The Way of the Conquistador
The New World was opened up to Spain just in the nick of time. Like much of Europe, that nation was dominated by primogeniture, meaning that the first son in a family would inherit all titles and property upon the death of the father. This cramped the style of younger sons, who were left to fend for themselves. The problem was that Spain, in effect, had been all used up—all titles were taken, all property was claimed. For the lower classes, prospects were (as they always are) even more limited. The New World represented a new chance, offering a world of opportunity.