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404 Illustrated girl holding a branch with a squirrel on top

After several unsuccessful expeditions he gained the confit

dance of theEmperor, Charles V of Spain, from whom he received support in exchange for

one-fifth of all the treasure Pizarro discovered. In 1531 the conquistador set out with

several hundred men and discovered the Inca civilization in Peru. He overwhelmed all

resistance, murdered the Emperor, Atahuallpa, and made off with a fortune in gold and

silver. These discoveries and the mines that produced such wealth enriched Spain and

financed its expansion as the powerhouse of Europe, but the infusion of so much wealth

into Spain also brought about info ation thatdrove the price of goods upward to umpire

cemented levels. Spaniards swarmed over the Americas. In 1565 the Spanish monarch sent

Pedro Menéndez de Aviles to establish settlements along the North American coast. In

September of that year Menéndez founders. Augustine in what is now Florida. It was the

first permanent European settlement in North America. Colonies were also established

in the Caribbean, and in Central and South America, with viceroys appointed to represent

the monarch and administer these colonies. But absolute authority resided in the king, who

ruled through the Council of the Indies in Spain. The council members nominated officials

and drafted the laws and rules by which the colonies were to be governed. Spanish society

in the Americas consisted of several ranks. Those in the highest rank had been born in

Spain and were called peninsulas. Next came those born in America of Spanish parents.