The Spanish and Portuguese gentlemen who departed the Iberian Peninsula in the 16th century to conquer new lands for church and crown had very good reasons to leave. Generally, they were second, third, and fourth sons of aristocrats. Because of the rules of primogeniture, only the first son could inherit his father’s estate. This meant that second, third and fourths sons were left to gain fame and fortune on their own. Because they were from noble families, and because Spain and Portugal had been at war against the Moors for 700 years, these young aristocrats had received extensive training in weapons and warfare.
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