This page was designed to explain the significance, and history of the conquistador in an effort to clarify why the coquistador was chosen as the mascott of Lambda Theta Phi Fraternidad Latina, Inc. and what the conquistador means to the members of our fraternity.
Lambda Theta Phi Fraternidad Latina, Inc. is a brotherhood established mainly as a support structure for Latino males in a collegiate environment. As college students many of us receive a liberal arts education. History is an integral part of a liberal arts education. Thus as college students, we are also students of history.
History is something that cannot be negated. History is empirical and from it and our mistakes we can learn. The "Conquest" and the Conquistadores are undoubtedly historical. More images.
However, "Conquistadores" and "conquistadores" are two very different things. There are two meanings "Conquistador" (historical) and "conquistador" (literal). The latter we adhere to.
What is a "conquistador"?
The word "conquistador" literally translated means "conqueror". A dictionary defines "conqueror" as "one who conquers" or "one who overcomes or surmounts".
Who is a "conquistador"?
A conquistador can imply several things. A young Latino whom struggles to survive in a harsh environment but overcomes and goes on to college is a conquistador. A Latino whom struggles but overcomes a process and becomes a brother of Lambda Theta Phi is a conquistador. Any Latino whom struggles for years in a collegiate environment through hard work, adversity and discrimination but overcomes is called a college graduate or as we call him, a conquistador.
What is a "Conquistador"?
A Conquistador is an historical figure associated with the conquest of the "Americas". These men were mercenaries of the Spanish Monarchy. These men are responsible for the near extermination of the native peoples of the Caribbean and responsible for the mass genocide of the native peoples of the Southwestern United States, Mexico, Central and South America. These men were thieves, rapists, murderers, and looters (click here to see more images) with few if any morals and/or education.
What did the Conquistadores do?
The Conquistadores were Iberian men who came to the "new world" in search of social and economic advancement. They were generally men whom had not inherited any type of money and they saw the new world as their only option for succeeding socially and economically in their society. This desire to make money led the Conquistadores to inhumane attitudes.
There were many such attitudes, one of the first things the Conquistadores would do when they were approaching an Indian village would be to yell in Spanish to bring a certain amount of gold to them or else they had the "right" to raid the village
and kill and/or destroy anyone or anything.
The natives would obviously not understand the message and probably did not have the gold. So, these types of slaughters were common. The Spanish grew so accustomed to killing people, that according to Spanish Priests killing became mundane to the Conquistadores.
The Spanish Crown’s soldiers beginning with Christopher Columbus started the trans-Atlantic teenage female sex trade. That is, they would capture infant Indian girls in the "Americas" and take them to Europe where they would be sold as prostitutes. The Spanish also began the Indian slave trade. The main purpose was to take Indians from México, Central and South América to the Caribbean where they would be used as laborers in the mines or fields.
The Spanish needed more workers in the Caribbean because they nearly exterminated the population in a few years due to disease, bad working conditions, long work "shifts", and murder. The Spanish prefered Indians for slaves because they were free as opposed to the African slaves, which had to be bought. Spanish accounts mention that on their ocean voyage from one "Spanish territory" to another, so many Indians died that other ships did not need a map to get from one Spanish territory to another, one had to only follow the trail of dead bodies floating in the water to get there.
One of the first things Europeans did upon their arrival to the Americas was to dig for gold. They would do this for weeks or months (i.e. until they ran out of supplies). Then they would go rob the Indians of their food because the Europeans were starving. Not satisfied with little food, and little if any gold, they would start raiding villages for slaves to work in their mines. Click here to see more images.
The Conquistadores would set quotas of how much gold each Indian had to bring and if these were not met their hands would be cut off in order to "teach" the rest a lesson. Another method used by the Conquistadores to get gold would be to burn people’s feet. If a certain Indian was not giving the Conquistadores gold or "not enough" they would burn his/her feet, until the marrow began to drip out. Often the tribes had no gold and often they did not know what the Spanish wanted. In either case people would be tortured to death for gold.
If a tribe were to defy the Conquistadores they would pay severely. People could be pushed into a dagger and spike filled pit, to their deaths. In other cases the Spanish would tie-up whole tribes for days at the time, with no food or water and at the end of that time period the Indians would be let loose only to kill and/or eat each other. The Conquistadores, of course, aided their "cannibalism" by cutting up Indians and feeding the pieces to those Indians still alive. After days of no food, the Indians would often eat. In other cases the whole
tribe would be hung and/or burnt and the infants would often be killed and fed to the Conquistadores' dogs.
We as brothers of Lambda Theta Phi do not associate with these historical figures. As educated Latino men it would be at best hypocritical to do so. Doing so is inexcusable, because the "Conquest" was as deadly, and painful as the Holocaust, perhaps even more so. Click here for more images.
Why we adhere to the literal meaning.
There are multiple reasons why we adhere to the literal meaning of the word "conquistador". One is that as Latinos in a collegiate setting one of our main goals is to conquer and get a college degree, conquer your education through adversity, conquer through discrimination that is why we consider our selves conquistadores. Our pledges are called conquistadores because they need to conquer a process in order to become brothers of Lambda Theta Phi, Fraternidad Latina, Incorporada. Most importantly, our ruling body, the national board is opposed to the historical meaning and they have clearly stated that to our chapter and our fraternity.