European Exploration And Conquest Of Latin America

1277 Words6 Pages
Before European exploration and conquest in Latin America the indigenous people lived off the land working mainly to support themselves. Despite having conflicts of their own, most Latin American tribes would coexist peacefully relative to what was to come. Some, more advanced civilizations, such as the Aztec, did have conditions somewhat similar to those that would soon spread to the rest of Latin America. When European settlers started to take over the Americas, however, conditions got markedly worse. With more land than they knew what to do with and abundant valuable natural resources, greed quickly became the driving force behind most of the settler’s actions. Slavery became a tremendously important aspect of both society and economics in Spanish, English, French and Portuguese colonies through the encomienda system of forced labor. Although European settlers had nearly identical goals, slavery had distinct roles in their individual colonial economies and societies. European settlers began to travel to and colonize Latin America in the late 15th century searching for wealth and new opportunities. Around the same time both North and South America were being colonized by Spain, Great Britain, France and Portugal. The main goal for all of these nations was to obtain wealth from valuable metals such as gold and silver. From the very beginning colonization was driven mainly by greed. This greed was somewhat satisfied for nations that colonized areas which had gold and silver
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