How did the rest of South America become Spanish during the 1500s?

As wealth started pouring in from the Americas, the Spanish tried to grab as much of the Western Hemisphere as they could.

Venezuela and Colombia, the northernmost countries of South America, were first colonized in the 1520s. The most powerful native American group in the region, the Chibcha of Colombia, was conquered in 1536-1541 by Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada (1495-1579).

With the neighboring areas of present-day Ecuador and Panama, Venezuela and Colombia became the colony of New Granada. At first attached to Peru, New Granada became a separate viceroyalty in 1717.

The Spanish conquest of what is now Argentina, in the southern half of South America, began with the founding of Buenos Aires in 1536. In 1776, the viceroyalty of La Plata was established, which included Argentina and the neighboring lands that now constitute Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia.

Rivers link the port of Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil. So important is the port, with its bustling trade, that the people of Buenos Aires have historically called themselves portenos, “people of the port.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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