The Spanish conquest of the Americas was one of the most brutal episodes in human history. Entire cultures of American natives were suppressed, murdered, raped, and enslaved by Spanish conquistadors on an incessant quest for precious metals and other material wealth. The devastation wrought upon the natives was so great that some Spaniards felt that what they were doing violated God's will and was naturally and morally wrong, but they were vastly outnumbered. The majority saw it as their right, duty, and privilege to conquer and subject these millions of people to Spanish rule. Since they were trying to justify their case to sovereigns and a public that were thousands of miles away, they had to convey their reports regarding the natives in a favorable light. This often resulted in grossly exaggerated or even outright false reports regarding the behavior and customs of the natives. The conquistadors were eager to prove that what they were perpetrating on the natives was in fact completely justified and morally acceptable. As a result, the Spanish conquistadors dehumanized and demeaned the natives in their accounts of the conquest with the goal of making their actions seem justified and morally correct.
""What Good Can There Be In This Kind of Human?" Spanish Justification for the Conquest of the Americas,"
The Gettysburg Historical Journal: Vol. 7
, Article 7.
Available at: https://cupola.gettysburg.edu/ghj/vol7/iss1/7