The Spanish in America

Discovery of the Mississippi by Hernan de Soto

Discovery of the Mississippi
by the explorer Hernan de Soto The Spanish in America

This article on  the Spanish in America provides facts and information about the Spanish colonization of North America and the establishment of New Spain

  • The Spanish in America
  • The Spanish explorers and the first colonists
  • Interesting facts and fast information about the Spanish in America
  • Spain conquests
  • The Spanish Wars
  • Educational resource for teachers and kids about the Spanish in America
French in AmericaBritish Colonies
American Colonies IndexExplorers & Discovery of America

History of the Famous Explorers and the Discovery of America

The discovery of America and the influence of the Spanish in America

Spanish in America
Spain was one of the 'super powers' in Europe during the Age of Exploration. England, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Sweden were all looking to new lands, wealth and riches to build their empires and gain power. The European policies of
Colonialism and Imperialism were designed to extend a nation's authority, power and influence by territorial gain and by the establishment of economic and political dominance. The discovery of the 'New World' provided new lands and opportunities for Spain and the Spanish in America, including their fervor to convert the indigenous population to the Christian and the Roman Catholic religion.

Spanish in America - The Spanish Explorers
Spain sent explorers of America who undertook the 3000 mile journey from Europe to North America across perilous, unchartered seas.

  • The Spanish in America started in 1492 when Christopher Columbus, searching for a new trade route to China, took possession of the new land for Spain
  • In 1513 Vasco de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama to become the first European to lead an expedition to reach the Pacific Ocean from the New World
  • In 1513 Juan Ponce de Leon sailed around the southern end of Florida
  • In 1519 Hernando Cortes began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas and conquered the Aztec empire
  • In 1539 Hernando de Soto explored the southeastern United States from Tampa Bay to to South Carolina and crossed the Mississippi River
  • In 1545 Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo led the first European expedition to explore the upper California coast

These famous men reported their findings to Spain and many others followed them - the Spanish colonization of the new continent of America had begun - the Spanish called  the lands New Spain.

Spanish in America - The Conquistadors and the Encomienda system
The Conquistadors were the Spanish Soldiers and Explorers referred to as 'el conquistador'. The Spanish word "conquistador" means conqueror. The attitude of the Spanish conquistadors to the Native American Indians was that they were savage and pagan. The initial quest for lands led to the decree by the Spanish government that the Encomienda system should be established in the New World. The primary purpose of the Encomienda feudal system was to indoctrinate the Native American Indians into the Catholic faith. The Indians were expected to pay a tribute to the Spanish Conquistadors in return for protection and religious instruction. The Encomienda system was totally abused, the Spanish Conquistadors had unrestrained power in America and they abused, oppressed, exploited and ill-treated the Native Americans. The Spanish Conquistadors and Encomienda system came to signify the oppression and exploitation of the Native Indians who lost their freedom, their rights, their culture and their religion. The Spanish Conquistadors were feared and hated. The Encomienda system was replaced by new laws in 1542 but the Spanish were feared and hated by the indigenous population of America, a legacy that would continue to blight the Spanish in America.

Spanish in America - Extension of the wars in Europe
The European countries attempting to colonize America allowed their dynastic wars in Europe to spill over to America.  The Swedish and the Dutch were been ousted from America, leaving the 'Super Powers' to fight for possession. The following map shows the land claims made by the Spanish, British and French and the disputed areas of the New World in 1754.

1754 Map showing claims of Great Britain, France and Spain
     British Colonies
●    New France
      New Spain
    Disputed Areas

1754 Map showing claims of Great Britain, France and Spain in 1754

Facts about the Spanish in America
The following Fact File contains fast information and facts about the Spanish in America. The Facts about the Spanish in America contains fast, interesting information about the attempts of Spain to colonize America which led to the inclusion of the Spanish in America.

Timeline & Facts about the Spanish in America

 Spanish in America Fact 1Early Explorations by Spain: From 1492 to 1513 the Spanish in America explored the coasts of North and South America, but did not venture inland


Spanish in America Fact 2Early Explorations by Spain: In 1513 exploration of the interior of the two continents of North and South America began when Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama in 1513


Spanish in America Fact 3Early Explorations by Spain: Hernando Cortes conquered Mexico between 1519 and 1521. Missions are established


Spanish in America Fact 4Early Explorations by Spain: In 1528 Narvaez made the first serious attempt to enter the Mississippi valley exploring Florida to Texas


Spanish in America Fact 5Early Explorations by Spain: Cabeza de Vaca then crossed the continent of America From the Sabine River to the Gulf of California


Spanish in America Fact 6Early Explorations by Spain: In 1539 the Spanish governor of Mexico sent Fray Marcos to find the "Seven Cities of Cibola" and began the exploration of the southwestern part of the United States
Spanish in America Fact 7Administration: King Charles establishes the Council of the Indies, designed to oversee the administration of the colonies of the New World. Spain's administration of its colonies was established in 1535 as the Viceroyalty of New Spain in Mexico City
 Spanish in America Fact 8Early Explorations by Spain: Between 1539 and 1541. Hernando de Soto crosses Florida, Georgia and Alabama, and reaches the Mississippi River
Spanish in America Fact 9Early Explorations by Spain: In 1545 Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo explores the upper California coast
Spanish in America Fact 101565: The Spanish settlement of St. Augustine was established in America


Spanish in America Fact 111582:  1582: By 1582 the Spanish were in the valleys of the Gila and Rio Grande


Spanish in America Fact 121582: The Spanish settlement of Santa Fe was established in America


Spanish in America Fact 131573: The Franciscan order arrives in Florida to establish missions. The missions eventually extended along the east coast of North America, from Saint Augustine, Florida, to North Carolina and westward to Tallahassee


 Spanish in America Fact 141592: Juan de Fuca sailed up the western coast of North America from Mexico to Vancouver Island searching for a passage from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean
Spanish in America Fact 151598-1608: Don Juan de Onate brought first colony to New Mexico, and explored vast areas of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas


Spanish in America Fact 161602: Sebastian Vizcaino sailed up the coast of California, naming Monterey Bay, San Diego, San Clemente, Catalina, Santa Barbara, Point Concepcion, Carmel and Monterey


Spanish in America Fact 171610: The Spanish built the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico


Spanish in America Fact 181680-1692: The Pueblo Revolt was located in New Mexico and Arizona. This was an initial great victory for the Pueblo but the Spanish re-conquered the lands in 1692


Spanish in America Fact 19In 1763, Spain traded Florida to the Kingdom of Great Britain for control of Havana, Cuba, which had been captured by the British during the Seven Years' War.


Spanish in America Fact 20Peace Treaty of Paris 1783 ended the American Revolutionary War and returned all of Florida to Spanish control


Spanish in America Fact 211821: In 1821 Spain ceded Florida to the United States through the Adams-Onís Treaty


 Spanish in America Fact 221824: Mexican Independence. Mexico is founded with a Republican Constitution. Spanish rule in North America comes to an end




Fact 231835: The Texas Revolution begins in 1835 with the Battle of Gonzales. Texas gains its independence from Mexico in 1836


Fact 241835: Battle of the Alamo: October 2, 1835 the Battle of the Alamo. Mexican troops under General Santa Anna defeated the American garrison occupying the mission church in San Antonio, Texas. The Alamo inspired Texan forces to victory in subsequent battles


Fact 251846: US forces, led by General Stephen Kearny, seize New Mexico, which surrenders without a shot being fired


Fact 261848: Mexico signs the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which cedes lands in California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico to the United States



Timeline & Facts about the Spanish in America

Spanish in America

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