Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
An encomendero is the Spanish-language name for a conquistador who was given an encomienda grant over a part of the Spanish conquest of Latin America. Many times, the land grant was already settled by indigenous people. When this happened, the encomendero was expected to care for the natives who lived there. However, most of the encomenderos greedily took advantage of the people already living there. They used their influence and power as encomenderos and land owners to seize more lands from the natives, increase taxes, and demand more for labor. Also, their presence led to more spreading of European diseases like smallpox among the natives, which thinned their population even more. This exploitation of the indigenous natives and the other negative influences of the European presence of encomenderos were some of the factors that led to the breakdown of the entire encomienda system.
The etymology of encomienda and encomendero lies in the Spanish verb encomendar, "to entrust".
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details