Rumors of in the Southwestern United States drew an African scout named Estevanico and a Spanish priest named Fray Marcos de Niza on a fruitless search. The priest repeated the story to , an explorer who led a group of Spaniards in 1540 to find the cities. Two years later, they had claimed much of the for Spain, but found no gold.
Under the system, Spanish colonists forced
Indians to learn and to work either on farms, in mines, or on ranches without pay. In 1514, , a priest sent to run an encomienda, chose instead to fight for Indian rights. Due in part to his efforts, in 1542 Spain passed a law requiring the Indians be paid for their work. In 1508, the Spaniards introduced into North America. By 1570, over 200,000 had been enslaved by the Spaniards.
In 1522, Hernando Cortes decided that the time was right to rebuild Tenochtitlan. It became . Like Lima, Peru, it was designed with a main square at the center, a huge cathedral dominating the square, and wide streets leading out, much like the cities of the time.