Picture of Hernando Cortes
 

Spanish Conquistadors

  • Interesting Facts and information about famous Spanish Conquistadors
  • Famous Spanish Conquistadors in the New World
  • Hernan Cortes, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Juan Ponce de Leon - 'el conquistador'
  • Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, 
    Francisco Vazquez de Coronado

Picture of Hernando Cortes

 
 

Spanish Conquistadors
The Renaissance & Elizabethan Age of Exploration to the New World was dominated by the Spanish Conquistadors. The success of the Spanish Conquistadors in acquiring monopolies on much of the Eastern spice trade and their expeditions to the New World brought great wealth and power to Spain. The new discoveries made by the Spanish Conquistadors brought untold riches in terms of gold and silver and spices and it also brought power and influence...

 
 
 

Who were the Spanish Conquistadors?
The Spanish word Conquistador means conqueror. The Conquistadors were Spanish Soldiers and Explorers - 'el conquistador'

The History of the Spanish Conquistadors
Spain had successfully taken the Iberian peninsula from the Muslim Moors after nearly eight hundred years of conflict. This victory was referred to as the 'reconquista'. The conflict with the Muslim Moors had been seen as a continuation of the Medieval Crusades. The crusades were a series of religious Holy Wars which had been given the blessing of the Pope.

 

They were fought by Roman Catholic soldiers. The Spanish explorers / soldiers saw their mission to conquer new lands as a natural extension of the Medieval crusades. Roman Catholic Priests and Friars always accompanied the Spanish explorers who were expected to convert heathen natives to Christianity. The explorer / soldiers who travelled to the New World adopted the name 'Conquistadors'.

The Motives of the Spanish Conquistadors
The motives of the Spanish Conquistadors and their patrons were prompted by:

  • Wealth - gold, silver and spices
  • Power
  • Prestige
  • Increasing opportunities for Spanish trade
 
 
  •  Spreading the Catholic Religion to heathen natives
  • Building a Spanish Empire

The people of Spain adhered to the Catholic religion. Many were fanatical about their religion - the Spanish Inquisition was an example of this. The idea of spreading the Catholic faith to heathen races was seen as a primary reason for the Spanish Conquistadors to undertake voyages of discovery.

The Attitudes of the Spanish Conquistadors to the Natives- the Encomienda system
The attitude of the Spanish conquistadors to the natives was that they were savage and pagan. The Spanish government had decreed that the Encomienda system should be established in the New World - it came to signify the oppression and exploitation of the Native Indians, although this was not their original intent. The the Encomienda system was similar to the Medieval Feudal system. The primary purpose of the Encomienda system was to indoctrinate the Indians in the Catholic faith. The Indians were expected to pay a tribute to the Spanish Conquistadors in return for protection and religious instruction. The Encomienda system was totally abused - the Conquistadors were thousands of miles away from Spain and they behaved as they saw fit. The natives were abused, oppressed, exploited, ill-treated and decimated by the Spanish Conquistadors. The Indians lost their freedom, their rights, their culture and their religion. The Spanish Conquistadors were feared and hated and the very name 'Conquistador' still conveys these terrible impressions - 'el conquistador'. The Encomienda system was replaced by new laws in 1542.

Famous Spanish Conquistadors
A biography and timeline  about the most famous Spanish Conquistadors have been developed with facts, history and information. They can be accessed by clicking one of the following links:

 
Famous Spanish Conquistadors  
Picture of Juan Ponce De Leon

Picture of Juan Ponce De Leon

 
 

List of Famous Spanish Conquistadors in the New World

Name of Conquistador

Dates

Land

Hernan Cortes
1518 - 1522
Mexico
 
1524
Honduras
 
1532 - 1536
California
Vasco Nunez de Balboa
1510 - 1519
Panama
Juan Ponce de Leon
1508
Puerto Rico
 
1513
Florida
Francisco Pizarro
1509 - 1535
Peru
Hernando de Soto
1539 - 1542
Florida & South East United States
Francisco Vazquez de Coronado
1540 - 1542
Arizona and New Mexico
Cristobal de Olid
1523 -1524
Honduras
Gonzalo Pizarro
1532 - 1542 
Peru
Juan Pizarro
1532 - 1536
Peru
Hernando Pizarro
1532 - 1560
Peru
Ines Suarez
1541
Chile
Pedro de Valdivia
1540 - 1552
Chile
Diego de Almagro
1524 - 1535
Peru
 
1535 - 1537
Chile
Pedro Menendez de Aviles
1565 - 1567
Florida
Pánfilo de Narvaez
1527 - 1528
Florida
Pedro de Alvarado
1519 - 1521
Mexico
 
1523 - 1527
Guatemala
 
1533 - 1535
Peru
 
1540 - 1541
Mexico
Diego Velazquez de Cuellar
1511 - 1519
Cuba
Sebastian de Belalcazar
1533 - 1536
Ecuador and Colombia
Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada
1536 - 1537
Colombia
 
1569 - 1572
Venezuela
Martin de Ursua
1696 - 1697
Guatemala
Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba
1517
Yucatan
Martín de Goiti
1570 - 1571
Manila, Philippines
Miguel Lopez de Legazpi
1565 - 1571
Philippines
Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba
1517
Yucatan
Juan de Grijalva
1518
Yucatan
Francisco de Montejo
1527 - 1546
Yucatan
Francisco de Orellana
1541 - 1543
Amazon River
Juan de Salcedo
1570 - 1576
Philippines
Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca
1527 - 1536
South West United States
 
1540 - 1542
South America
Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon
1524 - 1527
East Coast United States
Diego de Nicuesa
1506 - 1511
Panama

Name of Conquistador

Dates

Land

List of Famous Spanish Conquistadors in the New World

 

Famous Spanish Conquistadors
Additional details, facts and information about the Age of Exploration can be accessed via the Elizabethan Era Sitemap.

Spanish Explorers

Spanish Conquistadors of the Elizabethan Age

  • Interesting Facts and information about famous Spanish Conquistadors
  • Early Spanish Conquistadors - el conquistador
  • Famous Spanish Conquistadors in the New World
  • Hernan Cortes, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Juan Ponce de Leon
  • Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, 
    Francisco Vazquez de Coronado
 
 

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Spanish Conquistadors

 

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