The Spanish and Aztec Accounts of the Conquest of Mexico

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In Diaz’s The Conquest of New Spain and the collection Broken Spears, the Spanish and Aztec perspectives of the conquest of Mexico are documented. The two accounts differ greatly due to opposing perspectives. These differences can be seen through Montezuma’s captivity, the Spanish pursuit for gold, and the religious disputes between the two groups. It is only by taking these discrepancies into consideration that historians are able to approach a realistic picture of the events. While the Spanish text focuses primarily on their virtues and successes, the Aztec writings emphasize the Spaniard’s destruction and cruelty. Both accounts of the events are comprised of biased viewpoints, emphasizing the importance of multiple perspectives. While the Spanish and the Aztecs both discuss Montezuma’s imprisonment, their recordings of his words and actions differ drastically. The Spanish describe Montezuma as generous, cheerful, and very content with confinement. They believed that Montezuma had offered his valuables freely. This interpretation of the events illustrates the Spaniards’ attempt to appear virtuous and showcases their need to embellish their success in retrieving gold. Meanwhile, the Aztecs believed Montezuma was forced into this offering: “The Spaniards questioned him closely and then demanded gold.” The Aztec explanation of the events suggests a distrust in the Spanish and demonstrates their belief that the Spaniards’ arrival destroyed their society. The discrepancy between the two accounts is due to the biased viewpoints of the writers. The truth, however, can be found in-between the two stories. While Montezuma may have sometimes played the role of cheerful and content with his position, he was also pressured into giving up his treasures. This signifies the importance of two perspectives, as it allows for an improved picture of the true events. The

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