English Across the Curriculum
During the early 1500s Spanish explorers travelled across most of Central and South America. They founded colonies and brought settlers to the New World. They also made the native Indians work for them. The Spaniards brought new products to the Americas ,like wheat, horses, cattle and sheep. In exchange , they grew plants that were not known in Europe, like corn and potatoes and brought them back to the Old Continent.
In 1513 the Spanish explorer Vasco de Balboa landed in Panama, the part of Central America that is very narrow. With his men, he fought his way through 50 miles of jungle and was surprised to see a new sea , the Pacific Ocean.
One of the most important Spanish conquistadors was Hernando Cortes. He conquered the Aztec empire in 1521. In 1532 and 1533 Francisco Pizarro conquered the Incas. These natives ruled an empire that expanded from Columbia to the northern parts of Argentina. The Incas had great riches, vast amounts of gold and silver. When the Spanish got there they took all of it away from the Incas.