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Spanish Exploration and Conquest

spanish exploration app

Audience: KS3

Subject: History

Topic: Exploration, Conquest, Explorers, New World, Conquistadors

Question: Why did young Spaniards like Pablo Abrantes join voyages of exploration to the New World, which led eventually to the control by Spain of most of South America?

Author: Elizabeth Doyle




This resource is intended to help students investigate the conquest of the South American continent by Spain, and does so by considering the experience of one fictional character, Pablo – a Spanish sailor. Once the ‘narrative’ of the young man’s journey has been established, this focus (on the experience of one young man) could help students to imagine the various reasons why someone could be attracted to such a risky venture. This can then be used as a backdrop to the wider issue of the actions and intentions of the European nations and rulers as a whole. 

As well as the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors which motivated the Spanish to explore, it is hoped that the students will reflect upon the ways that the conquered peoples came to embrace the settlers, and whether or not they could be deemed to have been complicit in their own fate. 

These events provide an important ‘backdrop’ for studies into the various power struggles and political and religious tensions that characterise European History throughout the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. The social, racial and religious factors are also interesting, and the more able students may be able to relate these to other historical scenarios, and perhaps to more contemporary issues and areas for discussion.

This task has three difficulty levels. On 'easy' there are 20 slips, on 'medium' there are 26 slips and on hard, there are 28.

  • Discuss reasons why someone like main character, Pablo, would be attracted to this venture
  • Explore the wider issues of actions/intentions of European nations and rulers as a whole