The Spanish Come to the New World

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Vasco NýŮez de Balboa
Balboa led an expedition across Panama looking for gold, but discovered the Pacific Ocean instead. It took 24 days for his group of 190 Spaniards and 1000 natives to cross the 45 miles of jungle. On September 29, 1513 they reached the Pacific Ocean and claimed all the land that touched the Pacific Ocean for Spain.

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Hernando Cortez
Cortez was a young Spaniard who went to Cuba to find his fortune. He heard stories about gold in Mexico and South America. In 1519, Cortez left Cuba to find this gold. Cortezís men fought the Aztec warriors as he crossed Mexico. Even though the Aztecs warriors outnumbered Cortezís men 300 to 1, the Aztecs gave up after 3 battles. They could not compete against guns and horses. The Spaniards also wore metal armor. More than this, the Indians were afraid of the "god-like" warriors. On November 8, 1519, Cortez reached Mexico City and was received by Montezuma, the Aztec emperor. Cortez captured Montezuma and began to rule the empire through him. The Spaniards made the Aztecs work in the mines looking for gold and silver. This gold and silver was shipped back to Spain.

 

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Francisco Coronado
Coronado commanded an expedition which left from western Mexico in 1540. He was searching for the Seven Golden Cities of  Cibola. Coronado rode through northern Mexico and into what is now Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Coronado did not find any golden cities, but discovered the Pueblo Indians. Coronado was upset at not finding the cities of gold. He sent his men off in different directions with orders to find them. His men found the Grand Canyon instead. Coronado would not give up. He marched his army east. There he found the buffalo and grassy plains, but no cities of gold. Coronado claimed all the land over which he and his men had traveled in the name of Spain.

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Francisco Pizarro
In 1523 Pizarro led an expedition to explore and conquer the land of a wealthy Indian empire. With a ship furnished by the governor of Panama, Pizarro explored the coast of Peru. He then sailed to Spain to ask for permission to conquer Peru. The permission was granted. With 200 men and 40 horses, Pizarro began to conquer coastal settlements. Pizarro later captured the Inca emperor and slaughtered 2,000 Indians. Pizzeria accepted a large ransom for returning the emperor. After releasing him, he had him executed.

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Hernando De Soto
On May 30, 1539 De Soto and his men went into Florida. They marched northward toward Georgia then turned west. His goal was to find gold. In his journey, De Soto forced the Indians to give his men supplies. This led to many battles. One of the worst was near Mobile Bay. De Soto discovered the Mississippi River near present day Memphis, Tennessee in the spring of 1541. De Soto died near his discovery without finding the gold he sought.

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