Spanish colonization of the Americas
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Conquista redirects here. For other uses, seeConquista (disambiguation).
First wave of European colonization
Flag of Spanishconquistadorswith crown of Castile on a red flag, used byHernn CortsFrancisco Pizarroand others
The overseas expansion under theCrown of Castilewas initiated under the royal authority and first accomplished by the Spanishconquistadors. The Americas were incorporated into theSpanish Empire, with the exception ofBrazilCanada, and several other small countries in South America and The Caribbean. The crown created civil and religious structures to administer the region. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of theCatholicfaith throughindigenousconversions.
Beginning with the 1492 arrival ofChristopher Columbusin the Caribbean and continuing control of vast territory for over three centuries, theSpanish Empirewould expand across theCaribbeanIslands, half ofSouth America, most ofCentral Americaand much ofNorth America(including present dayMexicoFloridaand theSouthwesternandPacific Coastalregions of theUnited States). It is estimated that during the colonial period (14921832), a total of 1.86 million Spaniards settled in the Americas and a further 3.5 million immigrated during the post-colonial era (18501950); the estimate is 250,000 in the 16th century, and most during the 18th century as immigration was encouraged by the new Bourbon Dynasty.
Spain enjoyed a culturalgolden agein the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when silver and gold from American mines increasingly financed a long series of European and North African wars. Spanish wars of conquest included laying waste much of theNetherlandsand a disastrous attempt to invadeEngland.
In the early 19th century, theSpanish American wars of independenceresulted in the emancipation of most Spanish colonies in the Americas, except forCubaandPuerto Rico, which were finally given up in 1898, following theSpanishAmerican War, together withGuamand thePhilippinesin the Pacific. Spains loss of these last territories politically ended the Spanish rule in the Americas.
Iberianterritory ofCrown of Castile
Overseas north territory of Crown of Castile (New Spain and Philippines)
Overseas south territory of Crown of Castile (Per, New Granada and Ro de la Plata)
The Catholic MonarchsIsabella of Castile, Queen ofCastileand her husbandKing Ferdinand, King ofAragon, pursued a policy of joint rule of their kingdoms and created a singleSpanish monarchy. Even though Castile and Aragon were ruled jointly by their respective monarchs, they remained separate kingdoms. The Catholic Monarchs gave official approval for the plans of Genoese marinerChristopher Columbusfor a voyage to reach India by sailing West. The funding came from the queen of Castile, so the profits from Spanish expedition flowed to Castile. In the extension of Spanish sovereignty to its overseas territories, authority for expeditions of discovery, conquest, and settlement resided in the monarchy.
Columbus made four voyages to theWest Indiesas the monarchs granted Columbus the governorship of the new territories, and financed more of his trans-Atlantic journeys. He foundedLa Navidadon the island later namedHispaniola(now divided into Haiti and the Dominican Republic), in what is the present-dayHaition his first voyage. After its destruction by the indigenousTainopeople, the town of Isabella was begun in 1493, on his second voyage. In 1496 his brother,Bartholomew, foundedSanto Domingo. By 1500, despite a high death rate, there were between 300 and 1000 Spanish settled in the area. The localTanopeople continued to resist, refusing to plant crops and abandoning their Spanish-occupied villages. The first mainland explorations were followed by a phase of inland expeditions and conquest. In 1500 the city ofNueva Cdizwas founded on the island ofCubaguaVenezuela, followed by the founding ofSanta CruzbyAlonso de Ojedain present-dayGuajira peninsulaCumanin Venezuela was the first permanent settlement founded byEuropeansin the mainlandAmericas,in 1501 by, but due to successful attacks by the indigenous people, it had to be refounded several times, untilDiego Hernndez de Serpas foundation in 1569. The Spanish founded San Sebastian de Uraba in 1509 but abandoned it within the year. There is indirect evidence that the first permanent Spanish mainland settlement established in the Americas wasSanta Mara la Antigua del Darin.
Main article:Spanish conquest of Mexico
Further information:Spanish conquest of YucatnandSpanish conquest of Guatemala
Spanish Conquest of Mexico, meeting of Corts and Moctezuma II
Map depicting Corts invasion route
The Spanish conquest of Mexico is generally understood to be theSpanish conquest of the Aztec Empire(151921) which was the base for later conquests of other regions. Later conquests were protracted campaigns with less spectacular results than the conquest of the Aztecs. TheSpanish conquest of Yucatn, theSpanish conquest of Guatemala, the war of Mexicos west, and theChichimeca Warin northern Mexico expanded Spanish control over territory and indigenous populations.But not until theSpanish conquest of Peruwas the conquest of the Aztecs matched in scope by the victory over the Inca empire in 1532.
The Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire was led byHernn Corts. The victory over the Aztecs was relatively quick, from 1519 to 1521, and aided by hisTlaxcalaand other allies from indigenous city-states oraltepetl. These polities allied against theAztecempire, to which they paid tribute following conquest or threat of conquest, leaving the city-states political hierarchy and social structure in place.
TheSpanish conquest of Yucatnwas a much longer campaign, from 1551 to 1697, against theMaya peoplesin theYucatn Peninsulaof present-day Mexico and northernCentral AmericaHernn Cortslanding ashore at present dayVeracruzand founding the Spanish city there on April 22, 1519 marked the beginning of 300 years of Spanish hegemony over the region. The assertion of royal control over the Kingdom of New Spain and the initial Spanish conquerors took over a decade, with importance of the region meriting the creation of the Viceroyalty ofNew Spain. Established by Charles V in 1535, the first viceroy was DonAntonio de Mendoza.
Spain colonized and exerted control ofAlta Californiathrough theSpanish missions in Californiauntil theMexican secularization act of 1833.
Main article:Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire
Vasco Nñez de Balboaclaiming possession of the South Sea (Pacific Ocean)
Map depicting the route of Pizarro from Panama to Cuzco
In 1532 at theBattle of Cajamarcaa group of Spaniards underFrancisco Pizarroand theirnative allies ambushed and captured the EmperorAtahualpaof theInca Empire. It was the first step in a long campaign that took decades of fighting to subdue the mightiestempirein theAmericas. In the following years Spain extended its rule over the Empire of theInca civilization.
The Spanish took advantage of a recent civil war between the factions of the two brothers EmperorAtahualpaandHuscar, and the enmity ofindigenous nationsthe Incas had subjugated, such as theHuancasChachapoyas, andCañaris. In the following years theconquistadorsand indigenous allies extended control over Greater Andes Region. TheViceroyalty of Perwas established in 1542. Thelast Inca strongholdwas conquered by the Spanish in 1572.
European explorers arrived inRo de la Platain 1516. Their first Spanish settlement in this zone was theFort of Sancti Spirituestablished in 1527 next to theParan RiverBuenos Aires, a permanent colony, was established in 1536 and in 1537Asuncinwas established in the area that is nowParaguay. Buenos Aires suffered attacks by the indigenous peoples that forced the settlers away, and in 1541 the site was abandoned. A second (and permanent) settlement was established in 1580 byJuan de Garay, who arrived by sailing down theParan RiverfromAsuncin(now the capital ofParaguay). He dubbed the settlement Santsima Trinidad and its port became Puerto de Santa Mara de los Buenos Aires. The city came to be the head of theGovernorate of the Ro de la Plataand in 1776 elevated to be the capital of the newViceroyalty of the Ro de la Plata.
Between 1537 and 1543, sixSpanish expeditions entered highland Colombia, conquered theMuisca Confederation, and set up theNew Kingdom of GranadaSpanish:Nuevo Reino de Granada).Gonzalo Jimnez de Quesadawas the leading conquistador withhis brother Hernnsecond in command.It was governed by the president of theAudiencia of Bogot, and comprised an area corresponding mainly to modern-dayColombiaand parts ofVenezuela. Theconquistadorsoriginally organized it as acaptaincy generalwithin theViceroyalty of Peru. The crown established theaudienciain 1549. Ultimately, the kingdom became part of theViceroyalty of New Granadafirst in 1717 and permanently in 1739. After several attempts to set up independent states in the 1810s, the kingdom and the viceroyalty ceased to exist altogether in 1819 with the establishment ofGran Colombia.
Spains administration of its colonies in the Americas was divided into theViceroyalty of New Spain1535 (capital,Mexico City), and theViceroyalty of Peru1542 (capital,Lima). In the 18th century the additionalViceroyalty of New Granada1717 (capital, Bogot), andViceroyalty of Rio de la Plata1776 (capital, Buenos Aires) were established from portions of the Viceroyalty of Peru. The change diminished the political and economic power of the viceroyalty and opened formal connections between the mining district of Upper Peru and the port of Buenos Aires.
The system of crown rule evolved from the era of theCatholic Monarchs, which established theCouncil of the Indies, to the establishment of viceroyalties in Mexico and Peru following their conquests in the Hapsburg era, and then into anIntendantsystem in the eighteenth century as part of theBourbon Reforms. The reform was aimed at increasing crown control over its colonies, raising more revenue, and promoting greater efficiency.
Juan Ponce de LenSantervs de CamposValladolidSpain) led the first European expedition to Florida, which he named.
Viceroyalty of New Spain(15351821)
Captaincy General of the Philippines(administered by New Spain from 1565 to 1821, then after Mexican independence transferred to and directly administered by Madrid until 1898)
Captaincy General of Cuba(until 1898) Included in this captaincy general until 1819 wasFlorida.
Captaincy General of Puerto Rico(until 1898)
Santo Domingo(last Spanish rule 18611865)
Captaincy General of Chile(15411818)
Viceroyalty of New Granada(17171819)
Viceroyalty of the Ro de la Plata(17761814)
Main article:Spanish American wars of independence
Spanish colonialization in theAmericas.
During the NapoleonicPeninsular Warin Europe between France and Spain, assemblies calledjuntaswere established to rule in the name ofFerdinand VII of Spain. TheLibertadores(Spanish and Portuguese for Liberators) were the principal leaders of the Spanish American wars of independence. They were predominantlycriollos(Americas-born people of European ancestry, mostly Spanish or Portuguese),bourgeoisand influenced byliberalismand in some cases with military training in themother country.
In 1809 the first declarations of independence from Spanish rule occurred in theViceroyalty of New Granada. The first two were in present-dayBoliviaatSucre(May 25), andLa Paz(July 16); and the third in present-dayEcuadoratQuito(August 10). In 1810 Mexico declared independence, with theMexican War of Independencefollowing for over a decade. In 1821Treaty of Crdobaestablished Mexican independence from Spain and concluded the War. ThePlan of Igualawas part of the peace treaty to establish a constitutional foundation for an independent Mexico.
These began a movement forcolonial independencethat spread to Spains other colonies in the Americas. The ideas from theFrenchand theAmerican Revolutioninfluenced the efforts. All of the colonies, except Cuba and Puerto Rico, attained independence by the 1820s. TheBritish Empireoffered support, wanting to end the Spanish monopoly on trade with its colonies in the Americas.
In 1898, theUnited Statesachieved victory in theSpanishAmerican Warwith Spain, ending the Spanish colonial era. Spanish possession and rule of its remaining colonies in the Americas ended in that year with its sovereignty transferred to the United States. The United States took occupation ofCuba, thePhilippines, andPuerto Rico. Puerto Rico continues to be a possession of the United States, now officially continues as a.
It has been estimated that over 1.86 million Spaniards emigrated to Latin America in the period between 1492 and 1824, with millions more continuing to immigrate following independence.
In Hispaniola, the indigenous Tano pre-contact population before the arrival of Columbus of several hundred thousand had declined to sixty thousand by 1509. Although population estimates vary, Dominican friarBartolom de las Casas, the Defender of the Indians estimated there were 6 million (6,000,000)TanoandArawakin the Caribbean at the time of Columbuss arrival in 1492.
The population of the Native American population inMexicodeclined by an estimated 90% (reduced to 12.5 million people) by the early 17th century. InPeruthe indigenous Amerindian pre-contact population of around 6.5 million declined to 1 million by the early 17th century.The overwhelming cause of the decline in both Mexico and Peru wasinfectious diseases, although the brutality of theEncomiendaalso played a significant part in the population decline.
Of the history of the indigenous population ofCaliforniaSherburne F. Cook(18961974) was the most painstakingly careful researcher. From decades of research he made estimates for the pre-contact population and the history of demographic decline during the Spanish and post-Spanish periods. According to Cook, the indigenous Californian population at first contact, in 1769, was about 310,000 and had dropped to 25,000 by 1910. The vast majority of the decline happened after the Spanish period, during theMexicanandUSperiods of Californian history (18211910), with the most dramatic collapse (200,000 to 25,000) occurring in the US period (18461910).
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Smallpox Epidemics in the New World
Timeline of imperialismColonization of North America
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Cooks judgement on the effects of U.S rule upon the native Californians is harsh: The first (factor) was the food supply… The second factor was disease. …A third factor, which strongly intensified the effect of the other two, was the social and physical disruption visited upon the Indian. He was driven from his home by the thousands, starved, beaten, raped, and murdered with impunity. He was not only given no assistance in the struggle against foreign diseases, but was prevented from adopting even the most elementary measures to secure his food, clothing, and shelter. The utter devastation caused by the white man was literally incredible, and not until the population figures are examined does the extent of the havoc become ok, Sherburne F. 1976b.
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