Huelva, Spain and the Quest for Western Lands

Christopher Columbus set out from Huelva, on Spain’s southwest coast, in 1492 in a quest to chart unknown lands with hoped-for riches. With him he brought three ships and a cultural impact that changed the world forever in the space of thirty years. Huelva and its surrounding reveal a wealth of cultural and historical influences, from Romans through Moors to Spaniards, from technology to disease, through (perhaps) Italians and (perhaps) Portuguese ancestry that Columbus and subsequent would-be conquerors carried with them. They would transform the Americas into a European province.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about the impact of Christopher Columbus’s voyages to the Americas.

Social Studies Standards

Time, Continuity, & Change A, B, C, E

Discussion Prompts

  • Discuss all the changes that happened in 1492 in the Iberian Peninsula. Where else in the world have similar changes happened? Compare and contrast changes and governments.
  • Talk about the domination of the Moorish culture in today’s Spain and how Cordova became the cultural center of the Western world. Why is it important?
  • What is your opinion on the imposed regulations, laws of the Indies, controlling the development of the towns in the newfound places? What are the pros and cons of these regulations and laws?
  • What are some of the examples you see in this documentary that are similar to or explain some of the events that have happened historically in your region?

Lesson Activities

  • Create a mural depicting the Spaniards’ religious representations (Islamic, Christian and Jewish) in the video.
  • Why, in your opinion, was it important to enforce the Laws of the Indies in all the other areas that the conquistadores arrived. Remember, no Google, cameras, etc. Create a spoken word poem that will address how they enforced this rule.
  • Imagine, create, and illustrate a billboard of the different challenges Christopher Columbus might have encountered while traveling from Italy to Spain and the Americas.
  • Select at least one important type of music today that exhibits the intercultural exchange of the Islamic, Jewish, and Spaniard cultures. Explain and justify why it is important.
  • Carlos Quintero, the historian, talks about how different the Americas would be if the Conquistadores were Anglo-Saxons or Northern Europeans. Imagine this happening and create a list of at least three events cited by the historian and the possible changes that would have occurred if the conquistadores were Anglo-Saxons. Share it visually, digitally, or orally.


  • Alhambra
  • codified
  • domination
  • impose
  • Islamic
  • mestizaje
  • obligation
  • outcropping
  • propitious
  • shrine


In the Americas Season 10 Lesson Episode 8