Hi, I'm Santiago!!!
Today, in Social Sciences class, we've studied the conquest of the Indies, which lasted only for 50 years. But, why did it last only fot 50 years?? Well, the Castillians had much more militar superiority (they had horses, gunpowder, guns...), they were very ambitious and there were some illnesses that were lethal for Amerindians, like measles or a simple flu.
The population of Mexico was seriously affected with those illnesses, and the Mexican population decreased a lot. Before this illnesses, they were over 25 million people, but, due to the illnesses, its population was decreased. Some years later, there were only 3 million people in Mexico, and they tried to recover the lost population with African slaves, and that's why there are a lot of black people in America nowadays.
After that, we've started talking about the conquest they made in the Indies. There were 2 important conquests: The one of the Aztec Empire, and the one of the Inca empire.
We've started with the conquest of the Aztec Empire: This conquest was led by Hernán Cortés, and it only lasted for 5 years. The Aztec Empire was placed in the North of what we know now as Mexico. The last Aztec emperor was called Moctezuma, who was captured by Hernan Cortes. He finally conquered the Aztec Empire in 1521.
Later, we've talked about the conquest of the Inca Empire. This conquest was led by Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro. They occupied the former capital city, Cuzco, and they captured Atahualpa, who was the last Aztec Emperor. Atahualpa gave them a room full of gold and silver if they set him free. But anyway, he was killed later. They also moved the capital city from Cuzco to Lima. Nowadays, Francisco Pizarro is considered a hero in Spain, but in Perú, he is considered as a monster, because he and his men were very cruel.
Later, Pedro de Valdivia conquered Chile, fighting against the Araucanians
We've also studied about other conquest and discoveries, but they weren't as important as the ones of Hernán Cortes and Francisco Pizarro.
We've talked about Ponce de León, who explored what's known now as Florida. Cabeza de Vaca explored the south of the USA, looking for the fountain of youth. They didn't find it (because it doesn't exist), but they found the Iguazu Falls
Orellana sailed all the Amazon River, and Núñez de Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean.
They had some common features: They were very ambitious, and they were poor hidalgos.
Then, we've talked about the administration of the Indies. Everything was decided in Castile. They created the Council of the Indies, which made the laws of the Indies and appointed people who had to hold posts in the Indies. They also created a Trading House in Sevilla, which controlled the products that were sent from the Indies or sent to the Indies. If you wanted to send something to the Indies, you had to pay 20% of the product value. There was a lot of contraband, they tried to control it, but it was impossible. And if they caught you, as in many other cases, they killed you.
We've also studied the institutions in the Indies. There were:
- Two vice-royalties: The vice-royalty of the new Spain, in North America, and the Vice-Royalty in Peru (South America)
And, finally, we've talked about the exploitation of the Indies. There were two methods:
- Encomiendas: Do yo remember how a fief worked? It was basically the same. They gave you a piece of land, and the people who were there worked for you. And the only thing they had to do was to teach religion to the people who lived there.
- Mita: They obliged natives to work in mines. They were paid, but you could only spend that money on the shops of the Castilians.
There was a man who denounced the exploitation of the Amerindians. His complaints made that the kings dissolved the encomienda system and forbade indigenous slavery. But black people were still considered as slaves. They considered black people as... things.
Trading House-Casa de Contratación
That's all. Bye !!!!