Spanish Castilian Empire

Why was it considered necessary for the Spanish Crown to justify and legitimise the conquest of the Americas and what arguments and means did it employ for this purpose? Every colonial country needs an idea to base its conquest and Spain was no different. The ideology behind the Spanish conquest of the Americas was the spread of Catholicism. This belief in the conversion of the Indians is what drove the Spanish to conquer, settle and govern the New World. The Castilians modeled their Catholic empire on the Holy Roman Empire of old. They viewed themselves as successors to the Romans. The Castilians regarded themselves as the superior race, who were on a divine mission to achieve a universal Catholic empire. The Castilians felt obligated to extend the faith and conveniently this proved to justify their colonisation of the Americas. They understood that by giving the natives the protection of the crown, they would lead a better life. This better life would also arise due to the absence of slavery and the spiritual guidance provided for those ignorant of Christianity. If the spreading of the faith was the sole reason for the conquest of the Americas then we must understand how religion was spread. The devout Castilians wished Catholicism to dominate but seemingly they wanted a Spanish Catholic Empire more so. The conversions were mixed between preaching, reasoning, threats and force. This faade of converting the Americans subsequently allowed the Spanish an excuse for conquest and plunder. For them this was the perfect justification, almost as if God was instructing them to take control of these new lands and consequently strip them of their wealth. The Spanish Crown had great ecclesiastical power in the newly conquered kingdom. This again indicates that it was becoming more of evident that they were on a mission of conquest, not, spiritual enlightenment. These actions give the idea that the divine missi…

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