First Contact: Spain and the Conquest of the New World

Damian Tyler

At the very end of the middle ages the Spanish ‘discovered’ a ‘New World’ in the Americas. Though ‘New’ to Europeans, the American continent had been inhabited for millennia, and there was a long tradition of civilized life in parts of Central and South America. Within half a century Spanish explorers, colonists and conquistadores had encountered and destroyed three advanced civilizations – the Mexica (better known as the Aztecs), the Maya and the Incas. This course compares and contrasts Spain and the three American civilizations on the eve of first contact, then traces the history of these contacts and considers the factors which enabled tiny groups of Europeans to conquer, overwhelm and ultimately destroy great, powerful and populous civilizations.

Recommended reading
No supplementary reading is necessary for this course, but those wishing to investigate more deeply might look at the following:

M. D. Coe, The Maya, Thames and Hudson, 2015.

R. F. Townsend, The Aztecs, Thames and Hudson, 2010.

T. N. D’Altroy, The Incas, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.

Day:  Friday  Time: 11.00-13.00

5 week course: A block of four weeks 2 March 18 to 23 March 18, followed by a one week gap for Easter, then after Easter 6 April 18

The Library,
St Peter’s House,
Oxford Road (Precinct Centre),
M13 9GH

Price Concessions Minimum No. Maximum No.
£50 n/a 8 14

To book, complete the MANCENT booking form and send it with payment to

Dr Damian J. Tyler, 63 Cuckoo Lane, Whitefield, Manchester, M45 6WD Email: