Why did the Spanish explore?
Spain was home to some of the most famous explorers and Conquistadors which were tempted by wealth, power, prestige and the increase of opportunities in Spain. In this time period, trade was expensive so the Spanish wanted to overcome it by conquering land all over the world to get the supplies they needed without having to pay large amounts. Although now in modern day time Portugal has got its independence from Spain, back this this time they did not. Portugal had a long shoreline with many harbors and rivers moving westward to the Atlantic Ocean which made it ideal to travel by ship. By 1540, from Hispaniola to Mexico and south of Peru millions of people had fallen under Spanish rule, so the years that came after made the land that the Spanish owned double.
Spanish explorers and their discoveries
Juan de Onate Salazar established the colony of New Mexico for Spain in 1595. In 1598 he crossed the Rio Grande at El Paso. In 1510 Alfonso de Albuquerque took a city names Goa on the Indian coast, which he called “Portuguese Asia”. Captain Alonso Alvarez de Pindea and his crew were the first Europeans in Texas, claiming it for Spain. Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca sailed to North America from Spain and explored the Paraguay River in South America. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed to South California and claimed it for the Spanish king. Pedro Alvares Cabral “discovered” brazil while trying to go to a failed mission to India. Cabral sailed on March 9th, 1500 and eight months after he returned Da Gama sailed once again. Although Christopher Columbus was only thought to have sailed for Europe, he also sailed for Spain. On October 11th he was the first to found/ spot the outer Bahamas, also founding Cuba and Haiti. In 1400 Vincente Yanez explored Brazil and in January 1500 he sailed 200 miles along the coast of Brazil.
The Spanish word conquistador means conquer therefore the conquistadors were men that conquered anything significant or was and explorer. In the past, Spain had conflict with the Iberian peninsula for close to eight hundred years but Spain won the battle and this victory was called the ‘reconquista’. Most came from the same general area; Pizarro, Cortes, and de Soto were all born in Extremadura, Spain.
Hernan Cortes was responsible for conquering the Aztec empire and claiming Mexico for Spain. Francisco Pizarro conquered the Incan empire of Peru and kill the last Incan emperor. Hernan de Soto was given permission to conquer Florida by the Spanish king. Diego Velásquez explored and conquered parts of Cuba.
The Spanish Empire was started in 1492 and continued to the 20th century but when Spain lost Cuba and the Philippines in 1898 but some people do believe that the empire did not completely fall until Spain took away from the last colonial in Africa in 1976.
1. What are conquistadors and what did they do?
2. Why do the Spanish gain so much power over the other country’s?
3. What were some important factors that contributed to the fall of the Spanish Empire?
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