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History and Etymology for conquistador Spanish, ultimately from Latin conquirere — see conquer. Keep scrolling for more. Learn More about conquistador.
Time Traveler for conquistador The first known use of conquistador was in See more words from the same year. More Definitions for conquistador. English Language Learners Definition of conquistador.
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Conquistadors had overwhelming military advantages over the native peoples. They belonged to a more militarily advanced civilization with better techniques, tools, a few number of crude fire arms, artillery, iron, steel and domesticated animals.
Horses and mules carried them, pigs fed them and dogs fought for them. The indigenous peoples had the advantage of established settlements, determination to remain independent and large numerical superiority.
European diseases and divide and conquer tactics contributed to the defeat of the native populations. In the Iberian peninsula, in a situation of constant conflict, warfare and daily life were strongly interlinked.
Small, lightly equipped armies were maintained at all times. The state of war continued intermittently for centuries and created a very warlike culture in Iberia.
Another factor was the ability of the conquistadors to manipulate the political situation between indigenous peoples.
To beat the Inca civilization, they supported one side of a civil war. They overthrew the Aztec civilization by allying with natives who had been subjugated by more powerful neighbouring tribes and kingdoms.
These tactics had been used since antiquity, for example, in the Granada War , the conquest of the Canary Islands and conquest of Navarre.
The Europeans practiced war within the terms and laws of their concept of a just war. While Spanish soldiers went to the battlefield to kill their enemies, the Aztecs and Mayas captured their enemies for use as sacrificial victims to their gods—a process called " flower war " by Spanish historians.
In traditional cultures of the Stone Age , Bronze Age , and hunter-gatherer societies the warfare was mostly 'endemic', long duration, low intensity, usually evolving into almost a ritualized form.
By contrast, Europe had moved to 'sporadic' warfare in the Middle Ages due to the availability of professionally mercenary armies. Aztec and other native peoples practiced an endemic system of warfare as well, and so were easily defeated by Spanish and Portuguese sporadic-warfare armies in the early s.
These forces were capable of quickly moving long distances, allowing a quick return home after battle. Wars were mainly between clans, expelling intruders.
On land, these wars combined some European methods with techniques from Muslim bandits in Al-Andalus. These tactics consisted of small groups who attempted to catch their opponents by surprise, through an ambush.
In Mombasa , Dom Vasco da Gama resorted to piracy , looting Arab merchant ships, which were generally unarmed trading vessels without heavy cannons.
Spanish conquistadors in the Americas made extensive use of short swords and crossbows , with arquebus becoming widespread only from the s.
Animals were another important factor for Spanish triumph. On the one hand, the introduction of the horse and other domesticated pack animals allowed them greater mobility unknown to the Indian cultures.
However, in the mountains and jungles, the Spaniards were less able to use narrow Amerindian roads and bridges made for pedestrian traffic, which were sometimes no wider than a few feet.
In places such as Argentina , New Mexico and California , the indigenous people learned horsemanship, cattle raising, and sheep herding.
The use of the new techniques by indigenous groups later became a disputed factor in native resistance to the colonial and American governments.
The Spaniards were also skilled at breeding dogs for war, hunting and protection. The Molossers , Spanish war dogs  and sheep dogs they used in battle were effective as a psychological weapon against the natives, who, in many cases, had never seen domesticated dogs.
These specially trained dogs were feared because of their strength and ferocity. The strongest big breeds of broad-mouthed dogs were specifically trained for battle.
These war dogs were used against barely clothed troops. They were armoured dogs trained to kill and disembowel.
The successive expeditions and experience of the Portuguese pilots led to a rapid evolution of Portuguese nautical science.
In the thirteenth century they were guided by the sun position. For celestial navigation like other Europeans, they used Greek tools, like the astrolabe and quadrant , which they made easier and simpler.
They also created the cross-staff , or cane of Jacob , for measuring at sea the height of the sun and other stars. The results varied throughout the year, which required corrections.
To address this the Portuguese used the astronomical tables Ephemeris , a precious tool for oceanic navigation, which spread widely in the fifteenth century.
These tables revolutionized navigation, enabling latitude calculations. The tables of the Almanach Perpetuum , by astronomer Abraham Zacuto , published in Leiria in , were used along with its improved astrolabe, by Vasco da Gama and Pedro Alvares Cabral.
The ship that truly launched the first phase of the discoveries along the African coast was the Portuguese caravel.
Iberians quickly adopted it for their merchant navy. It was a development based on African fishing boats. They were agile and easier to navigate, with a tonnage of 50 to tons and one to three masts, with lateen triangular sails allowing luffing.
The caravel particularly benefited from a greater capacity to tack. The limited capacity for cargo and crew were their main drawbacks, but have not hindered its success.
Limited crew and cargo space was acceptable, initially, because as exploratory ships, their "cargo" was what was in the explorer's discoveries about a new territory, which only took up the space of one person.
Columbus also used them in his travels. Long oceanic voyages led to larger ships. Due to the piracy that plagued the coasts, they began to be used in the navy and were provided with cannon windows, which led to the classification of "naus" according to the power of its artillery.
The carrack or nau was a three- or four- masted ship. It had a high rounded stern with large aftcastle , forecastle and bowsprit at the stem.
It was first used by the Portuguese, and later by the Spanish. They were also adapted to the increasing maritime trade. They grew from tons capacity in the 15th century to In the 16th century they usually had two decks , stern castles fore and aft, two to four masts with overlapping sails.
In India travels in the sixteenth century used carracks, large merchant ships with a high edge and three masts with square sails, that reached 2, tons.
Besides coastal exploration, Portuguese ships also made trips further out to gather meteorological and oceanographic information. The knowledge of wind patterns and currents , the trade winds and the oceanic gyres in the Atlantic, and the determination of latitude led to the discovery of the best ocean route back from Africa: crossing the Central Atlantic to the Azores, using the winds and currents that spin clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere because of atmospheric circulation and the effect of Coriolis , facilitating the way to Lisbon and thus enabling the Portuguese to venture farther from shore, a manoeuvre that became known as the "volta do mar" return of the sea.
In , the application of this principle in the Pacific Ocean led the Spanish discovering the Manila Galleon trade route. In Angelino Dulcert of Majorca produced the portolan chart map.
Evidently drawing from the information provided in by Lanceloto Malocello sponsored by King Dinis of Portugal. It showed Lanzarote island, named Insula de Lanzarotus Marocelus and marked by a Genoese shield, as well as the island of Forte Vetura Fuerteventura and Vegi Mari Lobos , although Dulcert also included some imaginary islands himself, notably Saint Brendan's Island , and three islands he names Primaria , Capraria and Canaria.
Mestre Jacome was a Majorcan cartographer induced by Portuguese prince Henry the Navigator to move to Portugal in the s to train Portuguese map-makers in Majorcan-style cartography.
Majorca had many skilled Jewish cartographers. Reinel was also author of the first nautical chart known with an indication of latitudes in and the first representation of a wind rose.
They were considered the best cartographers of their time. Emperor Charles V wanted them to work for him. In King Manuel I of Portugal handed Lopo Homem a charter giving him the privilege to certify and amend all compass needles in vessels.
The third phase of nautical cartography was characterized by the abandonment of Ptolemy 's representation of the East and more accuracy in the representation of lands and continents.
Many of his charts are large scale. The Manila-Acapulco trade route started in and Spanish treasure fleets white and its eastwards rivals, the Portuguese India Armadas routes of — blue.
North America. South America. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the Spanish and Portuguese explorer-soldiers from the 15th to 17th centuries.
For other uses, see Conquistador disambiguation. Soldiers and explorers for the Spanish and Portuguese empires.
This section needs expansion with: Magellan and Villalobos should be mentioned in the correct time sequence. You can help by adding to it.
June Main articles: History of Portugal — , Portuguese India , Portuguese discoveries , Age of exploration , Bandeirantes , and theory of Portuguese discovery of Australia.
Main article: Portuguese colonization of the Americas. Main article: Council of the Indies. This section does not cite any sources.
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July Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: Iberian ship development, — Portuguese Empire. Spanish Empire. Iberian Union — Spain portal Portugal portal History portal.
Prospects of democracy: a study of countries. New York: Routledge. Retrieved 3 December Colonial Latin America. Johnson, Lyman L. Tenth ed.
New York. Emerging Infect. Archived from the original on 18 March Retrieved 9 March Archived from the original on 23 November Retrieved 13 March Archived from the original on 31 October Jamaica National Heritage Trust.
Archived from the original on 26 September Retrieved 30 September Archived from the original on 25 September The Human Record.
Houghton Mifflin Company. Retrieved 10 October Francisco Pizarro: Conqueror of the Incas. Compass Point Books. Retrieved 27 September Stanford University Press.
Cambridge University Press. The Black Middle. Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest. Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 5 April Retrieved 19 February Pedro de Valdivia explored Chile , founding the city of Santiago in The conquistadores, given more to fighting and the search for gold than to governance, were quickly replaced by administrators and settlers from Spain.
Conquistador Article Media Additional Info. Home World History Global Exploration. Print Cite. Facebook Twitter.
Give Feedback External Websites. Examples of conquistador. In the last scene, the conquistadores appear at the mouth of the river, triumphant and by themselves.
From the Cambridge English Corpus. While the festivals of independence derived aspects of their structure from colonial festivals, their ideological content stood in stark contrast to these colonial celebrations of the conquest and the conquistadors.
These examples are from corpora and from sources on the web. Any opinions in the examples do not represent the opinion of the Cambridge Dictionary editors or of Cambridge University Press or its licensors.
Both conquistadors and merchants can furnish the evidence for the traits of personality, the types of outlook, that moved the leaders of so notable an advance.
The fact that the peoples they studied preserved written records, some of which became souvenirs for trophy-hungry conquistadores and their sponsors, provided a great boon to modern scholars.
The fertility of these lands compelled the conquistador to found his favorite residence here. From Wikipedia.
Sometimes, an expedition of conquistadors were a group of influential men who had recruited and equipped their fighters, by promising a share of the booty.
Neither conquistador stayed in the region for long once it became clear that the local riches were only abundant fish and shellfish.
Conquistadors were granted trusteeship over the indigenous people they helped conquer. The conquistadors accepted and lauded hierarchy and rank.
These captaincies general should be distinguished from the ones given to almost all of the conquistadores, which was based on an older tradition.
Corts then calls for his horse, which the last mounted conquistador brings to him. The history of the conquistadores is rife with accounts of rivalry, jockeying for positions, mutiny, and betrayal.