Unit 1 - Key Terms
Bartolomé de las Casas — Dominican priest who in the early 1500s criticized the cruelty of Spanish policy toward Indians; denounced Spanish actions for their brutality and insensitivity. His criticism helped end the encomienda system.
Black Legend — myth that Spanish rule in America was fiendish and cruel; pictured empire as tyrannical and backward. In part, used by Spain’s rival to challenge its colonial superiority.
Christopher Columbus — claimed islands in the Caribbean for Spain 1492–1504. He established Spanish empire as he sought a western passage to the Indies. A poor administrator, he died disgraced in 1506.
Encomienda system — early Spanish colonial system where officials provided protection to Indian populations in return for their labor and production; really a form of slavery that lasted until the mid 1500s; stopped because of exploitation and inefficiency.
Francisco Pizarro — Spanish conquistador who destroyed and conquered the Inca civilization in Peru in the 1530s.
Francisco Coronado — conquistador who explored the American Southwest between 1539 and 1542, searching for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold.
Hernán(do) Cortés — conquered Aztecs in Mexico. He captured the capital of Tenochtitlán, with its leader Montezuma in 1521; pillaged and destroyed the Aztec civilization.
Jean-Baptiste Colbert — Louis XIV’s minister who rejuvenated the French empire in the Western Hemisphere. In 1660s, he reorganized and strengthened the colonies of New France.
Montezuma — leader of the Aztecs at time of Cortés’s invasion. He was tricked by the Spanish and killed by his own people.
Northwest Passage — mythical water route to Asia. The search for the western path to India and China propelled the encounters and exploration of the Western Hemisphere in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Prince Henry — sponsored the first Portuguese explorations of Africa in the 1420s. His vision made Portugal an early colonial power.
Pueblo Revolt — Indian uprising in New Mexico in 1680 against Spain and the Catholic Church. Rebels killed 400 colonists, destroyed mission around Santa Fe; held off the Spanish for 14 years.
Richard Hakluyt — British writer who, in the 1580s, encouraged England to explore and settle in North America. His writings prompted England to embark on its North American empire.