The Spanish Conquest of the New World

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Mathew Restall's book, Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest

Mathew Restall’s book, Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest is an attempt to decipher as well as to discover the truthfulness in the history of the New World's conquest. Notably, it investigates the parts of the past that may be considered correct as well as the other part of the story that may have been built from the reliable primary source but has changed to myths over time. Notably, bias is one of the problems that both the principal as well as the secondary sources have, which is disadvantageous while digging for the truth. For instance, the Soviets knew the Great Patriotic War while the Americans saw the same war as the Second World War. There is the question of whether the individuals who have settled in the New World after fighting bias, whether the individuals who have been conquered are biased, whether the scholars of the modern times are biased, and whether there could be some middle ground to be reached by both sides. The author seemed to have faced an immense challenge of the intricate web of perception that was the historical truths, as well as myths wound together to form some years of episodic human history. Therefore, Restall was compelled to forget the knowledge he had as well as those things that he believed to be known to comprehend the clear picture that was free from bias.

The Myth of the King’s Army

The Myth of the King’s Army was the second myth (Restall 27). Notably, it is not convincing that the conquistadors were in a group of some war-machine that belonged to Spain following the fact that permanent professional armies were created in the 17th century and the fighters before that can hardly resemble to the army this day. In several individuals' perceptions, the Cortes must have been a member of a particular standing army, which birthed the myth, while in the actuality Cortes was pre-dated. Indeed, the men in question must have fought, but they were mostly like some motley crew consisting of merchants, farmers as well as artisans but not soldiers per se. Besides, the conquests originated from either the Caribbean or other colonies of Spain but not from the latter. The men in question both funded themselves and also took risks on their own during the quest. Further, they were neither supported nor directed by the King but were just an armed company that sought its financial gain without any guarantees resulting into the development of patronage with the fellow conquistadors. Several conquerors of South America, as well as the other Caribbean islands, had their roots in the Conquest of Mexico then spread to the other distant parts.

The Myth of the White Conquistador

The other notable myth if the Myth of the White Conquistador, which suggests that the Spaniards experienced consistent outnumbering while by their opponents in the battlefield as well as their very native allies (Restall 44). Logically, it would be automatically false and impossible to defeat such vast numbers of opponents alone. Several Africans, as well as Indians, took part in the battle. Conversely, the natives had the stance that the Spaniards had their dominance gained at the period of a native civil war. Notably, the natives were also interested in the exploitation of others for gain. The envisioning of Indians and Spaniards on different sides in the battle is outrageous. Cortes is suggested by figures to have made his arrival in Tenochtitlan with native allies approximated between six and two hundred thousand. The problem associated with the issue of the Conquest is the various perspectives to which it may be viewed. For instance, the Spanish had their view of the Indians to be all natives while the native saw both the Mayan or Inca or Culhua as well as the Spaniards to be equally foreign. Africans were also of a vital role in the Conquest as they reached the New World before heading to be conquistadors. In several occasions, it is noted that the Africans significantly outnumbered the Spaniards like in the Baja California’s expedition, Cortes and his men were outnumbered by the Africans. Another scenario is the capture of Atahuallpa where the Africans took part as evidenced by the African casualty that Spain had. Therefore in this myth of the White Conquistador, whites were the minority in most cases as opposed to the myth stating that whites were the muscle in the conquistador.

In conclusion

In conclusion, as portrayed by the two myths analyzed above, Restall offers an intriguing explanation of the unfolding of the Spanish Conquest and its misreading as well as passing down. There is the offer of fresh account of the various activities that were true to the explorers, conquistadors such as Cortes, Columbus as well as Pizarro. As depicted in the aforementioned literature, the author in question uses a variety of sources in the highlighting of the existing vital myths, venturing in the uncovering process of the sources that are inaccurate as well as exploding the various misconceptions as well as fallacies that surround the myths in question.

Work Cited

Matthew Restall. Seven Myths of the Spanish ConquestNew York,

New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-19-517611-1. . 218 pages.

November 13, 2023


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