The Conquistadors: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780195392296

Matthew Restall; Felipe Fernandez-Armesto
144 Pages
115 x 173 mm
Pub date
Feb 2012
Very Short Introductions


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  • Examines the world of the invaders and the invaded and successive human efforts to control the Western hemisphere.
  • Explores the civilizations that the Spanish encountered in the New World as well as looking at the genesis of the conquistador culture in the Iberian, Atlantic, and early Caribbean world.
  • Looks at the consequence of these conquests on the Americas, including subsequent colonial rule.

With startling speed, Spanish conquistadors invaded hundreds of Native American kingdoms, took over the mighty empires of the Aztecs and Incas, and initiated an unprecedented redistribution of the world's resources and balance of power. They changed the course of history, but the myth they established was even stranger than their real achievements. This Very Short Introduction deploys the latest scholarship to shatter and replace the traditional narrative. Chapters explore New World civilizations prior to the invasions, the genesis of conquistador culture on both sides of the Atlantic, the roles black Africans and Native Americans played and the consequences of the invasions. The book reveals who the conquistadors were and what made their adventures possible. 


Ch 1 A Great Many Hardships
Ch 2 Many Victories, Great Conquests
Ch 3 To Give Account of Whom I Am
Ch 4 By a Miracle of God
Ch 5 A Shortcut to the Grave
Further Reading

About the author: 

Matthew Restall, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Colonial Latin American History, Anthropology and Women's Studies, Pennsylvania State University
Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, William P. Reynolds Professor of History, University of Notre Dame

"[a] sparkling little book ... Richly packed with maps, sources and intriguing nuggets of information." - BBC History Magazine

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