Blood and gold: the Spanish conquest of the Americas

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The brutal invasion of the Americas by Spain, Portugal and others represented a clash between two modes of production: capitalism, in its very earliest stages; and that of the Mesoamerican world, with all of its peculiarities. The great civilisations of pre-Hispanic America were sacrificed to feed the burgeoning primitive accumulation of the capitalist system, with the majority of the local populations wiped out by musket fire, sabres and disease.

The conquistadors went on to rule with an iron fist, with countless thousands of indigenous peoples perishing in conditions of slave labour. This discussion will present a Marxist perspective on these events, and how they factor into the history of capitalism a system that erupted onto the scene leaking blood and dirt from every pore.

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