Towards the end of the 15th century, a period of discovery and exploration began in Europe. In 1492, explorer Christopher Columbus discovered the islands now known as the Bahamas. This marked the beginning of the Spanish conquest of the Americas.
Driven by a desire for wealth, power and territories, countries such as Spain sent explorers known as conquistadors (conquerors) in search of new lands and trade routes. When the Spanish arrived in the Americas, there were two dominant empires there - the Aztec Empire and the Inca Empire. Despite their advanced societies and cultures, the Spanish saw these Indigenous peoples as primitive, godless 'savages'. They quickly set to work enslaving their people and devastating their cultures.
Source: Oxford Big Ideas Humanities 8 https://www.oup.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0030/58197/Chapter-19-The-Spanish-conquest-of-the-Americas-1492-1572.pdf