aztec - Gustavo Costa HSS2-H Prof. Schultz 2/20/07 Cultural...

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Gustavo Costa HSS2-H Prof. Schultz 2/20/07 Cultural Conditioning and The Conquest of the New World The textual history behind the European conquest of the New World is a conglomeration of disparate accounts and obscured facts. When speaking of the conquest of the western world, it is important to take into account the differing descriptions of what exactly happened. Miguel Leon-Portilla’s Broken Spears and Christopher Columbus’s Concerning the Islands Recently Discovered in the Indian Sea provide two different perspectives to similar historical events. Comparison of these two texts clearly delineates the details of how these two perspectives differ. The Spaniards come from a culture that differed drastically from that of the natives and were therefore subject to different degree of conditioning throughout their lives. It is from this difference in cultural conditioning that the disparate accounts of the Conquest are stemmed. Cultural conditioning also accounts for the differences between how each text legitimacy. The two texts to be compared, Leon-Portilla’s The Broken Spears and Christopher Columbus’s Concerning the Islands Recently Discovered in the Indian Sea , are textual documentations of two distinct yet very similar events. Both texts are entirely concerned with the subject of Spanish Conquest of the newly discovered western world. What makes the comparison of these two texts so relevant is the perspectives from which they written. The Broken Spears tells of the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes. Similarly, Columbus’s letter to the Spanish government tells of his own conquest of inhabited lands along the Caribbean. However, The Broken Spears presents the event from the perspective of the indigenous people. Leon-Portilla and the Aztecs
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present the Spanish arrival in much differently then Columbus. Many of these disparities sprout from the nature of the author and his motives for writing the respective texts. Columbus’s letter was in effect an update of his voyage for the Spanish court. The letter does no more than convey the findings of a study. Accordingly, the letter has a descriptive, objective tone. Columbus’s concern in writing this letter is mainly in conveying his findings back to his superiors. When writing of the island Juana he has claimed, Columbus conveys details about trees, rivers, shores, people, and anything else of relevance (Columbus). Due to the nature of Columbus’s voyage, his account of the conquest does not require any information beyond what contributes to the prosperity of his country. Columbus’s letter was not written to have the same function as The Broken Spears. The accounts of Spanish colonization presented in this text are documented with an entirely different objective. This text serves the purpose of presenting the reader with an understanding of the Spanish conquest from the perspective of the indigenous people. This objective calls for details about the nature of conquest that are not found in
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aztec - Gustavo Costa HSS2-H Prof. Schultz 2/20/07 Cultural...

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