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A Comparative Analysis of Spanish Conquistadors and French Explorers

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When comparing relations between the native populations of the “New World “ and the French Explorers as well as Spanish Conquistadors , one needs to look no further than historical accounts dating back to the time period. In short, the relationship between the “native populations” in the New World” and the arriving Spanish Conquistadors was brutal, inhumane and genocidal to say the least. Some instances of these sheer cruelties were highlighted in the “Letter from Hernando Pizarro to the Royal Audience of Santo Domingo” where Pizarro’s letter reveals that, his men opened fire on unsuspecting and unarmed Incan Natives. As highlighted in the letter, “the captain of the artillery that when a sign was given, he should discharge the pieces and all troops come forth at once……Once this was done all were defeated without the danger to any Christian” (action was nothing short of a public execution/Genocide of the Incan Empire). (Pizarro, H. (1533). Letter from Hernando Pizarro to the Royal Audience of Santo Domingo, [Letter to Royal Audience of Santo Domingo]. Cuzco. Furthermore, Historical records tell us that, the Spanish murdered Atahualpa paving the way for Spanish Colonization in South America.

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The French explorers on the other hand were not Conquistadors like the Spanish but were instead a highly peaceful people only seeking to “learn” and “explore” the rich culture as well as vast lands the interior of North America had to offer. Due to their peacefulness they were welcomed in by the natives as highlighted in a letter from Jacques Cartier to the French King, Cartier reveal that upon arrival, “A great numbers of villages gave us a hearty welcome and that the women/girls of the villages were rather intrigued by their presences touching their faces & upper bodies and gave then permission to touch/hold their babies ” (Cartier, J. (n.d.). Jacques Cartier to the French King, on his second voyage to the St. Lawrence River & Interior of Canada [Letter to French King].

The key difference between both the Spanish Conquers & French Explorers was sheer intention. The Spanish came with the intent to search and plunder the New World of Precious Metals (Gold & Silver). However, when the Spanish did not find a significant supply of either metal, they began to turn their attention towards converting the natives to Christianity (religious crusade). The French Explorers however, had no agenda with regards to the hoarding of Gold& Silver but were just interested in exploring, learning about the cultures, people terrain. French Explorers were interested in the Fur trade with Native Indians and exported many goods from North America. However, French exploration fell upon the shoulder of a much smaller group of men, explorers because there was far less involvement from the French Government then there was with regards to the Spanish government (which often funded any/all expeditions to the “New World”

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A Comparative Analysis of Spanish Conquistadors and French Explorers. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 30, 2023, from
“A Comparative Analysis of Spanish Conquistadors and French Explorers.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022,
A Comparative Analysis of Spanish Conquistadors and French Explorers. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 Sept. 2023].
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