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The Spanish Conquest of the Americas: Introduction

Beginning with Columbus in 1492 and continuing for nearly 350 years, Spain conquered and settled most of South America, the Caribbean, and the American Southwest.

Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492 after sailing the ocean blue in a quest to find a faster trade route to Asia. They wanted riches and the eternal glory of being really cool by discovering the better water highway to Asia. They also wanted to spread their religion, Catholicism.

Maybe the explorers thought they were bringing something great (religion and Catholicism) to the local tribes, but they actually brought diseases that killed millions of Native Americans.  Source: Shmoop

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The Spanish Conquest of Mexico

Can the conquest of one city change the world? In 1519, two powerful empires - Spain and Mexica (Aztec) - were hungry for expansion in central Mexico. Led by emperor Motecuzoma II, the Mexica people had subdued their native enemies and now controlled a sprawling territory with the great city of Tenochtitlán at the center. Then the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés led an attack on the Mexica empire. Although the Spaniards had horses and guns, both unknown in the Americas, the Mexica outnumbered them five hundred to one. the Spaniards had no chance of success without the help of native allies unhappy with Mexica rule. What followed was a desperate war that lasted two years, cost thousands of lives, and left Tenochtitlán in ruins. In 1521 Cortés declared Mexico a colony of New Spain. 

Aztecs: the fall of the Aztec capital

Follow the dramatic account of the end of the Aztec empire. Travel with Hernan Cortes and his men as they trek across Mexico to the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan. Visit the sights of the city: the market the zoo Emperor Moctezuma's sumptuous palace and the eerie temple pyramid whose steps dripped with the blood of human sacrifices. Relive the bloody battles for the city and encounter the fearsome eagle and jaguar knights who could cut off a horse's head with one blow from their clubs. Be an eyewitness to the rise and fall of the Aztec empire. Witness the dramatic events leading up to the clash between the Aztecs and the Spanish and enjoy lively reports from eyewitnesses at the scene.

Ancient Aztec

Archaeology reveals the rich history and complex culture of the Aztecs. Journey to the center of this elevated ancient civilization, to a huge oval basin 7,500 feet above sea level, in the Valley of Mexico. Study National Geographic maps and behold the vast range of this intriguing empire. Learn how modern archaeological methods and computer technology have helped to piece together patterns of conquest and colonization. Watch over the shoulders of archaeologists as they unearth clues about the history of the Aztec. National Geographic supports K-12 educators with ELA Common Core Resources. Visit for more information.

The Ancient Aztecs

The Aztecs emerged in the late 1300s, in the area that today is Mexico, from the Mexica, one of the ancient peoples of the region. Most of the Aztecs were commoners, who provided the labor needed for the culture to thrive. They served as soldiers, farmed the land, and built cities such as Tenochtitlan. The culture began to collapse when the Aztecs were overtaken by Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s. This book explores the ancient Aztecs through social structure. It takes a look at the people and details the duties of an emperor, the activities of a farmer, and much more. It also describes some of the discoveries and writings that have led to our present-day understanding of this fascinating culture. Book jacket.

The Incas

THE INCAS: A MYREPORTLINKS.COM BOOK, part of the Civilizations of the Ancient World series, examines this Andean Indian civilization whose empire once stretched for more than 2,500 miles from Colombia to Chile. Author Alison Imbriaco captures the mysticism, artistic achievements, and brutal reality of life in the "Land of the Four Quarters."

Mayas, Incas, and Aztecs

The Mayas, Incas, and Aztecs were three groups of people found living in the ancient Americas, including the Andes Mountains and a city named Tenochtitl#65533;n. This intriguing book features details about these three incredible civilizations and explores how each of them fell when Spanish explorers found their settlements. Through detailed images and maps, captivating sidebars and facts, and an accessible glossary and index, readers will learn about leaders like Moctezuma as well as how these civilizations used farming, hieroglyphics, and glyphs to create their unique cultures.

The angry Aztecs

Readers can discover all the foul facts about the Angry Aztecs, including
why the Aztecs liked to eat scum, when the world is going
to end and their horrible habit of drinking live toads in wine.
Filled with foul facts, terrible timelines and a grisly quiz, this
bestselling classic title is sure to be a huge hit with yet another
generation of Terry Deary fans. It's history with the nasty
bits left in!

The angry Aztec and the incredible Incas

The foulest facts about the people whose idea of fun was ripping out human hearts, and the gory details on the incredible empire that was brought down by 260 Spanish invaders and a few germs...

Aztec attack

Napoleon Augustus Smythe; Age: 11 years old; Assignment: Operation Battle Book; Controller: Professor Juanita Perdu; Duty: To operate as a human data-collecting device; Survival gear: SimulSkin (high-tech, skin-coloured body armour), Battle Watch and assorted gadgets; Mission directive: To spy on the past. Mission 4: Aztec Attack - Tenochtitlan, 1519, the first meeting between the Spanish conquistadors and the Aztecs; Mission objective:

The incredible Incas

Find out the horrible truth, like how a bucket of stewed pee
could make you beautiful, why servants ate the emperor's hair and
what happened in their legendary golden temples. Includes a grisly
quiz to test your knowledge.

Aztec Civilization

The Aztec Empire flourished between c. 1345 and 1521 CE and, at its greatest extent, covered most of northern Mesoamerica. Aztec warriors were able to dominate their neighbouring states and permit rulers such as Motecuhzoma II to impose Aztec ideals and religion across Mexico. Highly accomplished in agriculture and trade, the last of the great Mesoamerican civilizations was also noted for its art and architecture which ranks amongst the finest ever produced on the continent.

The Aztec state is actually the most well documented Mesoamerican civilization with sources including archaeology, native books (codices) and lengthy and detailed accounts from their Spanish conquerors - both by military men and Christian clergy. These latter sources may not always be reliable but the picture we have of the Aztecs, their institutions, religious practices, warfare and daily life is a rich one and it continues to be constantly expanded with details being added through the endeavours of 21st century CE archaeologists and scholars. more...

Spanish Colonization Timeline


Oct 12, 1492: Columbus Reaches America

Columbus arrives in the Bahamas. Europeans are in the Americas to stay. Columbus eventually makes four voyages to the New World, but dies dejected and forgotten in Valladolid, Spain in 1506.

1501: Encomienda System

The encomienda system begins, granting Native Americans to Spanish encomenderos as slaves. The Spaniards are tasked with protecting the natives and teaching them Christianity. The system is rife with abuses.

1519 - 1521: Magellan Circumnavigates Globe

Ferdinand Magellan's ships are the first to circumnavigate the globe. Magellan himself is killed by natives in the Pacific.

Nov 8, 1519: Cortes Captures Tenochtitlan

Fall of Tenochtitlan: Hernán Cortés and approximately 100 Spaniards capture the capital of the Aztec Empire.

1519 - 1521: Cortes Conquers Aztecs

Cortés and his men conquer the entire Aztec Empire in what will later become Mexico. read more

Source: Shmoop Editorial Team. "Spanish Colonization Timeline of Important Dates." Shmoop University Inc. Last modified November 11, 2008. Accessed February 23, 2018.

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