Spaniards and Native Americans Cultural Interactions Free Essay

Spaniards and the Native Americans interacted in various ways at different times and for different reasons and forged some kind of cultural interaction. In the quest for socioeconomic and political control, the Spaniards wanted to convert to Christianity in these encounters. To assert their power, the Spaniards used military conquests, even establishing military posts in some areas and building Christian missions. Christian missionaries endeavoured to convert the Native Americans to Christianity and had some success baptizing and transforming them (Holmes). This paper seeks to elucidate the roles played by religion and military power in Spaniard and Native American encounters with each as inferred from their descriptions.

As evident from Hernan Cortes’s letters to his sponsor; King Charles V, militarism played a major role in controlling the communities (Aztecs) they encountered, and taking their belongings (Cortés and MacNutt, 202). The military is seen as a tool which the Spaniards used to gain riches and grab possessions. The atrocities administered to the Native Americans are wholly attributed to the military struggles that the Spaniards did in process of their conquest. The Native Americans had their own preset way of life particular religion and military forces for protection but were thwarted during the Spaniard conquests (Cortés and MacNutt, 205). The Spaniards gave Native Americans a choice that they only had to be Christians or get attacked. Indians suffered greatly under the Spaniard conquest and probably this was the reason why they opposed Christianity and also the fact that they already had their own religion. Even Spanish priests who at the time of conquest were at Mexico have given an account of the ills done on them as well as their campaigns that saw King Charles V make laws trying to control military activities.

There was a wide disparity between the Spaniards and the Aztecs in beliefs, religious practices, cultures, and militarism. The Spaniards destroyed Aztec religious forms since they deemed them evil and pagan, attributing to Aztec rituals and mysticism (Townsend, 29). Coupled up with the fact that Aztecs lived a life of submission and payment of tributes to lords, Spaniard conquest, and an imposition of their culture was a bit easier. Subsequently, as the Spaniards went to meet Aztecs, and their first conquest, the Aztecs had planned of it as a tactic to lure the Spaniards and learn their ways in order to defeat them. This was not the case as they were defeated in their own game. The military was used to acquire labor for Spanish farms and to convert both Indians and Aztecs to Christianity. The friar’s published notes indicate the Spaniard’s militarism in changing the native’s religion which earned them attacks from the Indians who burnt Christian images and deeply hated the Spaniards (Townsend, 30).

Alvar Nunez Cabeza’s excursions in the sea in search of riches which were futile and lead to a sea catastrophe, where they were washed ashore as they try to go back to Cuba. The events further lead to their captivity in the Island of Misfortune. They are taken as laborers and their masters inferable impose their culture upon them (Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, 72). The sinew for Alvar’s sail to Tampa Bay in search of riches was the Spanish perspective on discovery and militarism’s notion of superiority by conquering new lands and their portrayal as greedy wealth-aggrandizing individuals. It is obvious that Tampa Bay may have been talked about as a land filled with riches thus making Alvar seek to find that out and conquer the Island (Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, 75). Albeit taking long to finally quell resistance to Christianity, Spaniards had asserted their military and political influence on the natives. Religion and military therefore were frequently interwoven in the cultural interaction between the Spaniards and the Native American as evident from these descriptions.

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