Aztecs, Mayas, and the Conquest of Mexico - by Helen Heightsman Gordon
Who were the Aztecs and Maya?
The civilizations known to us as Aztec and Maya, were far more complex and more advanced than many histories have allowed. They skillfully worked with stone in building and sculpture. They used a sophisticated calendar system. They had a hierarchical social structure that honored the power of speech so much, that the chief leader of the Aztecs was called the “chief speaker” who spoke for all his citizens.
Moctezuma the Younger was not an emperor, and the territory he ruled was not an empire. Yet he distinguished himself as a speaker and warrior, and he acquired considerable knowledge of astronomy, botany, and zoology.
Stories and legends about Hernan Cortes and his slave-girl translator, Malinalli (also called “Dona Marina”), have caught the imagination of present-day Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, and Europeans. The truth is even more fascinating!
Cortes could be both cruel and kind; he destroyed Tenochtitlan but then rebuilt it as Mexico City. He fostered trade between nations that benefited both Europe and the “New World” of the 16th century.
Malinalli has been demonized as “La Malinche the traitress”, she supposedly betrayed “her own people” to help the Spaniards. But she was a slave given to the Spaniards by the natives of Tabasco. She was admired by the Conquistadors for her loyalty, courage, and cleverness, so they honored her by calling her “Dona Marina,” the Spanish title for “lady”.
This short book will explain clearly the differences between legends and reality. It also offers information on the Aztec ‘Nahuatl’ and ‘Mayan’ languages with some helpful clues on pronunciation.
If you are interested in the Aztec, or Maya, Cortes and the Conquistadors, or Malinalli, this is a great place to start learning about these amazing people and events.
Number of Words: 7400
Published: Jul 2017
Genre: General Non-Fiction
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