At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Spanish raided the mainland for slaves to work thei mines, ranches, and plantations. The Spanish learned of the rich and populous Aztec empire in central Mexico. ‘New Spain’ describes how the Spanish colonizers with their armed volunteers, known as conquistadores travelled south to extend their massive new empire. How could a few hundred conquistadores so quickly and thoroughly overwhelm such formidable Native American empires? They managed this through a combination of superior weaponry, horse power, and a strategy of divide and conquer. They believed their motives were noble. By 1700, the Spanish had acquired a vast American empire of extremes: alluring wealth and great poverty.