Mexico's president has asked Spain and the Vatican to apologize for the conquest of the Americas.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he sent a letter to King Felipe VI of Spain and Pope Francis over what he called an "invasion" and the "many misdeeds that were committed."

Lopez Obrador says there were "killings, impositions," and "the so-called conquest was carried out with the sword and the cross." He asks for an apology to "the original peoples for the violations of what are now known to be human rights."

The Spanish government issued a statement later Monday regretting that the March 1 letter had been made public and rejecting its content "with all firmness."

It said deeds from 500 years ago "cannot be judged in the light of contemporary considerations."