The crusading spirit of the Spanish was seeking new victims and new riches to plunder following the expulsion of the Moors from the Hiberian peninsula. The warring classes of the era were jobless, in the modern sense of the term, once the task of eradicating Muslim presence in Spain was realized. The discovery of the Americas by Columbus could not have come at a better time to fuel and encourage their brutal ardor for wealth and conquest.
Conquistadores, as these warriors and their followers were called, are the main destroyers of mesoamerican culture and the native traditions that were erased through common work of the Catholic church and the Spanish authorities. Their legacy is still alive today in the inequalities, social tensions, and disparities in development seen in many parts of Latin America.