Analysis Of An Aztec Encounter Essay Research

Analysis Of An Aztec Encounter Essay, Research Paper The Spaniard and Aztec civilizations were two completely different worlds whose fated encounter caused some surprising

Analysis Of An Aztec Encounter Essay, Research Paper

The Spaniard and Aztec civilizations were

two completely different worlds whose fated encounter caused some surprising

reactions from both parties. Neither of these nations knew exactly

what to expect or how to react to each other?s behaviors. Differences

in religion, customs and weaponry became the deciding factors of who would

be the dominant aggressor in these encounters. Even though both parties

were unsure of what to expect, the Spaniards had already set a goal for

themselves before they set foot in Mexico. They wanted to conquer

the other nation and exploit them for anything of value.

The climax of the Aztec Empire and the

conquistadors occurred when Motecuhzoma and Cortes met face to face for

the first time. The Spaniards as well as the Aztecs had no clue what

to expect. Motecuhzoma told Cortes, ?Our lord, you are weary.

The journey has tired you, but now you have arrived on earth? to sit on

your throne, under its canopy.? This was due to the fact that the

Aztec religion told of a god, Quetzalcoatl, who would come from the heavens

and take his place as ruler of the Aztec Empire. Thus Motecuhzoma

showered the Spaniards with many fine gifts. Unlike the Spaniards

believed, these fine gifts were not really a sign of Aztec submission but

rather as a sign of wealth and power. In order to give proper respect

to their so-called god, the Aztecs had to show that they were a worthy

and powerful nation. The Spaniards took this as a weakness.

They thought the Aztecs feared them, which boosted up their confidence

level even though they were greatly outnumbered.

The Spaniards had to communicate with

the Aztecs by using La Malinche as an interpreter. She basically

made the Aztecs believe that Cortes was a good man and would be cause them

no harm. They also had other indigenous people who were allied with

the Spanish. The Aztecs must have viewed this as a sign that these

strangers would be peaceful since they had others of their kind on the

Spaniard?s side. La Malinche translated all that Motecuhzoma had

said to Cortes. On page sixty-four of The Broken Spears it says,

?Cortes replied in his strange and savage tongue?? In other passages in

the book it depicts the Spaniards as wild and uncivilized. This brings

up another point that just as the Spaniards thought of the Aztecs as being

barbaric, some Aztecs felt the same way about the Spaniards. The

Aztecs also thought of the Spaniards as savages. Who would blame

them? After all they must have heard stories of how the Spanish

had killed thousands of indigenous people for apparently no reason, burning

and pillaging all towns in his path.

The Aztecs were unaware of the trickery

that Cortes would use on them. He had to catch the Aztecs unaware.

He told La Malinche to tell Motecuhzoma that, ?There is nothing to fear?

tell him that we love him well and our hearts are contented.? He

took this to his advantage by lying to him. The Spaniards later grasped

Motecuhzoma?s hands and patted his back to show affection. The Aztecs

were not at all prepared for an onslaught of fighting which would occur

later on.

The Spaniards knew that they could not

take on the whole Aztec Empire since they were so many compared to the

number of conquistadors. They decided to take Motecuhzoma prisoner

and keep him hostage in order to control the Aztecs. These people

did not know what was going on. As it says on page sixty-five, many

ran away and went into hiding. The Spaniards already knew that their

weapons caused much confusion and struck some fear in these native people,

so they fired one of their canons and people ran and fled. They used

weapons unknown to them which gave the Spanish a slight advantage by method

of intimidation so the Aztecs would not try anything. The Spaniards

did not immediately begin to attack the Aztecs yet because they knew they

could be crushed because of the immense size of their army.

Instead, when the Spanish captured Motecuhzoma,

they kept him alive in order to control the Aztecs. They used Motecuhzoma

so that he would tell his people to give the Spaniards provisions, supplies,

and valuables, mainly gold. They had no choice but to obey the commands

of their leader. The Aztecs were confused, scared, and angry all at the

same time. It all seemed to happen so suddenly that no one exactly

knew what to think.

Even though the Spanish kept their leader

captive it is surprising that that the Aztecs planned no attempt to rescue

their leader or fight back at first. Most people would think it was

only out of fear. One must realize that the Aztecs thought the Spanish

were gods so this could was a major reason why the Aztecs did not organize

to attack the Spanish once Motecuhzoma was taken hostage. Many were

frightened and just wanted the Spaniards to go away. When the Aztecs

came to give the Spanish provisions, they gave them the supplies and shook

in fear as they did so. After handing them the provisions they turned

and hurried away. This seems strange that a people with a reputation

of being very brave and warlike would be so scared of the small group of

men which captured their king. I believe this is due to the fact

that they thought the Spanish were powerful beings, thus they couldn?t

really be hurt. There must?ve been a point when the Aztecs realized

the Spanish weren?t supernatural beings and could be killed. I believe

that at this point they started rebelling and fighting back against the

Spaniards. This was also to the advantage of the Spanish that they

struck at the Aztecs first before they had a chance to fight back.

There were many minor misinterpretations

due to the differences in the two cultures that happened to give the Spanish

the upper hand. The Aztecs were not a helpless group of people like

I had thought before I had read this book. The Spanish account of

the conquest of Mexico portrays Motecuhzoma as one who completely surrenders

to them out of fear rather than a misconception of culture. It also

portrays the natives as a helpless group of people who just constantly

are slaughtered by the superiority of the Spanish and it seems to exclude

the losses the Spanish had while fighting these natives. This is

an example of how truth can be distorted if one only listens to one side

of an argument. As a basic rule, one should always look at both sides

of a story in order to have a more educated opinion on that matter.