Essay on The Spanish And Portuguese Empires

837 Words Jun 4th, 2016 4 Pages
The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were years of growth for the great empires of Europe. Two of these empires, the Portuguese and the Spanish, looked to expand their territories and power while seeking land not only throughout Europe, but also across the Atlantic in the Americas. Both empires commenced their expansions by sending conquistadors to discover and colonize land in the New World. Once they arrived, both the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors, with the help of the native people, began to build colonies, modeling them after their respective homelands. The Spanish and Portuguese empires in the Americas had both similarities and differences in their governing system, social structure, religious influence, and economic strategies.

The Spanish empire had claimed to have vast amounts of territories throughout North and South America. The king would appoint viceroys, for each colony to rule in his name. Viceroys were “the most important royal official, who was responsible for a number of things, such as protection of the native population, general admission, tax collection, and internal and external defense to support the church”(latinamerican). The first viceroy in 1535 was Antonio de Mendoza. He was against the inhumane and ruthless ways they would treat the native people, so he made a “unison with the king and the encomendores over the use of the New Laws, which was a set of regulations aimed at ending the abuse of the native peoples and cutting the…

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