US monuments to Spanish conquest facing mounting criticism

Public statues and tributes to early Spanish conquerors across the U.S. are facing mounting criticism tied to brutal treatment of American Indians centuries ago by soldiers and missionaries.

Activists are drawing ethical parallels to the national controversy over Confederate monuments.

From California to Florida, historical markers and common-place names trace the path of Spanish conquistadors and missionaries who accompanied them.

Starting in the 1500s, they explored and settled vast tracts of territory inhabited by American Indians in what is now the United States. Few if any monuments have come down.

In northern New Mexico, statues and annual re-enactments recognize Spanish colonizers who quelled uprisings by American Indians and meted out reprisals that included slavery and executions.

In Santa Fe, activists planned to protest Friday's Don Diego de Vargas pageant.