The Strategic Use of Spanish Technology During the Conquest of Mexico

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The Strategic Use of Spanish Technology during the Conquest of Mexico In the 16th century, the kingdom of Spain was the greatest land on the planet, as it dominated the concept of global exploration and colonial expansion. The Spaniards also had another key factor in their favor: technology. When Spanish explorers landed in Mexico in 1519, under an expedition led by the great Hernando Cortes, after seizing Hispaniola and Cuba from the Taino natives in previous years, their technological superiority gave them an edge in toppling these newfound civilizations. While reading Stuart B. Schwartz’s two-sided recollection on the true conquest of Mexico titled Victors and Vanquished, readers will begin to notice how Cortes’s strategic utilization of technology during certain parts of the conquest would help the invading Spaniards successfully overcome the primitive, brute strength of the indigenous Mexica, through the Spanish adaptation of the struggles they faced along the way, and how they benefited from befriending their enemies. In the early, prepatory stages of the conquest, Bernal Diaz, a soldier and companion of Cortes, compared the Spanish leader’s popularity in the New World to that of Alexander the Great in Macedonia, Julius Caesar in Rome, and Hannibal in Carthage. According to Diaz, a newly appointed General Cortes “began to search for all sorts of arms, guns, powder and crossbows and every kind of warlike stores which he could get together, and all sorts of articles to be used for barter, and other things necessary for the expedition” (Schwartz 45-46). Cortes’s preparedness and awareness with his surrounding technology gave him and his troops the advantage they needed in order to fight his way through the Mexican empire when the time came. Cortes’s ambition led them to Cozumel, where Diaz notes he mustered a great amount of forces, “not counting the
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