Hernan Cortes Dbq Essay

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On the sandy shores of Mexico in 1519, Hernan Cortes strode off of his ship and stepped into unfamiliar territory. Around the small group of conquistadors was a half-naked crowd of native Aztec people – people who thought that Cortes was a messenger from their gods. Little did these so-called savages know, within a few short years millions of their race would be massacred and their way of life would be destroyed. Up and down the coast of the New World, Europeans took advantage of the weaker and naïve natives. The European invasion of the Americas was not only a racial cleansing, but a complete cultural subjugation. When European explorers landed in the Americas, they changed everything; natives were impacted through cultural conversion, aggressive …show more content…
One such leader who wanted to do this was Charles V, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Hapsburg possessions, and Spain. In document 1, Hernan Cortes Letter to Charles V, the Spanish explorer writes, “I did everything I could to steer them away from their false gods and to draw them to our Lord God”. One of the main goals of Cortes’s conquest was to convert the local people to Catholicism. This need to convert can be traced back to the protestant reformation causing massive conflicts in Hapsburg territories. Protestants were taking over many of Charles V’s territories such as the Netherlands, Germany, and Bohemia. In an effort to strengthen the catholic resolve against this threat, new converts needed to be found outside of Europe. However, Hernan Cortes’s viewpoint would make him support these ideas more than he really did. In a letter to Charles V, the leader of the biggest empire in Europe, Cortes would definitely want to tell his boss what he wanted to hear. This could make some of the opinions voiced by Cortes untrue. If the natives did not listen to the words of the Jesuit monks, however, there would be hell to pay. In El Requerimiento, document 5, the Spanish threaten any natives that do not convert, “If you do not do this… I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter into your country and shall make war against you in …show more content…
Although they introduced many European technologies that helped them out, the forced cultural and religious conversions and inadvertently spread disease ruined Native American culture. The impact that exploration and colonization had on the native people was catastrophic. Not only was the light of many great civilizations stamped out, but the blueprint was written for Europeans to pave over top of the less fortunate and create what they want. The native people lost their cultural traditions, lost their religion, and even lost their lives to deadly diseases. As Columbus stepped of his boat and claimed the lands of “India” for the Spanish, little did he know that he was laying the grounds for future generations of imperialism, slavery, and cultural

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