The Many Dimensions of the Mexica Indian Empire

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The Mexica Empire was a grand civilization with many accomplishments and merits. Even Bernal Díaz would later lament the destruction of the capital of Tenochtitlan (Townsend 126). Conversely, the society was not entirely destroyed by the Spanish, as the preservation of native stories, traditions, and languages shows. The indigenous people were not only victims, but agents, in the Empire’s transition through the conquest. On one hand the Mexica Indians were victims of unequal weaponry at the hands of lustful, greedy, and cruel invaders. On the contrary, the Mexica themselves had a tradition of concubinage, though one less supportive of rape, yet they exploited their neighbors for economic reasons and would not hesitate to sacrifice victims of wars against those resisted. Not surprisingly, some natives would fight for the Spanish, help find food, support in communication, assist in navigation, and largely aid Spanish survival. Thus the narrative of the indigenous must be expanded to include their intelligence, resistance, and accomplishments; a history labeling the Mexica Indians as victims would be inappropriate and one excluding the multifaceted nature of the natives would be ignorant. The Mexica Empire refers to the various city states and their peoples under the control of Tenochtitlan. The Mexica created the Triple Alliance of Tezcoco, Tlacopan, and Tenochtitlan, and thus this coalition formed its tributary empire by expanding its political hegemony far beyond the Valley of Mexico, conquering other city states throughout Mesoamerica. Tenochtitlan was the dominant city of the empire and extended its power by a combination of trade and military conquest. It was never a true territorial empire, but rather controlled its client s... ... middle of paper ... ...t passive in the face of such massive changes. Ideas were welcomed and discouraged, and the native population had no qualms against resisting when they felt oppressed. While the Spanish had the technical efficacy to force many changes, they also knew they depended on the Indians for survival at times when they could not effectively communicate or obtain food. Thus, the Spanish were not always dismissive or condescending of indigenous knowledge; later they would support the making of Nahuatl dictionaries and indigenous codices (Ibid 65). Therefore, while the political arena of Mexico changed, the native populations were not victims, but agents who would not allow their civilizations to disappear except on their own terms. It is clear that the transformation of Mexico largely relied on the movements and ideas of the indigenous people, as well as those of the Spanish.

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