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Conquest Of South America Essay

1026 words - 4 pages

The conquest of Mexico began when Hernando Cortes first arrived in South America. When he started his first movement of the conquest, some people looked at him as a great leader or a God and others saw him as a simple man. His conquest brought the Spaniards and Indians happiness and sorrow at the same time. The differences between the Spaniards and the Indian accounts were vast and varied from writer to writer, for a man's deeds could be bad and good.

The differences that the reader encounters within a Spanish point of view are between Diaz's and Tapia's descriptions of Cortes' leadership and personality. Diaz describes this conquest as being more religious as they all commanded themselves to God before going to war. He quotes Cortes as saying "we shall conquer through the holy cross" (page 105). Diaz was a loyal soldier to Cortes and addresses to him as "our Captain", but he does not see Cortes as an individual leader. He looks at him as a mortal with weaknesses, "It seems that God gave us soldiers grace and good counsel to advise Cortes how to do all things in the right way" (page 109). This shows Diaz's belief that soldiers like himself influenced Cortes, more than Cortes influenced them. On the other hand, Tapia seems to believe the opposite and describes Cortes' actions as "he ordered" or "he told." The idea that Cortes was different from any other Spanish soldier is also seen in the natives' fear toward him. The natives were afraid of the strangers (the Spanish), but they seem to have greater fear of their leader, since the leaders were always considered special. They even compare Cortes to their Gods "who know all and there is no use in denying it to him" (page 118). While, Diaz believed that natives' fear was concentrated toward the Spaniards more than on Cortes alone. Tapia also does not focus on the religious aspects of the Spanish, but simply tells the story from a soldier's point of view.

The differences within the Indian account were between Sahagun and Lienzo. In his writings, Sahagun believes that Spaniards were unfair toward the Cholula, by treacherously attacking them because they were Mexico's friends. He blames the Tlaxcalan people for helping the Spaniards and for turning them against Tenochtitlan. Sahagun compares the Spaniards to monkeys and pigs, which signifies that they were savages and desired nothing else but gold, "Like monkeys they grabbed the gold. For gold was what they greatly thirsted for" (page 122). Sahagun also does not mention Cortes in his documents, but shows hatred toward the Spaniards. Meanwhile, Lienzo expressed himself through paintings and admired the alliance of the Spaniards and the Tlaxcala. The reader develops a belief that Tlaxcalan people were good and the Spaniards were nothing else but superior and fair. Unlike Sahagun, Lienzo gives detailed pictures of Cortes and signifies the importance of Dona Marina. From Lienzo's point of view, it could also be interpreted that the Spaniards defended...

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