The conquistadors were Spanish and Portuguese soldiers who explored much of the world during the Age of Discovery. They are best remembered for their conquests and exploration of the Americas. Conquistadors like Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro became legendary for their conquests of the Aztec and Inca Empires, honored as national heroes for centuries after their deaths.
In modern times, people have taken a more skeptical view toward the conquistadors, dismissing them as greedy and careless barbarians interested only in gold. While this was true of many of them, the conquistadors were certainly a fascinating lot of adventurers, filled with larger-than-life characters whose dreams, failures, and occasional triumphs—overshadowed by the big, successful names like Cortes and Pizarro—make for some fascinating stories.