Realm of History
Apr 04, · Most conquistadors wore a full set of armor which consisted of a heavy breastplate, arm and leg greaves, a metal skirt, and protection for the neck and throat called a gorget. This national monument celebrates Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a conquistador and settler of the American continent, with authentic re-enactors wearing various outfits of the period. The basic clothing consisted of a shirt, or camisa, a doublet (with or without sleeves), and some sort of pants, breeches, hose, or other covering for the lower body.
When the Spanish conquistadors invaded the New World, they brought with them steel, horses, disease and the element of surprise. All these factors combined to make them successful, but the belief that it was just their superior weaponry responsible for their victory is misplaced. History throws up many great stories of war and conquest, and perhaps none of the stories match up to those of the legendary Spanish conquistadors.
With their superior weapons and firepower, the conquistadors invaded many countries in present day North America and South America, and truly set the ball of imperialism and colonialism rolling in the world. Many sources claim that it is a myth that the famous Spanish conquistadors conquered the lands of the Aztecs and the Incas due to their superior weaponry.
They say that the majority of deaths of the indigenous population occurred because the Europeans got fatal diseases like smallpox with them.
While this is true to a certain extent, it is also a fact that they did possess advanced weapon technology at the time, while the indigenous population had to make do with simple bows and swords to defend themselves.
It is for this reason that small forces of a few hundred or thousand defeated massive native armies that went as high as 50, in some cases. You must remember that in most cases, the conquistadors were not soldiers from what is today gold price in mumbai national armies of these countries.
How to put clock on screensaver mac were simply a collection of mercenaries who set out on these conquests to build their fortunes with the spoils of war.
However, in some cases the national military of a country would descend upon a native country and wage war with them and then claim the land as theirs. The most famous example of this is Hernan Cortes and his army, which was funded by the nation of Spain in their quest to bring the Aztecs down.
Due to this, most of the weapons that are mentioned here were provided for by the conquistadors themselves. The cavalry was the class of soldiers that fought while riding horses, and they were the ones who led battles and indeed, won them.
The aim of common soldiers was to earn enough to get themselves a horse so that they too, could be a part of the cavalry. These horsemen primarily used twelve foot lances and single-handed or double-handed swords when they were atop their steeds, and the swords that were created in Spain at that time were famous for their strength and brutality.
What made the cavalry even more effective was the nature of armor that they donned to protect themselves from attacks and injuries. This armor was what to watch this week on tv created in the Spanish town of Toledo, and it was the strongest armor created at the time, so it literally made them invulnerable.
While the cavalry made up the elite fighters, the foot soldiers provided the numbers that every battling force needs. Since it is hard for a horse rider to shoot a weapon from a moving horse they primarily stuck to lances and swords, but the foot soldiers used weapons that could shoot bullets and arrows. The natives feared these weapons since they had never seen anything like them before and they became very superstitious about weapons that could apparently shoot thunder from them.
But all of these weapons needed to be reloaded from time to time, and this is what made them unpractical for many soldiers.
So many foot soldiers also stuck to short swords that were highly effective. These were some of the popular weapons that were used by these European invaders. Each of them had their own disadvantages too, so the best armies had an equal collection of all these weapon types.
The history of these battles is a rather interesting one, but you must remember that the conquistadors had more than just superior weapons on their side. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies.
It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content Skip to primary sidebar Skip to footer Here is Some Intriguing Info on the Conquistador Weapons When the Spanish conquistadors invaded the New World, they brought with them steel, horses, disease and the element of surprise.
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Feb 03, · For body armor, conquistadors wore a heavy breastplate, greaves for the arms and legs, a metal skirt, and a gorget to protect their necks and throats. Elbows and shoulders were covered with overlapping plates while feet and hands were protected by armored boots and gloves, leaving nearly no vulnerable spots on a conquistador’s body. Thus many of the Spanish adopted the quilted cotton cuirasses (ichcahuipilli) that was the basic armor of the time in Mesoamerica which was (as would be expected) effective against the weaponry of the time and place. This was not solely a matter of comfort (and some Spanish continued to wear breastplates over Mesoamerican- or European-style cotton padding), but also stemmed from a lack of adequate . The morion’s shape is derived from that of an older helmet, the Chapel de Fer, or “Kettle Hat.”. Other sources suggest it was based on Moorish armor and its name is derived from Moro, the Spanish word for Moor. The New Oxford American Dictionary, however, derives it .
After Christopher Columbus discovered the New World in , invasions of islands and empires swiftly gathered pace as Spanish conquistadors arrived to settle and plunder. Conquistadors were not farmers or craftsmen — instead, they were soldiers, explorers, and adventurers in search of enormous wealth.
In their quests for riches and land, they attacked and enslaved native communities and looted gold, silver, or whatever other treasures were available for the taking. What is intriguing is that both of these Spanish explorers had only modest forces that were far outnumbered by the warriors of the empires they conquered.
A key element of the success of all Spanish conquests of the time was their advanced weaponry and fine armor. Spanish conquistadors fell into two types, the cavalry of horsemen or the infantry of foot soldiers, and they all relied on similar weapons.
Cavalrymen were given larger shares of the treasure than infantrymen, and some soldiers would save up to buy horses as an investment in future success during conquests. The cavalrymen typically carried lances and swords. Lances were long wooden spears with end points of iron or steel that could wreak havoc on large crowds of enemy foot soldiers. Swords were used in close combat and were typically three feet long, narrow, and sharp on both sides.
Since the city of Toledo in Spain was one of the best in the world for making weapons and armor, conquistadors highly valued their fine Toledo swords. In fact, the swords were not approved for sale until they were proven to bend in a half-circle and endure forceful impact with a metal helmet.
Toledo swords gave conquistadors such an advantage during conquests that the Spanish made it illegal for natives to possess one.
Infantrymen used Toledo swords to cut down large groups of natives in minutes as they fought on foot. However, they occasionally employed other weapons like an early firearm called a harquebus.
The harquebus was often fired to intimidate native warriors who came to believe that the Spanish could make thunder. It was effective against one opponent, but it was time-consuming to load, heavy to carry, and complicated to fire.
Infantrymen also sometimes used the European crossbow, but it had been designed to defeat armored knights and was awkward and bulky against fast-moving and lightly armed native soldiers. Like the harquebus, the crossbow was time-consuming to load, and it would often break or not work properly. Aside from advanced weaponry, it was also fine armor that helped ensure the success of Spanish conquistadors.
Soldiers were protected by steel from head to foot, making them practically indestructible. In Europe, armored knights had controlled battlefields for hundreds of years, and weapons like the harquebus and crossbow had been constructed over time to pierce armor and ensure defeat.
Natives fighting the conquistadors had never known such weapons, and they were unable to kill many armored cavalrymen or infantrymen in battle with their own primitive weapons.
Pizarro meets with the Inca Emperor Atahualpa, The most well-known piece of conquistador armor was a helmet called a morion. It was crafted from heavy steel with a top crest and curved sides that ended in points. Infantrymen sometimes used a salade , which was a full-face steel helmet with a T-shaped front for the eyes, nose, and mouth.
There was also a much simpler helmet called a cabasset , which covered the ears and head with an almond-shaped steel dome. For body armor, conquistadors wore a heavy breastplate, greaves for the arms and legs, a metal skirt, and a gorget to protect their necks and throats. A full suit of armor weighed about 60 pounds, but because the weight was distributed evenly over the body, it could be worn for long periods without making the wearer tired.
Large shields were not needed in battle, but some conquistadors used a buckler, which was a small round shield made of wood or metal covered in leather. On the other side of the conquest battlefield, the natives were mostly at a loss. They did not have horses, advanced weapons, or full body armor like the Spanish.
Most of the native cultures in North and South America were in between the Stone and Bronze Ages with weaponry, and their foot soldiers carried clubs and maces. Some warriors also had stone axes or spiked clubs, which could not seriously harm or kill a conquistador due to his steel armor.
Aztec warriors fought with the macuahuitl , a wooden sword with obsidian shards on the sides, but it was ineffective against steel. The natives did have some success with missile weapons, using slings to launch stones at the conquistadors. The Aztecs relied on the atlatl , which propelled javelins or darts at enemy soldiers.
Regarding the native armor, it was designed to instill fear in enemies as well as protect warriors — but it was no match for the Spanish steel armor or Toledo swords. Native armor was magnificently decorated and colorful. Aztec warrior societies clad themselves in jaguar skins or eagle feathers, and Incas wore padded armor and used shields and helmets made of wood or bronze.
While certainly appropriate for battle with other tribes, the armor of the natives was ineffective in protecting them from more advanced weapons used in Spanish conquests.
Of course, the success of Spanish conquests in native locations was not due solely to weapons and armor, but they were key elements. Native warriors were fierce and strong, but even in greater numbers than their attackers, they simply lacked the skill and technology to defend themselves fairly.
Spanish conquistadors used this to their advantage, making their invasions much easier and their influence much greater. Also, conquistador success was helped by the diseases they brought to the New World; millions of natives died from smallpox, which they had never been exposed to. We have another story for you: Spanish conquistadors and the stolen treasure of Montezuma.
Spanish conquistadors used advanced weaponry and armor to their advantage. Feb 3, Ian Harvey. Spanish colonization of the Americas.