Hispanic VS. Native View Of The Aztec Conquest

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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In order to have a true account of the Aztec conquest, a person must be a detective.

One has to take into account personal objectives, cultural beliefs, and their motives behind their writings. In addition, "attention must be paid to the 'silences' as well as to the documents".

(p 27) The strengths in Bernal Diaz's writtings, such as his eye for detail and his minimal personal objectiveness, but also the inherent weaknesses of the other writtings provide us with what many call "The True History of the Conquest of New Spain".

Every source has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. An examination of these sources are required for anyone to come to a conclusion of each source's own bias, and to dertmine a conclusion of their accuracy. Hernan Cortes took the credit for the accounts of the expedition, and for many years his word was the truth for many, especially for those back in Spain.

They became the "basis of the official story" because they were "realistic and direct, lacking the fantasy found in others". (p 15) However, Cortes was all but direct with the people that he encountered in New Spain. From the first encounter with these new people, he uses his political strategies, which Diaz takes note in his accounts, to gain a sense of his surroundings. His primary focus was that of learning of the politcs and the wealth of the region. One can already see the gold pesos gleaming in the eyes of Cortes when he finds of the vast wealth of the land.

He also paints a very explicit picture of the indigeonous people of the region and their customs, especially their religious practices. He compares them to the Moors (Muslims) which the Christians have fighting in Europe for many years prior...