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Conquistadors: The Rise and Fall, April 25, 2024, Nat Geo, “The Black Legend”

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Conquistadors

Conquistadors: The Rise and Fall airs its second episode of the evening, “The Black Legend,” airing on National Geographic on April 25, 2024. The episode explores the birth of the ‘Black Legend’, a term used to describe the negative portrayal of Spain and Spaniards, which brought an end to the era of Conquistadors.

The legend was born out of jealousy and disdain as other European rulers resented Spain’s newfound wealth and violent practices in the Americas. This anti-Spanish narrative was propagated by rival powers such as England and the Netherlands, who sought to depict the Spanish as unusually cruel and bloodthirsty.

The Black Legend was not without basis in reality. The Spanish conquest of the Aztec and Inca empires, led by Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro respectively, resulted in the subjection and subjugation of indigenous populations. The episode delves into the ruthless ambitions of these conquistadors and the impact of their conquests on the indigenous civilisations.

The legend also stems from the Spanish Inquisition, with critics pointing to the torture of natives in their determination to find gold. The engraving by Theodor de Bry, depicting conquistadors torturing natives, is an example of the propaganda used to shape public opinion against the Spanish Empire.

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As the legend grew, it fuelled a sense of self-doubt and guilt among Spaniards, leading to a desire to reclaim their country’s past from distorted propaganda. The episode examines the efforts of modern-day Spaniards to restore pride in their history and dispel the negative stereotypes associated with the Black Legend.

Conquistadors: The Rise and Fall airs on National Geographic at 10.00 pm on Thursday, April 25, 2024.


Hey there! I'm Riley, the US TV Previews editor at memorabletv.com. I may have failed as a musician, but my love for Jeopardy knows no bounds. And let me tell you, The Wire is hands down the greatest TV show ever made. I've been writing about the entertainment biz since (mumble mumble). Stay tuned for all the latest TV news and previews!

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