Summary Of The Spanish Conquest Of Latin America

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Throughout several centuries, the Spanish conquest of Latin America has been portrayed, according to Keen in his textbook, A History of Latin America, as a "handful of Spaniards" conquering two of the largest empires in Latin America. Now, it is true that in comparison to the multiplicity of diverse groups of Native Americans within both the Aztec and Inca empires, the number of Spaniards who conquered them were indeed very few in number. However, despite the framework of this concept being true that a "handful of Spaniards won two empires," which is stated within the title of a section in Keen's textbook, this framework does not account for several other key aspects that played a huge role in how the Spaniards went about conquering these two…show more content…
The lethality of their fire arms in itself gave the Spaniards an unfair advantage because they could travel great distances and attack from afar, without having to engage in direct combat with the natives. For instance, when the Spaniards were fighting the Tlascalans, Bernal Díaz gives his account that "we came up with our artillery, muskets, and crossbows, and gradually they began to give away" (143). But despite it being greatly assumed that the natives did not put up much of a fight against the Spaniards, the assertion that the natives were easy to defeat is a complete misconception. On the contrary, even Bernal Díaz acknowledges that the natives fought bravely "with their arrows and fire-hardened darts, and did wonders with their two-handed swords" (143). And according to Bernal Díaz, the natives marched into battle as warriors and met the Spaniard "with loud shouts and the noise of drums and trumpets, shooting their arrows, hurling their darts" (144). He even goes on to say that the natives inflicted upon the Spaniards "great damage with their spears and broadswords, also with the hail of stones from their slings" (144). But, the reason behind why the native's weaponry did not hold up against the Spaniards is simply because the Spaniards' artillery was far more lethal and had a larger range of fire power. It could even be argued that the use of fire arms alone could account for how such a small group of Spaniards conquered such a large scale of natives. However, as a reader of Bernal Díaz's account of The Conquest of New Spain, I now know that this advantage in weaponry is not the only factor that played a role in how the Spaniards achieved

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