How did Spanish rule develop in the New World?

Expert Answers
ecofan74 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From their first voyages to the New World, the Spanish established a clear pattern of rule over its newly-acquired subjects.  Spanish rule was governed by the three "G"'s:  gold, God, glory.  Beginning in Southern and Central American and extending into the American Southwest, Spanish rule sprang from the pursuit of wealth, the spread of Catholicism, and the achievement of individual renown.  In each of these respects, the Spanish proceeded with force to establish their authority.  In the process, the Spanish would destroy those parts of the indigenous culture that seemed foreign to them; they would tear down the existing culture and impose their own.

For example, though gold was not nearly as prized among the Inca as it is among the Spanish, the Spanish would pursue any means to acquire greater wealth to take back to Spain.  In addition, Cortes, though he admired Tenochtitlan, ultimately destroyed it in 1521 in favor of building a new city on its ruins.  In terms of spreading Catholicism, the Spaniards employed the Dominicans and Franciscans to effect the conversion of the indigenous populations.  If they refused conversion, they were forced to convert, much the Spanish conversos.  In addition, making a name for oneself was of primary importance.

Once Spanish explorers and adventurers established their authority, often destroying discovering how to achieve their more sought after objectives, Spain sent government officials to manage Spanish interests in the New World.  The government officials who came in continued the program begun by their predecessors, employing intimidation and force to maintain authority, both political and religious.