Christopher Columbus, after many failed requests for royal aid, finally boarded the Hispaniola under Prince Henry’s interest to broaden Christianity in 1492. He was one of the first among his race to explore and record the many wonders of the New World. Before any voyages in this region, numerous people have already settled and boats from Africa have traveled back and forth. Recent findings have revealed that African people have made close encounters with the Natives during the pre-Columbian era (Clegg). The indigenous people were farmers who already traded fish and timbers with neighboring countries. The locals have depended chiefly on Llamas for livestock domestication (” America Before Columbus”). Columbus firmly believed that Spain was nearer to China westward. He originally planned to travel to the Indies, connotation for the lands of China, Japan, and India. He read chronicles of a French cardinal accounting his marvelous crossings. He immersed himself to famous books authored by Marco Polo, Sir John Mandeville, and the likes. All this was in admittance of the fact that he was not a proficient academic, and therefore, excused visions of unfamiliar entities as a mere product of him lacking worldly information (Morgan). One incident was that when he caught sight of American Natives, not knowing that he stepped on uncharted territory, he called them ‘ Indians.’ His expedition cemented the presence of the Western Hemispheres on the map which had long been unheeded by other explorers of his time (Edwards). This paved way for the “ Age of Exploration.” Spanish colonizers, known as Conquistadors, set their eyes to journey west to the New World. Hernan Cortes conquered the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, now New Mexico, with his four-hundred men. Francisco Pizzaro captured the capital city of Cuzco, a formerly Inca-empire in south-central Peru, in 1533. Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada and Sebastian de Belalcazar shared dominion over a country northwestern of South America, presently known as Columbia. Pedro de Valdivia founded the city of Santiago in Chile in 1541 (” Conquistador”). Most conquests were backed by the Spanish crown with primary goal to obtain gold, glory as well as evangelize the Natives (” Spanish Discovery”). The invaders witnessed a land of people without religion but with advance agricultural skills. On the other hand, they were perceived as vulnerable primitives and ignorant of civilized living (Wood). Columbus, on his journal narrating initial contact with the Tainos, described the locals to be poorly versed about swords, armors, or any other types of weaponry. Columbus was more interested in exploiting rather than baptizing the region. He noted about the ideality of enslaving these men for labor and even captured a handful to present in front of the royal courts as proof of his campaign (” Native Peoples—the “ Indians”) . These ensured support for his second and third voyages. The Spanish invasion gave birth to the ‘ Columbian Exchange’. This ensued to a pandemic that killed a number of the local population igniting the export of millions of men and women from Africa. This was done to replace the indigenous casualties who were supposed to embody workforce for the thriving industry. Nonetheless, this arose to trades of potatoes, dahlias, turkeys, magnolias, among a cascade of other barters across the Atlantic (Walbert). Spanish heritage ran deep to the roots of the New World. Slavery was introduced and Christendom flourished. The Spaniards hopes to amass gold prompted the mining technology to the Americas. In the field of Agronomy, the successful exchange of goods resulted to the rise of the honeybee business and hectares of sugar cane plantations (Lawrence). Spain, following Columbus’ crusade, has reshaped the New World in aspects of politics, livelihood, and, way of living.
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Lawrence, Elizabeth T. ” 1986 Capsule: Hispanic Influence in the New World.” Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, n. d. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.