Cultural and Economic Responses by British and Spanish to Native Americans

Moctezuma II

The expansion into the new world was an almost instantaneous ordeal. The Spanish and Portuguese delved into Southern and South America, and western North America, while the British explored the east coast of North America. In different regions, people are different; different cultures, tastes, beliefs, etc. With each conquering people, cultures, tastes, and beliefs all differ as well. It is the clash of these two civilizations that bring about responses, and they’re different every time. In the case with the Spanish, the strove to conquer, imposed their own culture on the conquered as shown by Cortés and his hostile takeover of the Aztecs, and extensive merging; while at first the British, to varying degrees of success, attempted to merge with the resident cultures, as shown by the Indian children carrying European dolls. Cortés is perhaps the most famous and ruthless of the conquistadores. The first interaction he had with the Aztecs, Montezuma sent him extensive tributes, because Montezuma thought he was the reincarnation of Quetzalcoatl. This generosity made Cortés lust for more and more gold, until finally Montezuma and the Aztecs forced them out of the city. Cortés responded in tune by laying siege to Tenochitlán, eventually taking the city after it suffered innumerable losses from a smallpox epidemic. In response, Cortés made the economy his own by introducing Spanish crops and livestock. The Spanish were born to expand and conquer. Their tactics of merging with the present culture to make a new one, as shown with Cortés, allowed their empires to last longer and experience less opposition. In Cortés’s case, his soldiers intermarried with the indigenous Indians, and their offspring became the Mestizos. Cortés wouldn’t let his soldiers mingle with the ‘pagan women’ of Tenochitlán, so the Spanish soldiers got their Aztecan lovers to get baptized as soon as possible. Along with the merge, Cortés imposed his culture, language, law, religion, and...
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