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Mexico and Central America

Mexico and Central America

The Aztecs conquered a large empire covering much of Mexico and Central America, before they themselves were suddenly conquered by a small band of Spanish soldiers, under the command of the conquistadore, Hernán Cortés. Arriving in Mexico with 200 men, Cortés had completed the conquest of the country -an achievment only made possible with the aid of the Aztec’s many native enemies.

With Mexico and the other countries of Central America under their control, the Spanish seized the land and distributed it among themselves. As for the native population, millions died from the diseases that the Europeans brought with them, to which they had no immunity. Most of the rest find themselves reduced to serfdom on huge estates owned by the conquistadores, called encomiendas, The great cities of the past are deserted and left to crumble away.

The church has taken control of the spiritual life of the inhabitants, and the old religions remain only as part of the strong folk tradition of the native Americans.

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