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Spain and the Conquest of Mexico

            The conquest of Mexico in the early 16th Century is clearly one of the crucial events in world history. The history of the conquest of Mexico is not written exclusively by the winners, but it is a progressive compilation of views from both the Spanish and Native Mexicans. The history of the Spanish conquest of Mexico is presented to the world only from the Spanish point of view because they were the record keepers. However, the book Victors and Vanquished: Spanish and Nahua Views of the Conquest of Mexico by Stuart B. Schwartz, helps us reconstruct and interpret the Spanish-Amerindian encounter, which was more like a conquest. The text is an extraordinary and inspiring composition that interprets the past by conflicting with the age old definitions of history that the story is written by the conquerors. It portrays a broader and richer picture of the context that there was not a single view to the history of the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish. The text reveals the various opinions of the people of Mexico by focusing on their personal interests, political motivations, class, ethnicity, and religious basis.
             Though the interpretation of the story of the downfall of the Aztec Empire by both the Spaniards and the Amerindians differ, it conveys the same story of the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish. Schwartz starts out with an introduction about how the Europeans expanded to the New World and the Spanish conquest of Mexico. The story of the Mexica symbolized the stories of what happened to the native people of Mesoamerica. It began in 1519, when Hernan Cortes arrived on the Mexican coast with his small group of Spanish adventurers. From another primary source by Bernal Diaz (pg. 84), he wrote how Cortes pretended to make friendship with the natives by exchanging gifts but he actually planned to take over the Moctezuma's capital. The question of communication comes up again. It is interesting that the Amerindians and the Spanish were able to make friendship when they had no way of communicating with one another.

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