History Discussion: Conquering of Indian Nations

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There were three main aspects that enabled the Spaniards to defeat the mighty Aztec nation. The Spanish had an incredible fleet of soldiers and sea vessels, they introduced small pox and other catastrophic diseases to the Aztec population, and they enlisted the help of local allies willing to assist in order to escape the brutal Aztec regime. The Aztec nation came about through the merging of three large tribes, the center of which became Tenochtitlan, the capital city of Mexica. Although the Aztec were a far reaching society, it was not necessarily a well-managed one. The Aztec nation grew by way of conquering other groups, and meshed primarily through inter-clan marriages, gift giving between leaders, and through the ever present threat of invasion.

The groups on the outer fringes were not necessarily faithful to the regime, and were treated more as a screen against hostile neighbors. Many of these fringe groups were easily persuaded by the Spanish to join them against the Aztecs. Another large group was the Tarascan people, who were enemies of the Aztec, and so became vital allies to the Spaniards. Hernan Cortes was a Spanish explorer sent by Velasquez to find treasure. He was deeply religious, so in addition to finding riches, Cortes was led to evangelize his conquests. Initial hostilities ended quickly due to superior strength of the Spanish army.

As a gift of surrender, Cortes was given slaves, one of whom was a woman by the name of Malintzin. She knew many different languages and quickly became an invaluable asset to the Spaniards. Malintzin enabled the Spaniards to initiate conversations with other groups in their quest towards conquering the Aztecs, strengthening their numbers with allied tribes. After some initial attempts of diplomacy on the part of the Aztec leader, Cortes led devastation on a revered Aztec temple. The Spaniards plundered and destroyed the temple, and left to gather local allies in their fight to conquer the main city. After 11 months the Spaniards returned with a massive fleet of ships and cut off the food supply lines to the central city of Tenochtitlan.

The Spaniards found a city starving, and devastated by small pox, brought to the tribe by the Spaniards previously. Tenochtitlan fell to the Spanish and the allied tribe of Tlaxcalans, who were so brutal in their slaughter it shocked even the Spaniards. After the fall of Tenochtitlan, the Spanish continued on their quest to find treasure and to convert surrounding tribes. In stark contrast to the Spaniards were the French and Dutch settlements. Once France and the Netherlands had seen the riches returning to Spain, they decided to start their own settlements in North America. Their methods were vastly different from the Spanish.

The French were not aggressive, interested more in cultivating healthy trading relationships with Native people, and not in capturing large amounts of land. Nor was religious conversion a heavy concern, although they convinced some native people to convert to Catholicism by granting French citizenship. The Dutch were an even more tolerant people. Their main goal was strong trade relationships with the Native people and other settlers. Their stronghold was New York, and was essentially a military run trading post. They held the Indian nations in high regard, treating them with great respect, as they too had been under Spanish rule and sympathized with their plight.

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History Discussion: Conquering of Indian Nations. (2022, Nov 08). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/history-discussion-conquering-of-indian-nations/

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