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p. 423. To give account of who I amlocked

  • Matthew Restall
  •  and Felipe Fernández-Armesto


‘To give account of who I am’ asks: Who exactly were the conquistadors? Many famous conquistadors, such as Cortés, the Pizarro brothers, Pedro de Alvarado, Francisco de Montejos, and Hernando de Soto, dominate the imagination. However, most conquistadors died in obscurity. The typical conquistador was in his late twenties, from the middle classes, with experience of exploration, and trained in the use of various weapons, although they were rarely soldiers. The level of education varied widely, and mental illnesses seemed to be prevalent. Female, black, and indigenous allies of male Spanish explorers also became conquistadors, although their prospects were even less optimistic.

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