The Spanish Conquistadors and the Aztecs Essay

Submitted By beautiful4life162000
Words: 1008
Pages: 5

In 1519, the Spaniards conquered the Aztecs’ empire with over six hundred soldiers, eleven ships, sixteen horses and several pieces of artillery. Could this encounter have ended with a peaceful resolution, as opposed to brutal ending? According to Cortez, “we have a disease of the heart that can only be cured with gold” . The Conquistadors lived in an impoverished society which motivated them to seek gold and other resources. The Indians’ useful resources also attracted the Spaniards to discover a New World. During this time, the Spaniards had constraints such as being poor nobles with no land that created an opportunity for them to conquer the Aztecs. Motivated by greed, lack of any escape route, and Christian fervor, the Spanish Conquistadors exploited their superior war technology and a strategic alliance with the Tlaxcaltec to overcome the Aztecs’ enormous army of warriors and religious faith, resulting in a brutal and complete domination by the Spanish. The Conquistadors were outnumbered by the Aztecs and had no escape route which led to an intense and violent battle. The Spanish had six hundred soldiers, while the Aztecs had a population of two hundred and fifty thousand people. The Spaniards had a small army that defeated the Aztecs huge armed force that was constrained by cultural practice of war. Cortez, who was the Captain of the expedition, ordered his soldiers to burn their ships, which created a constraint for the Spaniards but also an affordance to formed a strategic alliance with the Tlaxcaltec warriors, who helped the Spaniards to conquer the Aztecs. The constraint of not having ships gave the Spaniards an opportunity to make an alliance with the Tlascalan’s who had useful resources that benefited the Spaniards, for example intelligence, canoes, food and warriors. The Tlascalan’s also benefited from being allies with the Spaniards because they got an opportunity to fight against the Aztecs who was their ruler and enemy. Meanwhile, the Aztecs viewed war as their way of life, which inspired them to be indigenous warriors who fought fearlessly in a much larger army. However, with unrelenting fighting power and a smaller force, the Conquistadors attacked and forced the Aztecs from their own turf. According to Reilly, “…all the people who could do so fled to the mountain to escape these inhuman, ruthless, and ferocious acts, the Spanish captains, enemies of the human race, pursued them with the fierce dogs they kept which attacked the Indians, tearing them to pieces and devouring them.” At this point, the Aztecs were helpless, fearful and scared since they were not accustomed to dogs and did not know the capabilities of a dog, so they had no choice but to run to the mountains in an effort to escaped in order to save their own lives. Even though, many Aztecs died while trying to escaped, since they had suffered from hunger, thirst and continual fighting. The Aztecs’ technology of war was inferior while the Spaniards exploited their superior technology of war. According to Reilly, “The Spaniards fought to kill and to conquer territory, the Aztecs fought when equally matched and did not kill all their enemies” . Lack of technologically advanced artillery was an important factor that contributed to the Aztecs defeat. Even though, they fought to the end and never gave up during battle because the Aztecs utilized their “… whistles and showers of stones, darts, and arrows” and prayed fervently to their war God. Defeat was unimaginable to the Spaniards. Their intentions and motives to conquer were far greater than a peaceful resolution. The Aztecs had no choice but to fight those Indians who had similar fighting power as them because their cultural viewed war as their way of life and their practice of war focused on bows and arrows, while the Spaniards war tactics was fiercer by having horses, dogs and swords. Overall, the Conquistadors had more beneficial war technology, including, “steel swords, armors,