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Posted on September 11th, 2012, by

The development of Spanish and Portuguese empires was accompanied by considerable progress in economic and political influence of both empires in the world. The territorial expansion became a characteristic of both empires at the epoch. The expansionist trends of Spanish and Portuguese empires could be clearly seen not only from their official policies and colonization of new territories worldwide, but also from paintings and art of that epoch. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the 16th century painting “Entrance of Cortes La Conquista de Mexico”¯, which mirrors the policy of the Spanish Empire in the New World.

In fact, the painting is a typical work of art of that epoch, epoch the beginning of the 16th century was marked by the conquest of America and occupation of territories, which historically belonged to the native population of America. At the same time, Spanish conquistadors, which are in the focus of attention of the artist, faced a severe resistance from the part of the local population, especially from the part of Aztecs, whose empire used to be the major power in the Central America. This is why the painting “Entrance of Cortes La Conquista de Mexico”¯ depicts an important episode, which perfectly characterizes the policy of the Spanish Empire at the epoch.

To put it more precisely, the painting depicts the battle between the army of Cortes with indigenous army of Aztecs. In fact, it is the battle at Tabasco, which played an important role in the invasion of the Aztec Empire by the Spanish army. At the same time, the painting depicts an obvious advantage of Spanish army over disorganized and poorly equipped troops of Aztecs. In such a way, the painting proves that the Spanish army was a leading military power at the epoch. Spanish conquistadors are in full armor and on horsebacks. Their ammunition protects them from primitive weapon of Indians, who are almost naked and unprotected in face of perfectly equipped army of Spaniards.

Obviously, the military advantage of the Spanish allowed the Spanish Empire to conquest easily huge territories in America, as well as in other parts of the world, where the population had poorly developed technologies and did not have armies able to struggle with the well-trained and perfectly equipped Spanish army. In fact, the dominance of cavalry in the Spanish reveals the fact that it is mainly the nobility of Spain that participated in the military campaigns and constituted the main military force of the Spanish Empire. It proves beyond a doubt that it is only noblemen, who were reach enough, could afford buying horses, armors and weapon at the epoch. At the same time, the nobility of Spain was traditionally oriented on the war, as the only activity Spanish noblemen were living for and they considered the war to be worthy of a nobleman.

In addition, the Spanish aristocracy needed the invasion badly because they considered land to be the main value which defined their social status and position in Spanish society. In such a way, the painting “Entrance of Cortes La Conquista de Mexico”¯ shows that those noblemen were ready to destroy indigenous armies to conquest the new territory and get the glory and recognition of their bravery and courage in Spain.

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