Skip to main content Skip to navigation

The global impact of the Spanish Empire, indigenous experiences


This week we have 2 books to look at to understand indigenous views of conquest. Understanding Amerindian perceptions is an essential part of any study relating to the Americas. In preparation, please select a passage from your reading which you find most striking, and why. Our intro round will consist of going round and discussing these contributions.

In preparation for forthcoming examinations and essays, in this seminar we will also discuss how to respond to gobbits, and also how to develop research skills.

Primary Sources
León-Portilla, M., Broken Spears (Boston, 2006). Ebook available
Wachtel, Nathan, Vision of the Vanquished: The Spanish Conquest of Peru Through Indian Eyes, Trans. S. Reynolds (Hassocks, 1977).

Core readings
Guerra, Francisco The Pre-Columbian Mind, Seminar Press (London, 1971), chapter 6: “The Colonial Acculturation”
Livi-Bacci, Massimo, Conquest, The Destruction of the American Indios, trans. Carl Ipsen (Cambridge, 2008).
Rouse, Irving, The Tainos: rise & decline of the people who greeted Columbus (New Haven, 1992).
Rabasa, José, Inventing America: Spanish Historiography and the Formation of Eurocentrism (Norman, 1993).
Taylor William B. and Franklin Pease G.Y., Violence, Resistance and Survival in the Americas, Native Americans and the Legacy of Conquest (Washington and London, 1994).

Key Questions
• What was the impact of the Spanish Empire on indigenous populations around the world?
• How did indigenous populations perceive the Spaniards?
• Did Spanish perceptions of ‘other’ change in this period?

Historiographical Theme: Indigenous history