European Settlement in Latin America

Topics: Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Hernán Cortés, United States Pages: 2 (552 words) Published: October 18, 2012
European Settlement in Latin America
Between 1450 and 1750 C.E., Europeans entered Latin America and created new political structures, increased trade, and brought their religion. This happened because the Spanish conquered the Aztecs and Incas, while Portugal took over what is now Brazil. Hernando Cortes conquered the Aztecs while Francisco Pizzarro conquered the Incas. The Aztecs and Incas were two great Native American civilizations. In Latin America, slavery remained unchanged. These areas that the Spanish and Portuguese conquered later developed into their own self-governing states.

In 1494, the Treaty of Todesillas split the New World in two when Pope Alexander VI drew the Line of Demarcation. Spain received the majority of the land while Portugal received modern day Brazil. While Spain constructed a massive military, Portugal established many settlements on the east coast. In 1519, Hernan Cortes conquered the Aztecs by killing Montezuma, the Aztec emperor. In 1532, Francisco Pizzaro conquered the Incas by killing Atahualpa, the Inca emperor. The Incas had such highly centralized government that they could not run without an empire. Because of guns, germs, and steel, Spanish conquistadors were able to conquer the Aztec and Inca empires. The Spanish also had an advantage in military technology, having steel swords, iron mail, and horses. Without domesticated animals, such as pigs and cows, the Aztecs and Incas had now immunity to European diseases such as smallpox, typhus, and influenza, which killed almost 95% of the indigenous population of Latin America.

In 1549, the first Jesuit missionaries arrived in Brazil to spread Catholicism. In the late 1500’s, there were no longer Native American slaves because of the large decrease in their population due to European diseases. Some Native American tribes forced there slaves to undergo human sacrifice, such as the Aztecs. There were now Black African slaves. While this was happening, the...
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