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Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest by Matthew Restall

By Matthew Restall

This is an exciting exploration of the ways that the historical past of the Spanish Conquest has been misinterpret and handed right down to develop into renowned wisdom of those occasions. The publication bargains a clean account of the actions of the best-known conquistadors and explorers, together with Columbus, Cort?s, and Pizarro. utilizing a wide range of resources, historian Matthew Restall highlights seven key myths, uncovering the resource of the inaccuracies and exploding the fallacies and misconceptions in the back of every one fable. This vividly written and authoritative publication indicates, for example, that local americans didn't take the conquistadors for gods and that small numbers of tremendously outnumbered Spaniards didn't carry down nice empires with gorgeous rapidity. we find that Columbus was once adequately noticeable in his lifetime--and for many years after--as a in brief lucky yet unexceptional player in efforts regarding many southern Europeans. It used to be basically a lot later that Columbus used to be portrayed as a good guy who fought opposed to the lack of information of his age to find the recent global. one other renowned misconception--that the Conquistadors labored alone--is shattered by way of the revelation that huge numbers of black and local allies joined them in a clash that pitted local americans opposed to one another. This and different components, no longer the meant superiority of the Spaniards, made conquests attainable. The Conquest, Restall exhibits, was once extra complex--and extra fascinating--than traditional histories have portrayed it. Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest deals a richer and extra nuanced account of a key occasion within the background of the Americas.

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Extra resources for Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest

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This was the search for precious metals, preferably gold, with silver a close second. This aspect of Conquest procedure has probably least often been depicted as the exceptional or original strategy of Cortés or one of the other well-known conquistadors. On the contrary, it has been accu­ rately seen as a concern of all members of Spanish expeditions. But it has certainly been misunderstood, to the extent that Spanish “thirst for gold” rep­ resents one of the many little legends or mini-myths of the Conquest.

They so efficiently promoted the Conquest as Cortés’s achievement, and sold so well in at least five languages, that the crown banned the cartas lest the conqueror’s cult status become a political threat. The letters continued to circu­ late, however, and later admirers traveled like pilgrims to Cortés’s residence in Spain. 39 There was plenty of precedent to the publication of probanza-like letters and to crown intervention in their distribution or suppression. Within months of Columbus’s return to Spain from his first Atlantic crossing, a “letter” pu­ tatively written by him but actually crafted by royal officials based on a docu­ ment by Columbus was published in Spanish, Italian (prose and verse versions), and Latin.

In 1499 Alonso de Ojeda had sailed to the Venezuelan coast, accompanied by the Florentine Amerigo Vespucci, who also crossed the Atlantic under Portuguese license two or three times in 1501– 1503 (and in 1508 became the chief pilot of Castile). 30 But it is an important reflection of the fact that in his lifetime—and for decades, to some extent centuries, afterward—Columbus was correctly perceived as a briefly fortu­ nate but unexceptional participant in a process involving many southern Europeans.

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