Imperialism In South America
Monetary rewards, such as gold, money, land, or slaves were one of the three main factors that motivated Spanish imperialism in South America in the early to mid 1500s. It, along with greed for glory, and faithfulness to God, influenced the Spanish warriors in South America to conquer as much land as possible, and settle it, creating civilizations.
The warriors may have envisioned themselves making money or earning monetary possessions in any number of ways. Pay may have been one of them. Spanish warriors had seen past expeditions return successfully and be rewarded by the king. South America was land that had never before been seen, and was a whole new horizon to explore. They believed it had great potential to earn them a reward.
The seeking of treasures also played a major role in persuading the Spanish warriors to go through with these expeditions. In the past, Cortes and Pizarro had been to South America, and had looted and pillaged, returning with substantial amounts of gold, silver, and money. Although most Spanish explorers were convinced that they, too, would find treasure, most did not. These, such as Ponce de Leon, de Coronado, Narvaez, and De Soto, returned unsuccessful in finding anything of great value.
Spanish warriors may also have conquered for land grants. If they had led a successful expedition and discovered new land, they may have been granted a large plot that of land, usually measuring many hundreds of square miles. These plots of land, after being developed, were called encomiendas, or fiefs, and the owner would divide his land among others, who would then be attached to their segment of land. Being on land which is under one's own responsibility is something many warriors strived for; it would be another reason for one to uncover and conquer new territory.
Having slaves was an additional motive behind the Spanish Imperialism in South America. People knew that when they conquered the natives of a land, the natives would become slaves to them. Since the Spaniards did not know that the Indians were such terrible workers, they fought hard so that they would have them as slaves. Furthermore, on an encomienda, lesser nobles were attached to the land that the greater nobles above them owned. Thus, in a sense, the greater nobles had workers. With these lesser nobles managing small plots of their land, they could produce more from the land, and manage it better, in effect making more money.
Overall, gold, money and other monetary reward was a major factor pushing the Spaniards to conquer. Most of the Spaniards believed that this imperialism was an outstanding opportunity for great riches, so they worked hard to conquer. Money, land, and slaves were powerful possessions.