Conquest – Concept, meanings, history and conquest of America

We explain what conquest is, its various meanings and how it is present in history. Also, the conquest of America and Mexico.

A conquest is achieved by defeating opponents or overcoming difficulties.

What is the conquest?

In general, when we talk about conquering, according to one of the meanings of the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, we refer to “achieving something, generally with effort, skill or overcoming difficulties”. That is to say, that the conquest it is the act in which one’s will is imposed on adversity, in which a task is achieved by defeating opponents, overcoming difficulties.

It is a common term, widely applied to different contexts, which comes from Latin I will conquer, verb in turn derived from the participle of the verb I will conquer (“watch”). The latter is made up of the voices with (“Together”, “next to”) and quaerere (“Search” or “require”).

So that to conquer is related from its origins with verbs such as “want” and “acquire”, with which it shares the idea of make our property something that was alien.

In any case, the idea of ​​conquest always places its protagonist in a victorious position: that of the conqueror, the individual who imposed his will on others or on the surrounding reality itself. Thus, in the romantic sphere, for example, conquest is spoken of as a synonym of falling in love, that is, of seduction and the conviction of the loved one.

On the other hand, in sports, there is talk of “conquering victory” or “conquering gold” when a team defeats the opposite and thus receives a trophy or a medal of recognition. However, the most common use of this term has to do with history, and especially with political and military history, and refers to the invasion of foreign lands and the submission of other peoples to the will and service of the conquerors.

This last sense is, unfortunately, the most common of all.

The conquest in history

Throughout the history of mankind, numerous political and military forces have expanded the borders of the territory through violence under your control. Disputes over land tenure between cultures and peoples date from the most remote antiquity, and could be seen as a human expression of the struggle for control of a territory that is often carried out by many species of animals.

Whoever controls a territory decides what to do with its resources and can impose their own order and their own vision of the world, since to the conquered, generally, conditions of slavery, servitude and linguistic and religious assimilation are imposed. Hence, many campaigns of military conquest in Antiquity and the Middle Ages had not only economic, but also ethnic and religious foundations.

The list of famous conquerors in history is very, very long, but among the most famous are:

  • The Persian Cyrus II “the Great” (575-530 BC)
  • The Greek Alexander the Great (356-323 BC)
  • The Roman Julius Caesar (100-44 BC)
  • Attila the Hun (c. 395-453)
  • Mongol Genghis Khan (c. 1162-1227)
  • The Turk Mehmed II (1432-1481)
  • The Spanish Francisco Pizarro (1478-1541) and Hernán Cortés (1485-1547)
  • The French Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

The conquest of America

conquest of Mexico
America was conquered mainly by the Spanish and Portuguese empires.

It is known as the conquest of America to the process of military invasion and political subjugation of the pre-Columbian peoples of 15th century America, mainly by the military forces of the Spanish Empire and the Portuguese Empire (although also the United Kingdom and other European kingdoms of the time), which began after Columbus’s trips to the so-called New World.

The conquest was a long and cruel war, in which the local peoples fiercely fought an army much better prepared and technologically equipped, in addition to being the carrier of new and lethal diseases (such as smallpox) for which the native peoples lacked defenses. .

The result was the near extermination of local cultures, whose population was significantly reduced, and the beginning of a period of colonization and cultural assimilation that ended up laying the foundations for what we now know as Latin America (and the United States and Canada, in the North American).

Since most of the aboriginal peoples were unaware of the writing, the conquest has been narrated mainly from the point of view of the invaders, and much of the rich pre-Columbian cultural legacy has been lost forever, in the face of the intense evangelization campaigns that the conquest brought with it almost immediately.

The conquest of Mexico

Within the conquest of America, the chapter of the Mexican conquest was one of the main ones, in which faced the Spanish Empire against the Aztec Empire or MexicaThe former counting with the help of other native peoples enemies of the Aztecs (Tlaxcalans, Totonacs and others), who naively saw the opportunity to free themselves from the yoke of their neighbors.

This conflict lasted between 1517 and 1521, and was led by Hernán Cortés, representative of King Carlos I of Spain, and Moctezuma II, Aztec tlatoani, as well as their champions Cuauhtémoc, Cuitláhuac, Coanácoch, Cacamatzin and others.

The result was the defeat of the Aztecs and its submission to the Spanish yoke, as well as the foundation in the Mexican territory of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, the first of the Spanish colonial institutions in America.