History Essay Example

  • Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:

Conquest of Mexico 7


(Your School)

April 22, 2011


The year 1519 marked a turning point in the history of Mexico. It was on April 21, 1519, under Cortes command that Spanish galleons, with approximately 550 soldiers and 16 horses landed on the island of San Juan de Ulua beach. Cortes’ sought audience with Aztec ruler Moctezuma II. This was the turning point of Spanish conquest of Mexico.

Reasons for the Conquest

  • Military technology

Both Moctezoma and Cortes wanted to outshine each other in the use of military technology. At the time military technology was highly used to determine a region and its leader’s power.

  • Religious Belief

The Moctezoma’s led team possessed different religious beliefs from the Cortes led group. For example, Cortes believed in Christianity, Catholic to be precise, whereas Moctezoma’s people worshipped idols. Most important things learnt from primary source accounts of the meeting between Cortes and Moctezoma

Personal Characters

Moctezoma is depicted as a coward leader fearful of engaging in military warfare against his enemies.1 For example, upon realization the Cortes’ led team is in his territory he hurriedly sends gold to persuade them (enemy troops) to leave the country. Such actions portray Moctezoma’s cowardly personal character. Moreover, after being seized by enemy forces, Moctezuma becomes their prisoner. “The Spanish commander briskly promises his king to take [Moctezoma] alive in chains and make him subject to Your Majesty’s Royal Crown” 2

On the other hand, Cortes’ is displayed as a brave and courageous leader out to claim even enemy territories with zest. Cortes’, leader of Spanish troops engaged in bloody battles thus seizing the Mexican imperial capital of Tenochtitkan-Tlatelolco. Moreover, Cortes’ used deceit to win over Moctezoma who was ignorant. Cortes’ feigned friendship towards Moctezoma for his own selfish reasons.

“Of Cortes’ we know much more. He was unremarkable as a combat leader: personally brave, an indispensable quality in one who would lead Spaniards” 3

Resilience and Wealth Status

The meeting between Cortes’ and Moctezoma provides an avenue for individuals to articulate the various methods to apply in a conflict situation. For example, aware of Cortés’s presence in his territory, Moctezoma tried to apply steadfast conflict resolution techniques such as forwarding of gifts to Cortes’ to cool his desire to overthrow Moctezoma’s leadership.

However, it emerges that the provision of gifts by Moctezoma is a clear indication of his benevolent nature. He is so generous to give out his expensive items to avert warfare. In light of this, it portrays Moctezoma’s region as an affluent place cognizant of the gifts, that is, the gifts are not cheap ones and indication of prosperity of the region.

The encounter between Moctezoma and Cortes helps in establishing religious back grounding of their empires’. The encounter shed light on their religious faith. For example, the Cortes led troops would spend long nights waiting for their chance to confess through the priests. In light of this, it is evident that they were followers of the Catholic Church that arguably propagates that ideology into their doctrine. For example, it is only in the Catholic Church that the faithful use the priests as their intermediary in confessing their sins to the Almighty God. Their faith was ardent to the point of even assimilating others into their faith. For example, Cortes destroyed idols worshipped by enemy religion in a bid to take them on board to follow their faith.

Lessons for historians

The meetings between Moctezoma and Cortes formed a statistical and analytical basis for the realization of the etiology of modern religious faith in Spain. It is through their meeting that historians become aware of how religion evolved in Spain.

Moreover, it gives an overview of the incidents that catapulted the conquest on Mexico. In light of this, it serves as a reference guide for historians geared towards chronicling the history of Mexico. For example, the meeting is deemed as the history shaper in Mexico thus provides grounding for research analysis on Mexico.

Additionally, the writing serve as good research backgrounds in establishing the root cause of the conquest and also through the different viewpoints given by the writers. For example, historians can use the information relayed by the writers to analyze or critic the conquest.

Rationale: Comparison

Clendinnen and Codex give a personal analysis of the Conquest in Mexico. However, Codex analysis is easily understood since it takes precautions about the events detailing them as they happen. On the other hand, Clendinnen gives a broad overview of the events as they happened and at times obscured vital information. For example, Codex incorporates verbal speeches in the work thus helping in easier comprehension of the events. However, over usage of the spoken word can be at times being monotonous and boring. The writer should have focused on using prose writing with minimal spoken words. To add salt into injury, Cortes usage of first person narration serves as a blessing and curse to the content. On one hand, the usage of narration as a writing technique blocks the reader of other vital information that the writer did not witness. However, a personal experience serves better understanding of what transpired during the conquest.

“Then [Cortez] said to Moctezoma: “Is this not thou? Art thou not he? Art thou Moctezoma?” Moctezoma replied: “Indeed yes; I am he.”4 In so doing, the context becomes proximate to the reader thus enhancing easier comprehension. However, the use of first person narration results in monotony. Moreover, the over usage of the word ‘Thy’ does not auger well with the logical flow of the story.

Pictures say a thousands world, in light of this, Codex has extensively applied pictured in his works. Pictures used create a visual element that helps in easier comprehension. Moreover, the application of pictures in the text serves as an avenue to reduce boredom that is propagated by numerous texts. For example, the pictures articulate the events that led to the conquest of Mexico and the aftermaths in a comical way. This reduces tension from large texts applied in the Clendinnen work. First Person narration is not an effective way of writing a literature piece since it may at times result to bias. For example, in the Cortes piece, the writer can be tempted to over praise one side instead of giving a neutral perspective to the story.


The two piece of literature provide a critical analysis on the events that led to the Conquest in Mexico. Through them, the reader grasps some of the events like they happened in real time. This is mostly as a result of proper logical flow of ideas and use of simplified language that is easily understandable. Moreover, they provide a gateway and research tool for historians to adequately furnish their knowledge on the historical conquest.


Clendinnen, Inga, Commonwealth of Australia (Wales: University of Wales, 1969)

Codex, Commonwealth of Australia (Wales: University of Wales, 1969)

Cortes, Hernan, Commonwealth of Australia (Wales: University of Wales, 1969)

1 Clendinnen, Inga, Commonwealth of Australia (Wales, University of Wales, 1969) 1-20.

4 Codex, Commonwealth of Australia (Wales: University of Wales, 1969) 1-6.