those famous spanish explorers
or spanish conquistadors ...

who were those famous spanish explorers?...
what were they after? ...

So ... who were the early Spanish explorers, or Spanish conquistadors ... and what is the Spanish conquistador history?...

Well, the word conquistador in Spanish means conqueror and, basically, they were Spanish soldiers and explorers who discovered and established Spain's overseas Empire.

During the reconquista, Spain had managed to take over the Iberian Peninsula after nearly 800 years domination by the Muslim Moors.

And, these Spanish soldiers or explorers - for a variety of reasons - now saw it as their mission to conquer new lands.

early famous spanish explorers

The Spanish Empire dates from 1469.

This was when Princess Isabella of Castile married Ferdinand of Aragon, to become Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand V of Spain.

These Catholic monarchs began to restore royal authority in Spain, and to build an empire.

In 1492, they financed the expedition of Christopher Columbus - perhaps the best-known of the famous Spanish explorers - to the New World, America.

Originally, the plan had been for him to discover new trade routes to the Indies and East-Asia.

In 1494, Spain claimed all lands in the New World, and several years of colonization followed.

famous spanish explorers - motives

There were a variety of reasons for Spain exploring and colonizing the New World, the main ones being:

  • riches - gold, silver, and spices
  • to increase trade
  • build a Spanish Empire
  • expand the Catholic Religion

Establishing the Spanish monarchy and building an empire had been an expensive business, especially the cost of wars, such as those with the Ottaman or Turkish Empire.

Also, many Spaniards regarded it as their mission to spread the Roman Catholic religion, with priests and friars accompanying the Spanish explorers in order to convert heathen natives to Christianity.

list of famous spanish explorers

One of the most renowned Spanish conquistadors - Christopher Columbus - was not Spanish but born in Genoa, Italy.

However, his New World explorations were financed by the Spanish monarchy and he was, in fact, working for Spain.

Other famous Spanish conquistadors who were not Spanish by birth include:

  • Amerigo Vespucci - Italian by birth, but a naturalized Spaniard
  • Estevanico - black African explorer enslaved by the Spanish

So, here's a list of the better-known Spanish explorers who took part in the colonization of America ...

  • Christopher Columbus
  • Amerigo Vespucci
  • Estevanico
  • Francisco Pizarro
  • Hernando Cortes
  • Vasco Nu ez de Balboa
  • Cabeza de Vaca
  • Alonso lvarez de Pineda
  • Lucas V zquez de Ayll n
  • Juan Ponce de Leon
  • Francisco V zquez de Coronado
  • P nfilo de Narv ez
  • Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo
  • Juan de O ate
  • Hernando de Soto
  • Fray Marcos de Niza

In 1898, the United States won the Spanish-American War, putting an end to Spanish rule in America.

famous spanish explorers - related pages

If you're interested in famous Spanish people, you may like to check out the following pages ...

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