Christopher Columbus

.       Genoese explorer in service of Spain, "discovered" America in 1492

.       Led four voyages to New World, establishing first permanent European colonies in America and establishing Spanish domination of Western Hemisphere


Hernán Cortés

.       Spanish conquistador and conqueror of Mexico

.       Attacked Aztecs in 1519, defeated them in 1521

.       Ruthless with both natives and his own troops


Moctezuma II (a.k.a. Montezuma)

.       Last Emperor of the Aztecs

.       Initially tried to use arrival of Spanish to own advantage

.       Later defeated by Cortés; died in captivity, 1520

.       Now seen by some as heroic last native ruler of Mexico


Francisco Pizarro

.       Conquistador and conqueror of the Inca Empire

.       Toppled Inca empire in 1532


Queen Isabella of Castile

.       Queen of Spain, wife of King Ferdinand

.       Funded Columbus's journey to New World

.       Decreed Spain would receive 20% of all income from colonies established there


Junipero Serra

.       Franciscan friar, father of California's mission system

.       Missions were first major European presence on North American Pacific coast





1492 Arrival of Columbus

.       First sustained interaction between Indians and Europeans

.       Beginning of European conquest and domination of Americas


1501 Start of Encomienda System

.       Spanish began employing Indians as slaves on wide scale

.       Slaveowners were supposed to Catholicize and protect slaves

.       System was widely abused


1521 Fall of Aztec Empire

.       Defeat and collapse of second-largest pre-Columbian empire in Americas

.       Hernán Cortés led Spanish conquistadors and Indian allies in successful attack on Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan


1532 Conquest of Inca Empire

.       Very small Spanish force led by Francisco Pizarro defeated large Inca army

.       Spanish conquest aided by devastating effects of smallpox epidemic, which killed 200,000 Inca, including king, designated heir, top generals and administrators in 1525


1540 Jesuit Order Founded

.       Order of Catholic priests founded by Ignatius Loyola

.       Set up missions in New World

.       Sought to root out heresy and convert Indians to Christianity


1545 Silver Discovery in Bolivia

.       Silver mine at Potosí began producing huge financial windfall for Spanish

.       Spanish Crown received one-fifth of all mining proceeds


1565 Founding of St. Augustine

.       City of St. Augustine founded in Florida

.       First permanent European settlement in what became the United States


1680 Popé Rebellion

.       Pueblo Indians in New Mexico, led by Chief Popé, rebelled against Spanish rule

.       Spanish forces needed twelve years to put down Pueblo rising

.       Led to the end of encomienda system in New Mexico in 1717


1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo

.       Ended Mexican-American War

.       U.S. annexed New Mexico, California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, parts of Colorado and Wyoming

.       U.S. landmass increased by a third






.       Led Spanish conquest of Western Hemisphere

.       Mostly poor nobles from south and west of Spain

.       Hoped to spread Catholicism and obtain wealth in New World

.       Greatly aided by spread of smallpox and other diseases



.       Catholic missionary order

.       Led by Junipero Serra in California

.       Founded series of missions California, stretching from San Diego to Sonoma



.       Mixed-race inhabitants of Spanish New World

.       Of Spanish, Indian, and African descent

.       Were often discriminated against, barred from official postings



.       American-born descendants of full Spanish ancestry

.       Ruled New World on behalf of Spanish Crown

.       Cultural differences with Spain widened as time went on

.       Rebelled in nineteenth century and eventually drove out Spanish, taking over independent rule of Latin America






.       Spanish desire not only to extract riches but to spread Catholicism among "heathens"

.       Provided moral rationale for Spanish conquest of Western Hemisphere

.       Often conflicted with economic incentives

.       Missionaries flooded into New World, establishing schools and missions 


Columbian Exchange

.       Exchange of goods, plants, diseases, and peoples between Eastern and Western hemispheres

.       Spread of European diseases in Americas devastated Indians, who died by the millions

.       Potatoes, corn, tomatoes, tobacco among agricultural products introduced to Europe for first time





St. Augustine, Florida

.       Settlement founded by Spanish in 1565

.       Oldest city in the United States



.       Capital of Aztec Empire, built in middle of lake at site of modern-day Mexico City, Mexico

.       At its peak, larger than any European city

.       Largely destroyed by Hernán Cortés in 1521