Portuguese Exploration and Spanish Conquest

Review Questions

Which country initiated the era of Atlantic exploration?

  1. France
  2. Spain
  3. England
  4. Portugal



Which country established the first colonies in the Americas?

  1. England
  2. Portugal
  3. Spain
  4. the Netherlands



Where did Christopher Columbus first land?

  1. Hispaniola
  2. the Bahamas
  3. Jamestown
  4. Mexico



Why did the authors of probanzas de méritos choose to write in the way that they did? What should we consider when we interpret these documents today?


Probanzas de méritos featured glowing descriptions of lands of plenty. The Spanish explorers hoped to find cities of gold, so they made their discoveries sound as wonderful as possible in these letters to convince the Spanish crown to fund more voyages. When we read them now, we need to take the descriptions with a grain of salt. But we can also fact-check these descriptions, whereas the Spanish court could only take them at face value.