Conquistadores: A New History of Spanish Discovery and Conquest
The conquistadores were men who effected change through their discoveries and on their voyages for the Spanish Empire. Christopher Columbus, an Italian sailor, sought funding for a voyage to Asia. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain were his ideal benefactors. Isabella and Ferdinand were initially hesitant, as they had finished fighting a war of succession and a pitched battle against Muslims in Granada. Yet, Columbus believed his journey would prove fruitful in locating spices and gold. Columbus thought he found Asia in 1492, but had instead found the Caribbean and Cuba. However, he did locate some spices and riches to bring back to Isabella and Ferdinand. His successors in discovery looked to replicate if not better Columbus. Their results were varied. Hernando Cortes’ exploration would take him into the heart of the Mayan empire in Mexico, while Francisco Pizarro would tangle with the Incans of Peru.
Conquistadores by Fernando Cervantes travels back to the latter 15th century-early 16th century where much was still unknown about the wide world. The opportunists who trekked across the open waters in search of riches and knowledge often did so at the expense of the natives they encountered, through subjugation and plunder. Cervantes’ portrayal of the undaunted journeyman and their conquest proves engaging.
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