The Spanish conquest of the Americas in the sixteenth century was one of the most cataclysmic events in history. Spanish expeditions had to endure the most unbelievable hardships to open up the lands of the New World. Few stories, if any, in history match these for sheer drama, endurance and distances covered. In Conquistadors Michael Wood travels in the footsteps of some of the greatest of the Spanish adventurers from Amazonia to Lake Titicaca, and from the deserts of North Mexico to the heights of Macchu Picchu. He experiences first hand the reality of epic journeys, such as those made by Hernan Cortes, and Francisco and Gonzalo Pizarro, and explores the turbulent and terrifying events surrounding the Spanish conquest of the Aztec and Inca empires, as well as Orellana's extraordinary voyage of discovery down the Amazon and Cabeza de Vaca's journey across America to the Pacific. In Peru, as in Mexico, the conquistadors swept away the indigenous states, subjugating the native people, destroying their religion and culture. As well as bringing history alive with evocative text and stunning pictures, Michael Wood grapples with the moral legacy of the European invasion.
The stories in this book are not only of conquest, heroism and greed, but of changes in the way we see the world - in our view of history and civilization, justice and human rights.