The Spanish were the first peoples to find the New World, which ironically was all done by accident while Columbus was searching for a route to India. When Columbus returned with stories and promises of land and gold they were very interested in the New World. The reasons Spain decided to invest so much money and manpower on the exploration of the New World can be summed into three reasons; The desire of gold, desire to spread the gospel (convert the “Indians”), and to gain glory.
The strongest motivator for the exploration of the New World is to increase the countries riches; in this case the Spain was looking for a way to create a steady income from the New World. In a letter from Christopher Columbus to the King and Queen of Spain, Columbus discussing how to divide the money earned with the colony and the King,” As regards the division of the gold, and the share that ought to be reserved for your Highnesses, this, in my opinion, must be left to the aforesaid governor and treasurer, because it will have to be greater or less according to the quantity of gold that may be found. Or, should it seem preferable, your Highnesses might, for the space of one year, take one half, and the collector the other, and a better arrangement for the division be made afterward.” As stated, some suggested divisions are that the king would take half of the collected gold. This was the overall goal of the conquest and colonization of the New World. This may not seem like a large amount however when multiplied by the total number of colonies it can really add up. The fifty percent cut for the king demonstrates his high prioritizing of generating money in the colonies.
God also held a lot of importance with Spain as well, and proved to be another reason for the fervent conquest of the New World. In another letter from Columbus to the King and Queen he states, “That there shall he a church, and parish priests or friars to administer the sacraments, to perform divine worship, and...
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