Migrating through the new ice-free valleys to the edge of North America, 54 million people lived in the 'New World' by the time of European discovery in 1492. Tribes flourished in this new landscape and created a model for sophisticated society. With a global pressure for power and the Portuguese now controlling the Eastern part of the globe, Spain looked west. Christopher Columbus set sail in 1492, coming upon an island in the Bahamas. One century later European adventurers, victims of primogeniture a hunger for new markets, and religious freedom were financed by the Virginia Company to enter the New World. Spanish adventurers in the 16th century were initially violent towards the Native Americans but went on to culturally assimilate, while still economically disregarding them. Taking the same economic steps as the Spanish, the English colonists used force and violence to settle in the New World, economically and culturally ignoring the Native Americans.
Spanish violence towards the native peoples of North America ran throughout the 16th century. 1519: Hernan Cortez set sail from Cuba to Mexico with sixteen ships and two translators that would give him the ability to understand the Natives they would soon come across. They were met by Montezuma, chief of the Aztecs, who treated Cortez and his men well in the beginning but on Noche Triste, June 30, 1520, attacked the Spanish visitors. As retaliation, Cortez seized the Aztecs simultaneously a smallpox epidemic swept through the Mexican valley. The Spanish conquered the Aztecs. Don Juan de Onte led hundreds of men into Pueblo where they brutally abused the Pueblo people in 1598. 1599 was the Battle of Acoma: the Spaniards cut one foot off each survivor after the Battle of Acoma, making it one of the more obvious examples of violence.