Are Bernal Diaz’s Accounts of Cortez's Mission Accurate

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Is Diaz’s Account Reliable?

Before the 15th century, the Indians in the Americas were not connected with the world and would remain that way until Columbus's exploration. In the beginning of 15th century, the Aztecs were the dominant group in Mesoamerica leaded by Montezuma, the last leader, before the Spanish conquest. In 1519, Hernan Cortez led the Spanish mission to explore and conquer the New World. This paper will compare three primary sources about this event. First, an informing letter sent from Cortez to King Charles V, the king of Spain. Second, the Broken Spears which is an Indian recollection about the conquest of Mexico. Lastly, Bernal Diaz’s (one of Cortez’s men) account was written by him to share his experience with Aztec civilization. Moreover, this paper will show the credibility of Diaz’s account compared to the other sources because the objectivity of his tone, written after a while of the event, and the author’s great experience and his independent purpose of the source.

Diaz’s account is more believable because the objective tone of his account compared to the others. That was noticeable when he describes the events with many details without his emotions. Even, it is difficult to recognize his opinion about the event. For example, when he said “he placed it round the neck of the Great Montezuma and when he had so placed it he was going to embrace him, and those great Princes who accompanied Montezuma held back Cortés by the arm so that he should not embrace him, for they considered it an indignity” (Diaz, P. 2). On the other hand, the embellishing tone of Cortez’s letter makes it subjective in some parts when he explained the event. According to Cortez, he attacked two villages before it was dawn, but he d...

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... time means that he was educated. On the contrary, Cortez was a captain who had a mission he has to do. As well, he sent his letter to inform the king about the event and about his achievements and championship to justify his position with Spain rulers. However, The Broken Spears is a recollection of Spanish by unidentified Indians to show their fateful conflict. In sum, because Diaz wrote his book to tell the reading public about his experience with events, he is more reliable.

In conclusion, this paper showed that Diaz’s is more believable compared to the others for three reasons. First, the objectivity of his tone that he used, so it is difficult to recognize his point of view. Second, he wrote it after a while of the event, therefore he did not tend to his group on his writing. Finally, he wrote it to inform the public about his own experience with the Aztec.

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