Spanish Imperialism Essay

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In 1494, the Treaty of Tordesillas was established in order to evenly divide unclaimed lands between Portugal and Spain. This led to the Line of Demarcation, in which the non-European world was divided into two zones. Portugal had rights to the eastern hemisphere, and Spain had rights to the western hemisphere. This allowed Spain to colonize areas in the New World. Even though they had this opportunity, they were not able to colonize specific areas in North America due to competition with other European countries. Spain fought with countries such as France, England, and the Dutch for control over lands in the New World, because they were all seeking wealth and power. They had even faced the threat of foreign attacks from England. Because of…show more content…
Since 1492, Spain recognized Christianity as its official religion because there was no distinction between Catholicism and Protestantism. Most of the Spanish population practiced Christianity due to Jews being banished and Muslims being converted. In 1517, the Protestant Reformation divided the Christian religion half - into Catholicism and Protestantism. Spain supported the Catholic religion, and they saw the New World as an opportunity to convert others to Catholicism. They believed that religion gave them the right to conquer new land, because they “came to serve God and to get rich, as all men wish to do,” which Bernal Diaz del Castillo said while working with Hernán Cortés in the conquest of Mexico. Mendicant friars, Jesuits, and priests traveled across the New World to preach Catholicism in hopes of converting the non-Catholics. Religious values were one of the main motivations for conquistadors, because they felt more powerful and superior. The progress of Spanish colonization was shaped by several factors involving war, disease, and religion. The main motivation for colonization during this time period were the “Three G’s” - gold, gaining riches and wealth; glory, success during war; and gospel, spreading religion. Spanish colonization has largely impacted Central and South America’s history and culture, which has made them the continents that they are
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