Summary Of Matthew Restall's Seven Myths Of The Spanish Conquest

900 Words4 Pages

Matthew Restall’s Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest and the documentary version of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel explore reasons behind the success of the Spanish Conquest. Restall argues against the traditional assumptions about the identity of conquistadors. Conquistadors were not “exceptional” men or members of the king’s army; rather, they were independent entrepreneurs who succeeded by following patterns of conquest and colonization. Restall points out that these entrepreneurs were frequently assisted in military operations by indigenous peoples and Africans, resisting viewing the Conquest as a victory of whites over natives. Next, Restall argues against traditional assumptions about the nature of the Conquest itself. First, …show more content…

Finally, the Conquest did not lead to native desolation. Restall’s arguments about the identity of conquistadors and the nature of the Conquest culminate into his final point about the “myth of superiority.” He points out that the Spanish conquistadors’ success was not due to technological or cultural superiority. Rather, factors such as disease, weaponry, and disunity among natives aided the Spanish in their success. Restall and Diamond’s arguments overlap in that they use weaponry and disease to explain the success of white colonizers over natives. However, they differ in that Restall actively argues against myths of European superiority, whereas Diamond, while trying to provide an alternate view of the Conquest, falls into pitfalls of white …show more content…

He argues that Americas were not under Spanish control immediately after contact, and control was never complete in many places. Conquistadors perpetuated the myth of completion by exaggerating their success in colonization to appease royal sponsors. In reality, even in areas of successful colonization, natives maintained local political autonomy. Furthermore, communication did not affect crucial events of the Conquest because, while translation did befuddle much communication between Spaniards and natives, the two sides came to understand each other’s intentions. Finally, contrary to the myth of native desolation, natives did not typically resign to their fates during Conquest, and their cultures were not decimated. Indicators of native vitality during Conquest include festivals celebrating community survival, recorded histories that downplayed the Conquest, and the successful role of native allies in campaigns following major wars. Evidently, some natives used the Conquest to their

Open Document