mexico?
100 Word Summary
The Spaniard’s experience of pre-Mesoamerican colonisation had both ideological
and practical impact on Cortés’ conquest of Mexico. Whilst the ideological factors
were notable, it was the practical lessons learnt from the Granada campaign
onwards which allowed the Spaniards to so emphatically conquer the Aztec empire.
Confidence in European military prowess, exploitation of divisions and focus on
controlling or killing the elite allowed Cortés to operate far more effectively than his
small army promised.
In the letters Hernan Cortés sent to Emperor Charles V he was attempting to justify
his actions, avoid treason charges and garner royal patronage. He was not giving a
straightforward explanation of his tactics, and thus there is very little mention of
previous Spanish attempts at colonisation, despite the fact that Cortés had
accompanied Velazquez in the 1511 conquest of Cuba. Bernal Diaz skims over the
recent Grijalva and Cordoba expeditions. Both make no reference to the plethora of
recent military activity and wisdom accumulated by Spain since the accession of
Ferdinand and Isabella. Whether subconscious, or wholly conscious but not
recognised, the Cortés expedition used many of the lessons learnt from the capture of
Granada, forays into Africa and Italy, the conquest of the Canary Isles and of the
West Indies. Without such knowledge the mission would not have been successful.
Although clinging to their opposition between Spanish and ‘alien’, the Spanish were
at least used to contact with races apart from their own, and were ingrained with
important views and laws regarding slavery and religious conversion. On the
pragmatic side, Cortés was aware of the supreme superiority of Western weaponry
and armour, the importance of establishing sustainable colonies, exploiting divisions
in ones enemy and of controlling tribal leaders, and must have had at least some idea
of the demographic damage Western disease could wreak. The combined experience
of Spanish conquest and colonisation since 1492 gave Cortés the tactical capability
and confidence to take on an ‘alien’ empire, and win.
Through their recent experiences of colonisation, Spaniards had become familiar, if
not with the particulars of other cultures, then at least with the existence of races
outside Christian Europe. This acceptance provided Cortés’ expedition with a mindset
more open to surprise and more ready to adapt than the Mexican, and in addition
provided useful (if erroneous) comparisons. The word “Indian” derives from
Columbus’ belief that he’d discovered a transatlantic route to the East Indies. Thus
meeting the Mexica, Cortés did not find their existence entirely shocking and was not
overawed into overestimating Aztec power. Furthermore, contact with Islamic
cultures in the reconquista and the subsequent occupation of the Emirate of Nasra
(Granada) put Spain in close contact with i) a different ii) non-Christian race. This
lead to Cortés describing the Mexican tributaries in the environs of Veracruz as
wearing “thin mantles which are decorated in a Moorish fashion”1. Contact with
African slaves sold from Portugal (35,000 by 1492), and Indian tributaries of the
encomienda system was also common to the Spaniards of the Mexican expedition.
Spanish ideological developments since their first ‘colonising’ effort – Granada -
provided them with various theories regarding the treatment of the vanquished. In
1492 Isabella’s courtier Hernando de Talavera had been made first Archbishop of
Cortés; Letters from Mexico, A.R.Pagden, p.30
****************************End Of Sample*****************************
Buy the full version of these notes and essays alongside much more in our The Spanish Conquest and Colonisation of the New World Notes.