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Kathleen Tamagawa's¹ memoirHoly Prayers in a Horse's Ear, originally published in , holds a special place in Asian American history. While much less.
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These laws were later used in the new lands. The Laws of Burgos , created in —, were the first codified set of laws governing the behavior of settlers in Spanish colonial America, particularly with regards to Native Americans.

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They forbade the maltreatment of indigenous people, and endorsed their conversion to Catholicism. Emperor Charles V was already using the term " Council of the Indies " in The Crown reserved for itself important tools of intervention. The "capitulacion" clearly stated that the conquered territories belonged to the Crown, not to the individual. On the other hand, concessions allowed the Crown to guide the Companies conquests to certain territories, depending on their interests.

In addition, the leader of the expedition received clear instructions about their duties towards the army, the native population, the type of military action. A written report about the results was mandatory. The army had a royal official, the "veedor". The "veedor" or notary, ensured they complied with orders and instructions and preserved the King's share of the booty.


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Armed groups sought supplies and funds in various ways. Financing was requested from the King, delegates of the Crown, the nobility, rich merchants or the troops themselves. The more professional campaigns were funded by the Crown. Campaigns were sometimes initiated by inexperienced governors, because in Spanish Colonial America , offices were bought or handed to relatives or cronies. Sometimes, an expedition of conquistadors were a group of influential men who had recruited and equipped their fighters, by promising a share of the booty.

The conquistador borrowed as little as possible, preferring to invest all their belongings. Sometimes, every soldier brought his own equipment and supplies, other times the soldiers received gear as an advance from the conquistador. Sponsors included governments, the king, viceroys, and local governors backed by rich men. The contribution of each individual conditioned the subsequent division of the booty, receiving a portion the pawn lancero, piquero, alabardero, rodelero and twice a man on horseback caballero owner of a horse.

Even the dogs, important weapons of war in their own right, were in some cases rewarded. The division of the booty produced conflicts, such as the one between Pizarro and Almagro. Conquistadors had overwhelming military advantages over the native peoples. They belonged to a more militarily advanced civilization with better techniques, tools, firearms, artillery, iron, steel and domesticated animals.

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Horses and mules carried them, pigs fed them and dogs fought for them. The indigenous peoples had the advantage of established settlements, determination to remain independent and large numerical superiority. European diseases and divide and conquer tactics contributed to the defeat of the native populations. In the Iberian peninsula, in a situation of constant conflict, warfare and daily life were strongly interlinked. Small, lightly equipped armies were maintained at all times. The state of war continued intermittently for centuries and created a very warlike culture in Iberia.

Another factor was the ability of the conquistadors to manipulate the political situation between indigenous peoples. To beat the Inca civilization, they supported one side of a civil war.

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They overthrew the Aztec civilization by allying with natives who had been subjugated by more powerful neighbouring tribes and kingdoms. These tactics had been used since antiquity, for example, in the Granada War , the conquest of the Canary Islands and conquest of Navarre.

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The Europeans practiced war within the terms and laws of their concept of a just war. While Spanish soldiers went to the battlefield to kill their enemies, the Aztecs and Mayas captured their enemies for use as sacrificial victims to their gods—a process called " flower war " by Spanish historians.


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In traditional cultures of the Stone Age , Bronze Age , and hunter-gatherer societies the warfare was mostly 'endemic', long duration, low intensity, usually evolving into almost a ritualized form. By contrast, Europe had moved to 'sporadic' warfare in the Middle Ages due to the availability of professionally mercenary armies. Aztec and other native peoples practiced an endemic system of warfare as well, and so were easily defeated by Spanish and Portuguese sporadic-warfare armies in the early s. These forces were capable of quickly moving long distances, allowing a quick return home after battle.

Wars were mainly between clans, expelling intruders. On land, these wars combined some European methods with techniques from Muslim bandits in Al-Andalus. These tactics consisted of small groups who attempted to catch their opponents by surprise, through an ambush. In Mombasa , Dom Vasco da Gama resorted to piracy , looting Arab merchant ships, which were generally unarmed trading vessels without heavy cannons. European conquistadors in the Americas made extensive use of crossbows , with firearms becoming widespread only from the s.

Animals were another important factor for Spanish triumph. On the one hand, the introduction of the horse and other domesticated pack animals allowed them greater mobility unknown to the Indian cultures. However, in the mountains and jungles, the Spaniards were less able to use narrow Amerindian roads and bridges made for pedestrian traffic, which were sometimes no wider than a few feet.

In places such as Argentina , New Mexico and California , the indigenous people learned horsemanship, cattle raising, and sheep herding. The use of the new techniques by indigenous groups later became a disputed factor in native resistance to the colonial and American governments. The Spaniards were also skilled at breeding dogs for war, hunting and protection. The Molossers , Spanish war dogs [] and sheep dogs they used in battle were effective as a psychological weapon against the natives, who, in many cases, had never seen domesticated dogs.

These specially trained dogs were feared because of their strength and ferocity. The strongest big breeds of broad-mouthed dogs were specifically trained for battle. These war dogs were used against barely clothed troops. They were armoured dogs trained to kill and disembowel. The successive expeditions and experience of the Portuguese pilots led to a rapid evolution of Portuguese nautical science. In the thirteenth century they were guided by the sun position.

For celestial navigation like other Europeans, they used Greek tools, like the astrolabe and quadrant , which they made easier and simpler. They also created the cross-staff , or cane of Jacob , for measuring at sea the height of the sun and other stars. The results varied throughout the year, which required corrections.

To address this the Portuguese used the astronomical tables Ephemeris , a precious tool for oceanic navigation, which spread widely in the fifteenth century.

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These tables revolutionized navigation, enabling latitude calculations. The tables of the Almanach Perpetuum , by astronomer Abraham Zacuto , published in Leiria in , were used along with its improved astrolabe, by Vasco da Gama and Pedro Alvares Cabral. The ship that truly launched the first phase of the discoveries along the African coast was the Portuguese caravel. Iberians quickly adopted it for their merchant navy. It was a development based on African fishing boats.

They were agile and easier to navigate, with a tonnage of 50 to tons and one to three masts, with lateen triangular sails allowing luffing. The caravel particularly benefited from a greater capacity to tack.

The limited capacity for cargo and crew were their main drawbacks, but have not hindered its success. Limited crew and cargo space was acceptable, initially, because as exploratory ships, their "cargo" was what was in the explorer's discoveries about a new territory, which only took up the space of one person. Columbus also used them in his travels.

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Long oceanic voyages led to larger ships. Due to the piracy that plagued the coasts, they began to be used in the navy and were provided with cannon windows, which led to the classification of "naus" according to the power of its artillery. The carrack or nau was a three- or four- masted ship.