We all know that to a story there are always two sides. The story can have a great change depending on what side is telling the story. We can argue the same thing to the devastating Spanish conquest of Mexico. That was Stuart B. Schwartz, a Professor at Yale University main objective to give the reader a detailed view of the Spanish conquest of Mexico both by the Nahua and the Spanish perspective presenting a balanced and fair collection of European and Native American sources complemented by his own expert analysis. Victors and Vanquished demonstrates that personal interest, class and ethnic biases, and political opinions can influence the interpretation of events. While the tragic events still lead to the Spanish conquest both sides of the story recall the motivations of the conquest from very distinct ways, in addition I think that it is important to look at the greed and lies to the Spanish conquest.
Schwartz in the introduction provides the reader with a comprehensive description of the Mesoamerica and Spanish society. This includes the end of the Classic Era and how Mexica Empire rose to power and how it expanded through all of Central America. The most notable theme in the whole story is the greed and lies that almost every single character represents in the story. The Mexica for example make the foundation of Tenochtitlan where there is estimated that is was occupied by more 150,000 people. The Mexica sacrifices and torture people from other tribes making them the most dominate empire of Central Mexico their city Tenochtitlan was a great example of this too “Gazing on such wonderful sights, we did not know what to say, or whether what appeared before us was real.”
Bernal Diaz knew the Mexica Empire was one of the most beautiful things he had ever seen. Weren’t the Mexica people greedy too? They sacrificed people, children and animals to their God Huitzilopochtli, Tláloc, Huehueteotl and Tezcatlipoca to obtain what they needed. On the other side of the world the Spanish had been fighting for Catholicism most of the European countries were converted to Christianity. Popes dominated the society but they as the same King and lowest rank solider had the same vision, Money and power. Conquistadores had been traveling around the world trying to find lucrative amount of goal, taking over territories sometimes already occupies, and making the native people slaves to their commands.
Bernal Diaz in his second writing speaks of Hernan Cortez setting foot in Tenochtitlan and meeting with some representatives of Montezuma. Diaz describes the encounter differently of the real intentions of Cortez. He explains that Cortez treats the representative with kindness and leaves the representatives with a good impression of him. He says that he is there only to trade with the Indians and nothing else.
Cortez believes that Montezuma has gold hidden somewhere and for this he sends back the representatives some presents Montezuma received these gifts but he desired not to be interview in other words he didn’t want asked questions instead he send Cortez fine gift a helmet filled with gold instead of making new friends Montezuma fell in trap that Cortez secretly desire to know if there were fine mines in Tenochtitlan.
Therefore the Spanish conquest was not a massacre it was a well brought plan by the conquistadores full of lies and greed. The Mexica wouldn’t of fall into their plan if they too weren’t greedy and would just stick to their own cultivations and own resources.
Courtney from Study Moose
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