Alvarado Massacre Essay

2253 words - 9 pages

During the year 1520 Hernando Cortes led a massive expedition that conquered the lands of "Mexico." He along with many famous figures like Dona Maria, Bernal Diaz de Castillo, and Pedro de Alvarado helped Cortes gain control of the indigenous land. Even though there are many key figures, and key sources that helped Cortes colonize Indian Territory one major battle that assisted him was the Alvarado Massacre of 1520. While historian Bernal Diaz del Castillo in "The Conquest of New Spain," and Franciscan Fray Bernardino Sahagun in "The Conquest of New Spain, Revision" speculate that Pedro de Alvarado was the cause for the carnage, but Dominican Fray Diego Duran in "History of the Indies of New Spain," accuses Hernando Cortes for the bloodbath. Although there are opposing views it remains clear that Hernando Cortes was not present during the massacre but that his Captain, Pedro de Alvarado was present concluding that he was the key person responsible for the bloodbath. From the accounts of Bernal Diaz de Castillo Pedro de Alvarado was the man responsible for the attack on the Indian village in Mexico. Upon hearing that there were ships headed toward Cortes and his followers, Cortes left to greet the men leaving Alvarado in charge of Tenochitclan. Seeing the bright colors of the flags on the ship he became excited yet he was worried. He knew that he needed reinforcements for surprise attack from the Teules but he also worried that the reinforcements were sent by Diego Valazquez to capture him and his crew. Cortes suspicions were proven as Villa Rica de Sandoval "arrested Navarez' three envoys when they threatened him," and had the three men escorted to see Cortes. However, the three envoys were easily flattered by the bribes Cortes promised them and returned to the Navarez camp to recruit the rest of the army. The captain of Navarez was not easily convinced and began to march through Chempola on his way to Mexico. Here Cortes decided to leave Alvarado and soldiers to guard Moctezuma while he attacked Narvaez. Hernando and his men were successful in their battle but as they marched back to Mexico Cortes obtained information regarding the massacre. The four chieftains accused Pedro and his men of attacking and killing many Indian Dignitaries and Caciques while they celebrated the honor of their Gods Huichilobos and Tezcatlipoca. According to Castillo's records Pedro de Alvarado was the villain behind the massacre against the Indians. In the two chapters that Castillo discusses the revolt, it is evident that he lays all blame on Alvarado. First he makes it known to the reader that Pedro was left behind with unreliable soldiers. The statement made indicates that Alvarado and his crew were incompetent men who did not know how to follow orders. Castillo states "Cortes then decided to attack him, leaving Pedro de Alvarado and the least reliable soldiers to guard Moctezuma," (282). Then Castillo moves on giving descriptive details on the battle...

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