The Conquest of New Spain

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The Conquest of New Spain Cortés came not to the New World to conquer by force, but by manipulation. Bernal Díaz del Castillo, in the "Conquest of New Spain," describes how Cortés and his soldiers manipulated the Aztec people and their king Montezuma from the time they traveled from Iztapalaopa to the time when Montezuma took Cortés to the top of the great Cue and showed him the whole of Mexico and its countryside, and the three causeways which led into Mexico. Castillo's purpose for recording the mission was to keep an account of the wealth of Montezuma and Mexico, the traditions, and the economic potential that could benefit Cortés' upcoming conquest. However, through these recordings, we are able to see and understand Cortés' strategy in making Mexico "New Spain." He came as a wolf in a sheep's clothing and manipulated Montezuma through his apparent innocence. In the first part of the document, Cortés and his men spend their time at Montezuma's palaces. Seeing the extravagant wealth of the Aztec king, Cortés begins his seduction (all the while knowing that Montezuma believes that he may be the fulfillment of a prophecy). He embraced Montezuma with the greatest reverence and "…told him that now his heart rejoiced at having seen such a great Prince, and that he took it as a great honour that he had come in person to meet him and had frequently shown him such favor" (World History: Castillo, 247). Cortés and his men are brought into the house of Montezuma and all of his riches are now at their disposal to observe and share in. Montezuma tells Cortés: "Malinche you and your brethren are in your own house…" (World History: Castillo, 247). The wealth of Montezuma is magnificent. Each soldier is given tw... ... middle of paper ... ...d." There is great economic potential to be found here. We are left with Castillo symbolically describing the events at the great Cue. Montezuma sent priests to help Cortés ascend the 114 stairs to the top but Cortés would not allow them to even come near him. At the top Montezuma tells Cortés that he and his men must be very tired from ascending the great Cue. Cortés promptly and firmly replies: "…that he and his companions were never tired by anything" (World History: Castillo, 252). This symbolizes and affirms Cortés intentions that we were only able to infer before. Castillo says that they "…stood so high that from it [the temple] one could see over everything very well, and we saw the three causeways which led into Mexico" (World History: Castillo, 252). Cortés is observing the future and destiny that awaits him and the great city of Mexico.

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