Colonization Of The Spanish Empire

The early 15th century was a very significant time in history. It was a time when Europeans started traveling outside of their nations and embarking on risky journeys to unknown lands, which later became known as the Age of Exploration. Because of the fact that the New World was unexpectedly found, many explorers grew interest in exploring it and seeing how it was like. They knew that there would be many favorable circumstances which could help develop their empire in many ways. This gave the explorers a chance to spread their religion, revitalize their economy, and benefit themselves in a political way.

Explorers such as Christopher Columbus, Hernan Cortes, and Bartolome de Las Casas played significant roles in the Spanish colonization of the New World. These individuals had motives that had many similarities as well as many differences that impacted native peoples and their lands multiple ways. Like many other explorers, Christopher Columbus believed that there were goods in the New World that no one had yet discovered. Initially, Columbus and his men started their journey from Spain, hoping to find a faster trade route to Asia.

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However, they ended up unearthing a new territory which was later called ‘Hispaniola’. Columbus had several goals when he established colonies in the New World one of which was to spread religion. Columbus states, “I gave them a thousand pretty things that I had brought, in order to gain their love and incline them to become Christian” (Columbus,118). Because the inhabitants of the islands were described as amazingly timid, scarcely armed and gullible, Columbus knew that he could easily convert them to into Christianity.

Another motive that Columbus had was to attain riches. Because gold and spice were presumed to be a limited resources during the 1500’s , the amount an empire had determined their wealth. Columbus expressed “as soon as I came to the Indies, at the first island I discovered I seized some natives, intending them to inquire and inform me about things in these parts” (Columbus, 118). This quote depicts that Columbus was exploiting the natives to get what he wanted which in this case was to know where the gold and riches were located.

In 1519, the Spanish conquistador named Hernan Cortes guided an army from Cuba to the city of Tenochtitlan. As Cortes explored the city, he noticed that there were many technological advancements such as large buildings, bridges, and waterways that supplied water to the whole nation. After viewing this, he When he came across the religious temples in Tenochtitlan, Cortes noted that there were several idols and statues around, which he later found out that the inhabitants worshipped. He states, “the greatest of these idols and those in which they placed the most faith and trust, I ordered to be dragged from their places and flung down the stairs, which done I had the temples which they occupy cleansed for they were full of human blood of human victims who had been sacrificed” (Cortes, 5). Cortes discovered how unsanitary the temples were and later found out that the inhabitants would make human sacrifices to these idols, leaving spots of blood and corpses lying around. He convinced the inhabitants to convert to Christianity so this could be prevented. The inhabitants, as gullible and naive as they were, didn’t put up a fight and did as Cortés wished.

Does Religion Cause War?

“There has been many wars that have taken the lives of many throughout human history. Wars for authority, revenge, and economic gain have left their mark in our literature. Unfortunately, Religion has been a very prominent influence that has started many of these man-made catastrophes. This is due to the difference in ideologies between two individual religions such as the Muslims and the Christians. Along with causing the war itself, the Christian and Muslim religions both made some very controversial decisions against their very own set of religious followers and rules.

Religions, such as the clash between Islam and Christianity, has led man-kind to fight in some of the most gruesome wars in the past, such as The Crusades, because they manipulate their rules and followers, have different perspectives, and since the dawn of the Christian religion itself, Christianity has loved to portray itself as being the good that lives on this planet. It claims to be an organization that has the main goal of saving its followers from falling into the hands of evil. A big portion of society actually believes these statements (Christians). Unfortunately, this is where Christianity gets away with all of the shady things they have done in the past. The people at the top of the hierarchy get to do whatever they want with the help of their followers. They brainwash their followers by using the system of beliefs they have in their hands. These actions do not represent the righteous people that the Christians claim to be in the eyes of society. These type of actions are what lead religions to clash against each other in an all-out war. The Christians have a dark past that lingers behind them, no matter how hard they try to find a way to cover it up. Christianity itself falls guilty to breaking their own commandments in the past in order to attain land and people. They’ll lie to the public about the real objectives they are trying to accomplish by shifting the focus to a common goal they can share with their followers. In their past, they have convinced people to fight for Christianity in bloody wars. Christians were raiding towns and assassinating other human beings, such as Muslims. The 6th commandment of the Christians bible states “thou shalt not kill”. Nevertheless, this still did.

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The Christian followers believed what they were doing was correct because of their own religious views. The Muslims were fighting back because they believed in their own religious ideologies. The contrast between these two religions is what lead to the wars. However, neither can get away with this because historians have kept record of these historical events. These historical events are the brutal wars that were fought in the 11th and 12th centuries known as The Crusades.

The Crusades were numerous amounts of military expeditions carried out by the Christian religion in order to regain land that was once theirs. The Crusades took place in Muslim territory from 1095-1492. It all started on November 27, 1095 when Pope Urban the II announced that it was time to regain the Holy Land from the Muslims because “God wills it!” (The Crusades, T. Asbridge, p.52) Peasants and knights from all over England wanted to join these massive Crusades because the Pope promised indulgence for those who participated. Many wanted to participate in the Crusades simply because they had nothing better to do. Pope Urban II managed to gather a massive fleet of about 25,000 Crusaders who made their way to take back the land that was theirs, ignoring any of the ten commandments they might break along the way. They marched to Jerusalem and raided Muslim villages, killing thousands, taking their belongings, and raping Muslim women; all in God’s will. The Muslims would indeed fight back because, in their eyes, the land of Jerusalem belonged to them. The Christians and the Muslims would battle back and forth for land they wanted to obtain for the benefit of their own religion. A massive war that would go on for decades had just begun and every casualty was due to the very powerful organizations of the Christian and Muslim religions.

There is always two sides to a coin. This means that many will argue that both the Christian and Muslim religions have done humanity good by maintaining social order and peace. There is evidence behind this argument that proves this to be true. There has been many studies conducted on society and the numbers show that a society with religious beliefs tends to live more calm and passively. This is because religion itself is very influential to those who follow it. In the present, Christianity and Islam preach about living a sin-free life. They preach about maintaining peace with one another and the followers of these religions put these words into practice. However; if both of these religions would begin to preach about hatred towards each other, the followers will react to this and will begin to feel this hate. Then if the Pope of Christian religion, the highest power in the hierarchy, begins to speak about a war against the Muslims, the Christians will fall for it, again.

The fact that religion has turned into something that is different from the past does not justify for the thousands of lives that have already been lost in wars over religion. Religion does cause war; it has been recorded in our literature and it is known as The Crusades. Wars that were thought to be valid in the eyes of God because of the manipulative words that had been said by those in higher power. The participants were promised a pass through gates of Heaven which they believed was true because of their lack of knowledge. The ones in power saw the opportunity to take advantage of the weak-minded and they took it. Countless lives were lost because of their strong beliefs.”

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