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The Conquest of New Spain Essay

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The Conquest of New Spain

Cortés came not to the New World to conquer by force, but by manipulation. Bernal Díaz del Castillo, in the "Conquest of New Spain," describes how Cortés and his soldiers manipulated the Aztec people and their king Montezuma from the time they traveled from Iztapalaopa to the time when Montezuma took Cortés to the top of the great Cue and showed him the whole of Mexico and its countryside, and the three causeways which led into Mexico. Castillo's purpose for recording the mission was to keep an account of the wealth of Montezuma and Mexico, the traditions, and the economic potential that could benefit Cortés' upcoming conquest. However, through these recordings, we are able to see and understand Cortés'
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The cooks prepared over 1,300 plates of food for Montezuma and the guard. There was a storerooms filled with an amount of gold (bars and artistic/sacred objects) and arms that even the king of Spain would have been jealous of. Cortés observed all of this and knew that he was in favor in the eyes of Montezuma because his lodgings were in a sacred palace. Cortés played the part of the innocent and humble admirer and did nothing but compliment Montezuma in order to gain more information on the wealth of the Aztec king. Cortés makes sure that he fulfills all of Montezuma's expectations and as a result, Montezuma says: "…and for this reason we take it for certain that you are those whom our ancestors predicted would come from the direction of the sunrise. As for your great King, I feel that I am indebted to him, and I will give him of what I possess" (World History: Castillo, 248). Cortés is not only gaining control of Montezuma, but his wealth as well.
In order to gain control of the whole of New Spain, Cortés must manipulate the hierarchal traditions of the Aztec people as well. As in wealth, Castillo makes no lapse of detail here as well. He documents the way Montezuma his treated and revered by those who are under him. "Not one of these chieftains dared even to think of looking him in the face, but kept their eyes lowered with great reverence…" (World History: Castillo, 247). Montezuma
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