History 8 MWF
September 5, 2014
History 8 Final Draft
In 1522 Bernal Diaz was a Spanish foot solider in the army of Cortez. When Diaz first made his way into the fast-paced capital of Tlateloco, the population wasn’t the only thing going for this city; there were mass amounts of merchandise as well. For such a concentrated amount of people, the capital was fairly organized and controlled. [“Each kind of merchandise as kept by itself and had its fixed place marked out”]. Soldiers who had travelled all over Europe spoke about how organized the market was, [“…so large a market place…so well regulated….they had never beheld it before…”]. Specific areas were designated for certain items, somewhat like sections of a grocery store. The people of Tlateloco had a surplus of food, class and labor divisions, and even aqueducts, proving to be far more advanced than we give them credit for. These people had configured a permanent civilization, and also had a leader who went by Montezuma.
To Bernal Diaz, the destruction of the Aztecs was a story to go down in history. The Aztec account of the invasion is not celebratory. In the end, Montezuma had too much faith in the Spaniards, and trusted them far too fast. The fall of the Aztec civilization comes down to two main occurrences. First off, let us not leave out the fact that the Aztecs had mass amounts of gold in which they did not know the “true value” to. However, the Spaniards saw far different plans for this gold, and the land, they did whatever it took to attain these treasures, even taking countless lives. [“…at once they set fire to…various precious things…and the gold the Spaniards formed into separate bars…they took it all, all that they saw to be good…”]. Although gold is not a main reason for the fall of the Aztec empire, it is something that should not be left out; Europeans took complete advantage of the Aztecs and their hospitality. One of the two reasons to the destruction of the Aztecs was guns. The Natives had never seen anything resembling it. They were astounded by these mechanisms they had never laid their eyes on before. [“Especially did it cause him to faint away when he heard how the gun, at [the Spanish] command, discharged [the shot] how it resounded as if it thundered when it went off. It indeed bereft one of strength; it shut off one’s ears. And when it discharged, something like a round pebble came forth from within. Fire went showering forth; sparks went blazing forth. And its smoke smelled very foul; it had a fetid odor which verily wounded the head. And when [the shot] struck a mountain, it was as if it were destroyed, dissolved. And a tree was pulverized; it was as if it vanished; it was as if it vanished; it was as if someone blew it away.”] I believe in this moment, the Aztecs could see just how dangerous these foreign peoples were with their “technology”. Soon after, a plague hit and people were dropping left and right. [“…spread over the people a great destruction of men”]. Many who were affected by the plague were unable to fend for themselves and later died of hunger. [“…there was no one to take care of another…”]. It is clear now, that the Europeans brought over many illnesses in which the Natives had never encountered before. Prior to Europeans infiltrating the Aztec civilization, the Aztecs were in a state similar to that of quarantine, although this was clearly not on purpose; Europeans just hadn’t discovered the Western Hemisphere yet. However when we did make it over to the Western Hemisphere, we did not think about, or care about, the fact that we are exposed, and exposing people, to germs which had never been encountered in the other’s existence.
After the defeat of the Aztecs, Patrick Henry’s was a prime motivator in the movement of colonial revolution. His infamous words will stick in all