World History



























































Conquest of the Americas

When Christopher Columbus and his three small ships arrived in the West Indies on an October day in 1492, they set in motion a chain of events that would profoundly change life in the Americas and elsewhere in the world. The great Aztec and Inca civilizations would soon perish, conquered by Spanish conquistadors, adventurers seeking gold and glory. The Native Americans had no weapons to match Spanish swords and cavalry. Between 80 and 95 percent of the Americans would die and be replaced by immigrants from Europe seeking new opportunities and by immigrants from Africa who arrived in chains. Gold and silver taken from the Americas would make Spanish and Portuguese kings rich and powerful.

Christopher Columbus = the Italian explorer who discovered the New World in 1492.

West Indies = a chain of islands that separate the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean; a group of islands between North and South America that includes Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas.

conquistadors = a conqueror, especially one of the Spanish conquerors of Mexico and Peru in the 1500s.


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