Broken Spears. Speaks Of The Conquest Of The Aztec Empire

1388 words - 6 pages

The conquest of the Aztec empire can be seen as a collision between two diverse societies whose cultural differences are just as distant as the dividing seas between the two worlds. Spaniards had the intention of territorial expansion and wealth accumulation while the Aztecs had intentions of maintaining their livelihood. Three of the most substantial factors that reflect the cultural differences are their perceptions of gold, warfare, and religion. (In my opinion,) The differing views of gold was the most important factor in onset of the war, thus it was the most significant cause of the cultural dispute. This dispute would lead to religious dispute, and ultimately to war which also showed incongruity in both cultures.At the forefront of this dispute was the leader of the Spaniard expedition Hernan Cortes The economic motive of the Spanish conquistador Cortes was based primarily on gold. This was what ultimately drove to the Spaniards to the destruction of Aztec empire. To the Aztec Indians, the value of precious metals/rare objects was highly prized. The king of the Aztec empire Motecuhzoma did have his own personal treasury where he kept his own desirables such as bracelets, golden jewelry, etc. (68) Gold, however, was not their center of focus; after the conquest, non-golden objects confiscated by the Spaniards were redistributed to their allies, who greatly appreciated such gifts, (121) and Motecuhzoma was willing to give to their 'new gods' much of their wealth (including gold) to appease them (19). Given that Aztecs were very religious, the tributes were considered to be 'divine adornments' (23).The aim of the Spaniards' voyage, however, to the 'New World' was based on profit motive, especially gold accumulation. The Spaniards '.. burst into smiles... pigs for that gold.. eyes delighted with pleasure... monkeys transported by joy..' upon receiving the golden objects as tributes from Motecuhzoma. (51) The Spaniards were not be happy with what they had until they had everything. With gold as their priority, the Spaniards took all of Motecuhzoma's gold in his personal treasury, melted them into gold ingots, and burned everything else that was not golden (66). Even after the complete invasion of the Aztecs, Cortes demanded gold, and nothing but gold, from the empire's subjects, including women who were part of the fleeing refuges. (118) This event in history would serve to reaffirm the adage: 'Money is the root of all evil.'Likewise the two cultures had differences in their religious conceptions. The Aztec empire was a polytheistic civilization where sacrifices of human body was a regular, normal religious ritual, and religion was significant in Aztecs' lives. (29) They frequently relied on omens, omens and prophets as Christians would rely on the Bible and priests. (14-15) Prior to the Spaniards' arrival, the Aztec people were supposedly forewarned with various omens such as Hale's comet, deformed animals, and crying women. The vengeful and...

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