After Columbus came conquest--from all corners of the world, explorers reached the shores of the New World to reap untold riches, seek new routes to the Far East, and gain the most elusive glory of all--a place in history.
"I know plenty of individuals will be enraged upon viewing "Conquest of America", as it depicts Europeans tromping through the New World, slaughtering innocent indigenous persons and their cultures. I agree that much of what occurred in the process of European colonization of the Americas was lamentable.
Still, all socio-political naysaying aside, this documentary did indeed inform me of many aspects of the history of America's being settled. For instance, I'd not been aware that hapless Henry Hudson was a victim of mutiny who perished on a tiny forzen boat somewhere in the massive Canadian bay that is nmed in his honor. Or that the present state of Florida had been such a bone of contention between the French and Spanish Empires.
The re-enactments are very well-done and believable. One gets a real feel for the historical settings, intrigues, and characters, rather than the sense that one sits there thinking "Okay, now I'm watching a historical recreation".
Overall, well done and relatively engaging and informational. It would be a very good reasource particularly for junior and senior high school history teachers, I should think, who are instructing on the history of the United States and exploration."
Conquest of America
M. Micks | Minneapolis, MN | 06/11/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Good, but not comprehensive. There was nothing about Columbus, Cortez, Pizarro, etc. It only covered Coronado, Hudson, St Augustine/Fort Caroline, and the Russians in the NW."
The conquerors of America will conquer your heart.
Rhett D. Sorensen | Provo, Ut USA | 07/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ok maybe not. I really enjoyed 3 of the 4 episodes of this series. The only one I really did not care for was the conquest of the South-West. Not that it wasn't well done, because it was. It was just a piece of the history of the South-West that does not seem to have had all that much impact. The South-East (Spanish vs French) was a pretty entertaining and informative episode. I also very much enjoyed the North-West episode and the Russians encroachment on what the Spanish believed was rightfully theirs. Hudson and the North-East was also enjoyable. I learned more about Hudson in that 45 minutes than all the history classes I have ever taken combined. Altogether I found them all well made, and all but one of them was well worth watching and owning. I learned a lot from all of them, combine that with top notch production and great dramatizations and we have a winner. Nice solid piece to add to your history channel collection."
Conquest of America
Mr. M | Rego Park, NY | 11/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a junior high history teacher and this video was an excellent way for my 7th and 8th graders to get a visual sense of that time period. As always the quality of The History Channel productions was evident throughout all aspects of the film."
Conquest of North America, in chunks and fragments...
ThomasH | Santa Clara, CA USA | 04/21/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"We have mixed feelings about this 4 episodes series on 2 DVD's. Good idea, lots a of effort in costumes and recreations, and yet so inadequate and arbitrary! In some cases the series carries very judgmental opinions about people and events. We also second the observations of others here that the title is misleading: Its the "Conquest of North America," the most dramatic, history changing events in the Mezzo- and South-America are not the subject of these stories at all. Of course it is very commendable that representatives of Native Americans have participated, and could voice their opinions about the conquest of their country. Let me express our detailed opinion of what appears so improper on this production:
1) Southwest: Reduced to one expedition of Coronado, but the expedition in itself has had only a marginal impact on the conquest. I would hoped to see this expedition reduced to mere 10min, and rather be told how what is now South US and North Mexico was formed! It is a story of an epic resitance, holding off Spanish for nearly a century.
2) Southeast: Focused on early French attempts to settle down in Florida (Ribault) in the context of religious wars of Europe and sanctioned piracy against the Spanish in the Atlantic. I think that most historians will indeed agree that the fate of French settlers has had a macro historical impact, because it kept everybody else out of Florida for a long time. I second the opinion that we should not be too quick in condemning Menendez for executing all captured French: Their own lack of discipline and attempts of piracy in Caribbean has betrayed their presence in Florida. And so Ribault and Menendez clashed. But here again, is this really all what is to say about South East? What about Louisiana? What about Jolliet and Mississippi? What happened to the north of Florida?
3) Northeast: Clearly the weakest of them all, reduced to Hudson's expeditions, of which the most were not in America, but rather north of Russia! Hudson (and his fate) should be a marginal mentioning of no more than 5-10min, the rest should rather start with Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot) of course, and be focused on climactic events and wars between English, Dutch, Swedish and French. Where is Adriaen Block? What about the famous Peter Minuit and his now legendary purchase of Manhattan, not to talk about the New Sweden, also founded by Minuit's expedition? Another famous name: Peter Stuyvesant, not even mentioned? Jacques Cartier, please, the one who named Canada, what about his fantastic voyages? Louis Jolliet, north and south, please? William Penn, the name giver to Pennsylvania? The list could grow even longer.
My point is, losing 85% of time on Hudson's sails alongside of Siberia is hardly an event in "Conquest of America". This chapter gets Zero Stars! Even if forced to select only a few climactic events and characters, I would rather see the expeditions and founding of colonies, and not to see Mr. Hudson struggling with his mind and controlling his starving crew.
4) Northwest: In some aspects this is probably the best of the chapters, showing the less known period of Russian encroachment on the Spanish possessions in the South, starting with expeditions of Bering. In this chapter, Bering expedition was luckily only a small part of the story, and this is precisely how the North East should have been showed as well. Objectionable are some appearances of present day scholars and their opinions. We were all quite astonished that the Russian statesman Rezanov, who was as we can see on portraits a handsome man, who ventured to California with the goal of establishing trade agreement for his troubled colonists in Alaska and wanted marry daughter of the comandante of San Francisco, Don José Darío Argüello, was called by one of the (female) speakers as "pervert interested in young girls." In fact, we found the story as touching as the one of Romeo and Juliet. This person speaking on behalf of History Channel should reevaluate her scientific charter and obligation to keep her private opinion at bay.
All in all, of course we can only congratulate History Channel on such undertakings, they wake fascination with history to many people. But we cannot help ourselves to be disappointed in many aspects of this production, and even wish that these episodes would be rewritten and released with a better content."