What features of history do the Caribbean, Spanish Latin America, and Brazil share?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Christopher Columbus's voyage to the Americas, sponsored by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, led the Spanish to swiftly colonize the Americas in pursuit of new political and economic gains. Hence, one aspect of history shared by both the Caribbean and Spanish Latin America is colonization by the Spanish.

In 1492, Columbus landed on a small island in the Caribbean Sea he dubbed San Salvador and, thinking he had reached the Indies, named the chain of islands in the Caribbean the West Indies. By 1502, the discovery of a small quantity of gold led Spain to create a settlement on one of the largest Caribbean islands, an island they dubbed Hispaniola.  Led by soldier Nicolas de Ovando, the colonists began a religious and military movement in Hispaniola to reqconquistar, meaning reconquer, Spanish territory and expel the Moors, who were literally Muslims though the term could also refer to anyone who did not share the Christian faith, such as the natives. Soon, Jamaica was colonized by the Spanish in 1509, Trinidad in 1510. Even parts of Florida and whole Indian villages were put under the control of a conquistador, who acted as a feudal lord (Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, "The European Settlements"; Bamber Gascoigne, History World, "Spaniards in a New World: 16th Century").

Meanwhile, exploration of the Caribbean also led to Spanish exploration of Central America, from Honduras to the start of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. By 1515, the Spanish had also colonized Cuba and established the city of Havana. Resistance in Cuba by aboriginals led to much bloodshed, guerrilla warfare, and the eventual surrender and enslavement of the natives.

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