Montezuma II: Was it the right decision? An essay on Montezuma and the decision he made concerning him allowing Cortez to come into his sovereignty.

Essay by pc4life02High School, 11th gradeA+, December 2002

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"I shall be the last ruler of this land." (Flowers, p. 10) Montezuma made this predicament after one of his advisors foresaw "the end" in the sun. After generating of one of the greatest empires in the Americas, Montezuma's decision to welcome Hernan Cortes with open hands, turned out to be a fatal one for the Aztec Empire. Montezuma had to make one of two choices, allow the "gods" to come in to their land or to rebel against them. Unfortunately he did not make the right decision, many of his people died. If not murdered, than they died of disease. Montezuma's judgment of Cortes and his faction, proved to be fatal for him and his people.

When Montezuma first heard of Cortes he though he might be Quetzelcoatl, the God of Wisdom, who hated human sacrifice and, according to legend, was due to return to Mexico after being banished by wizards, rulers of the land.

Several of Montezuma's priests noticed that the planet Venus, scared to Quetzelcoatl, had cast a shadow on thee sun, as it does only once every three hundred years. This was an omen of things to come. This worked to advantage of Cortes, because it made Montezuma indecisive in his dealings with Cortes. Montezuma had instructed his steward to supply and feed his guests, and to offer them gifts of precious stones, and feather ware.

"For the moment, all demands made by Cortes and his men were immediately met: for whit tortillas, turkeys, eggs, and fresh water. The horses were fed grain, and every thing else that their masters requested.

(Thomas, p. 289)

"We have come to your house in Mexico as friends. There is nothing to fear." (Warburton, p. 84) This was what Cortes first said when he met Montezuma. Just before the statement, Cortes had captured five of Montezuma's elite Jaguar warriors. Montezuma had perchance an army of half a million warriors against the six hundred strangers. Many experts deduce that Montezuma could have certainly destroyed them, but that he did not send his army out because he though that they were gods and did not dare challenge them. Despite Montezuma's belief that Cortes was a god, Cortes never pretended to be one. Cortes asked Tendile, one of Montezuma's trusted officials, if Montezuma had more gold, and, after his reply of yes, Cortes replied with a statement which is exceptionally now famous: "Send me some of it, because I and my companions suffer from a disease of the heart that can be cured only with gold."

It took two years, but in the end Cortes and the conquistadors prevailed even though outnumbered a thousand to one. At one point Cortes kidnapped Montezuma and threatened to kill him if he did not follow Cortes' wishes. Finally, his own people according to the Spaniards killed Montezuma. Cortes and his men looted the country, then settled the country, tore down its sacrificial altars, replacing the Aztec ritual with Christianity, and brought European government to the New World. The Spaniards were harsh in their methods and motives, and many people argue that it was not their place at all to encounter new lands and demand control, much less force submission so cruelly.

"Welcome to your land, my lords!" (MHS: Aztec) These were the words that sprung from Montezuma's mouth towards Cortes and his conquistadors. These were the words that started the Spanish colonization of Mexico, and that cost the people of Mexico everything. Furthermore, virtually all of Aztec culture was care lessly destroyed in the conquest. Nevertheless, the Spaniards did conquer the Aztecs, and whether Western civilization is richer or poorer, this victory has had lasting effects for both native and European people. In the end, because of Montezuma's belief that Cortez was a god, Montezuma and his people lost all. The Aztecs lost their culture and

Montezuma lost his life.

Works Cited

Baquedano, Elizabeth. Aztec, Inca & Maya. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993.

Conquistadors in the New and Old World. {Online}, May 13, 2002

Flowers, Charles. Cortes and the Conquest of the Aztec Empire. Berkeley Heights: Enslow Publishers, 2001.

Miller, Robert Ryal. Mexico: A History. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985.

Modern History Sourcebook: Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico. {Online}, May 15, 2002

PBS: Conquistadors - Cortes. {Online}, May 13, 2002

Stein, R. Conrad. Mexico. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1984.

Thomas, Hugh. Conquest: Montezuma, Cortes, and the Fall of Old Mexico. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993.

Warburton, Lois. Aztec Civilization. San Diego: Lucent Books, 1995.