Spanish conquistadors fought and explored their way through the Americas in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. In their wake, they left destroyed empires and millions of lives lost. But beyond the pure number of people slain, what is most disturbing are the horrific ways conquistadors murdered the native population.
While the ways conquistadors killed people were no doubt brutal, many historians argue that some of the most extreme elements may have been exaggerated as part of an anti-Spanish smear campaign known as the Black Legend. Nonetheless, there is no doubt among historians that the Spanish conquistadors ruthlessly slaughtered millions of native people.