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Latin American History: The Colonial Era (1521-1810)

The Colonial Era in Latin America should be considered the region's formative years: the norms, laws, conflicts and movements of the time were profoundly influential in determining the character of the area today. The Spanish are only the most famous of the European powers that fought over territories and colonies, but the Portuguese, British, Dutch, French and others were also involved.

Biography of Ambrose O'Higgins
Ambrose ("Ambrosio") O'Higgins was an Irish-born Spanish colonial functionary. Although he distinguished himself as an administrator, he is best known today as the father of Bernardo O'Higgins, liberator of Chile.

Biography of Vasco Nuñez de Balboa
Vasco Nuñez de Balboa (1475-1519) was a Spanish conquistador and explorer of the early colonial era. He is credited with leading the first European expedition to discover the Pacific Ocean (which he referred to as the "South Sea"). He was an able administrator and popular leader who cultivated strong ties with local tribes.

Historic Cities of Latin America
The cities of Latin America are old, and their histories never disappoint. Founded by conquistadors, attacked by pirates, razed by wars, home to dictators, idealists and madmen, these great cities are well worth a visit, or at least a click!

Antonio de Montesinos
On December 4, 1511, Dominican friar Antonio de Montesinos delivered a scathing sermon to the Spanish colonists on Hispaniola, criticizing them for enslaving the natives of the Caribbean. He was practically run out of town, but continued his work on behalf of better conditions for the natives until his death in 1545.

Biography of Juan Sebastián Elcano
Juan Sebastián Elcano was a Basque sailor and navigator, and the first man to successfully complete a round-the-world naval voyage. He set out from Spain in 1519 as part of the Magellan expedition and returned in 1522, having led the fleet after Magellan's death.

Biography of Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese navigator and captain who led the first expedition that successfully circled the globe.

Fray Toribio de Benavente "Motolinía"
Fray Toribio de Benavente, better known by his nickname "Motolinía," was one of the first Spanish friars to arrive in the new World. A tireless evangelizer, he claimed to have baptized over 400,000 natives. Like Bartolomé de Las Casas, he was an early defender of the New World natives.

Bartolom de Las Casas (1484-1566) Part One: Defender of the Indians
Biography of Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Part One

Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (1484-1566) Part Two: Las Casas' Later Yea
Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas biography part two

Biography of Pánfilo de Narváez
Biography of Pánfilo de Narváez, Spanish conquistador and explorer

The Colonization of Guatemala
The region of present-day Guatemala posed many challenges for would-be conquistadors and colonizers.

Latin American History: Introduction to the Colonial Era
Of all the different time periods in the History of Latin America, the Colonial Era was the most important in shaping the modern character of the region. Here you can read six reasons why.

Pirates, Privateers, Buccaneers and Corsairs
Pirate, privateer, buccaneer or corsair? These words have similar meanings, but there are important differences.

Ten Facts About El Dorado
When a place is as legendary as El Dorado, facts sometimes get lost is the changing winds of history. Was El Dorado real? Where was it? Find out the facts about the mythological city of gold.

Joaquin de Montserrat, Marquis of Cruillas
Joaquin de Montserrat, Marquis of Cruillas, was the 44th Viceroy of New Spain (Mexico), serving from 1760-1766.

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