Comparison between cortes indigenous accounts

Comparison between cortes indigenous accounts - Prior to...

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Prior to the Conquest of Tenochtitlan A Comparison Between Cortes and Indigenous Accounts In the description of the conquest of Tenochtitlan, Hernan Cortés’s account of the conquest is similar, but also different then the account told by the Nuhautl speaking natives. Hernan Cortes describes his conquests of Mexico and the Mexican people through letters to the Royal Emperor of Spain Charles V. He explains to his king that he is doing all he can to teach the Indians in the New World Christianity. He tells tales of the grandeur of the cities and the great wealth that the cities possessed. He describes the gifts given to him by the natives and how they greeted him. He also writes about the king Motecuhzoma. He learns from other natives that this king is control of a very powerful and rich city. He also learns that Motecuhzoma is treacherous and traitorous and that he cannot be trusted. He explains how Motecuhzoma and his allies ambushed his peaceful journey of the New World. 1 This is contrary to the tales told by indigenous people. Their stories describe the Spanish as vicious people or even gods that disgraced the religious idles of the Mexica. The differences in the two works is that Cortes always reports that the natives attack the Spanish first, while the indigenous people tell tales of the Spanish starting conflict by slaughtering unarmed men. The two works describe similar historic events, while evaluating the other culture in a different way. Cortes first learned of Motecuhzoma and the Mexicas through locals expressing tales of his great dominion. Cortés’s first interaction with Motecuhzoma was through Motecuhzoma’s messengers. Cortes tells his king how he was greeted by the messengers 1 Hernan Cortez, Letters from Mexico , (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986), 72.
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with many gifts and that he, in return, gave the messengers gifts from Spain. 2 However, the messengers, according to the natives in The Broken Spears , were captured and kept hostage by Cortes. The indigenous people explain that after the gifts were given by the messengers, “[Cortes] gave orders, and the messengers were chained by the feet and by the neck. When this had been done, the great cannon was fired off. The messengers lost their senses and fainted away.” 3 According to The Broken Spears , the messengers were intimidated and used to show Motecuhzoma of the Spaniards power. Cortes, however, does not tell of any of this behavior in his report to his king. As the Spanish marched inland, they came in contact with people of the city-state
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This note was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course HIST 187 taught by Professor Suarez-potts during the Fall '06 term at Kenyon.

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Comparison between cortes indigenous accounts - Prior to...

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