Spanish Settlements

American History Spanish Come to America

The Spanish empire in the New World was ruled for the king of Spain by two men called Viceroys. Each controlled one area. One Viceroy controlled the Kingdom of New Spain. This included Mexico, the islands of the West Indies, and North America. The other Viceroy controlled the Kingdom of Peru. This also included Panama and the Spanish land in South America. The Viceroys made sure the king's laws were followed and taxes were collected.

Conquistadors were soldiers and leaders who helped take over the land from the Indians. They treated the Indians like slaves.

Missionaries complained about the treatment of the Native Americans. These men were Catholic priests who followed the soldiers into the new territories. They wanted to bring religion to the Native Americans. They built missions. These were built like forts because they were often attacked by the Native Americans who did not want them there. The Native Americans who lived in the missions were not only taught religion but weaving and tending sheep as well. Many Indians lived on large farms owned by the Spanish. The large farms were called haciendas.

The Spanish brought the new crops of sugarcane, coffee, apples, bananas, peaches, and cereal grains to the New World. The Indians introduced the Spanish to tobacco, potatoes, pumpkins, corn, chocolate from cacao beans, and squash.

Spanish Settlements Activities

  1. The explorers were introduced to new foods they had never seen or tasted before. Chocolate was one of these foods. The cacao tree grew wild in America. In the early 1500's when Hernando Cortex conquered Mexico, the Aztec emperor Montezuma served him a drink called chocolate. Cortez brought the beverage back to Spain. With sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon added to sweeten the bitter drink, it became a favorite with the Spanish aristocracy. In the 1600s the drink won popularity among the upper classes in France and England. Make a cup of hot chocolate.

  2. Make two lists: one of foods, plants, and animals that were familiar to the Old World and one of foods, plants, and animals that were familiar to the New World. Go here to compare your lists to the ones we made.

  3. Take the quiz on Spanish settlements.