Chapter 1

Chapter 1: The Collision Of Cultures

Research Topics

Spanish Perception of Native Americans


How did the Spanish perceive Native Americans?

Spanish goals in the New World were in conflict and even contradictory. On the one hand the conquistadores hoped to earn great wealth in the Americas. They were often willing to steal the Indians' property and exploit their labor. However, the Spanish took seriously their mission of bringing Christ to people they regarded as heathens. Priests often called for fair treatment of the Indians even as they required the natives to perform labor such as building cathedrals. Thus, Spanish perceptions of Indians were as wide-ranging as Spanish goals.


Choose from the following titles:

  1. Christopher Columbus: FROM The Journal of Christopher Columbus (1492)
  2. Tears of the Indies, or Inquisition for Bloud: being the Relation of the Spanish Massacre there
  3. Image (woodcut?) Indians massacre priests (n.d.)
  4. "Indian Slaves Building Cathedral" (ca. 1522)
  5. Watercolor "Professions of the Tarascans" (1540)
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