*Includes Cortes's letter to King Charles V describing Tenochtitlan and the Aztec Empire.
*Includes descriptions of both the Aztec and Inca Empires.
*Includes pictures of the explorers and important people and places in their lives.
*Includes a Bibliography for further reading.
"At two o'clock in the morning the land was discovered...As I saw that they were very friendly to us, and perceived that they could be much more easily converted to our holy faith by gentle means than by force, I presented them with some red caps, and strings of beads to wear upon the neck, and many other trifles of small value, wherewith they were much delighted, and became wonderfully attached to us." - Christopher Columbus's diary, October 11-12, 1492
"Among these temples there is one which far surpasses all the rest, whose grandeur of architectural details no human tongue is able to describe; for within its precincts, surrounded by a lofty wall, there is room enough for a town of five hundred families." - Hernan Cortes
"Friends and comrades On that side south] are toil, hunger, nakedness, the drenching storm, desertion, and death; on this side ease and pleasure. There lies Peru with its riches; here, Panama and its poverty. Choose, each man, what best becomes a brave Castilian. For my part, I go to the south." - Francisco Pizarro
The most seminal event of the last millennium might also be its most controversial. As schoolchildren have been taught for over 500 years, "In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue." In October of that year, the Italian Christopher Columbus immortalized himself by landing in the New World and beginning the process of European settlement in the Americas for Spain, bringing the Age of Exploration to a new hemisphere with him. Ironically, the Italian had led a Spanish expedition, in part because the Portugese rejected his offers in the belief that sailing west to Asia would take too long. Everyone agrees that Columbus's discovery of the New World was one of the turning points in history, but agreements over his legacy end there. Although his other three voyages to the New World were far less successful and largely overlooked in the narrative of his life, Columbus has become a towering figure in the annals of history.
During the Age of Exploration, some of the most famous and infamous individuals were Spain's best known conquistadors. Naturally, as the best known conquistador, Hernan Cortes (1485-1547) is also the most controversial. Like Christopher Columbus before him, Cortes was lionized for his successes for centuries without questioning his tactics or motives, while indigenous views of the man have been overwhelmingly negative for the consequences his conquests had on the Aztecs and other natives in the region. Just about the only thing everyone agrees upon is that Cortes had a profound impact on the history of North America.
If Columbus and Cortes were the pioneers of Spain's new global empire, Pizarro consolidated its immense power and riches, and his successes inspired a further generation to expand Spain's dominions to unheard of dimensions. Furthermore, he participated in the forging of a new culture: like Cortes, he took an indigenous mistress with whom he had two mixed-race children, and yet the woman has none of the lasting fame of Cortes's Dona Marina. With all of this in mind, it is again remarkable that Pizarro remains one of the less well-known and less written about of the explorers of his age.
Discovering and Conquering the New World looks at the lives of the three famous explorers and their enduring legacies. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Columbus, Cortes and Pizarro like you never have before.