Lesson 1 (from Lust for Gold, Lust for Silver)
In this lesson, examine the beginnings of the invasion of Latin America. The Spanish were looking for alternate trade routes and accidentally discovered America. Though the invaders were primarily driven by monetary gain, whenever consciences pricked them they declared Christianity the reason for their presence: they were attempting to save the savages' souls. The native people were defeated by the invaders' gunpowder and weaponry, but mostly by the diseases they brought with them.
1) Class Discussion: What factors led Spain to finance Columbus's expedition? What was he hoping to find? Where did he actually land?
2) Class Activity: Make a list of political events in Spain at this time period. How do these factors contribute to the events leading up to Columbus's discovery?
3) Small Group Discussion: What is the myth of El Dorado? Where did this idea come from? How did the gold fever affect the conquistadors...
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