Hernan Cortés's Victors And Vanquished

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Most books have either portrayed Hernán Cortés as either a brave conquistador hero who helped transform Mexico for Spanish use, or as a cruel racist who helped instill a genocide upon millions of Mexican natives. The truth, however, can be a lot less black or white. In the book Victors and Vanquished: Spanish and Nahua Views of the Conquest of Mexico, we see that the moral nature of Cortés is more grey than most think. Cortés, in his conquest of Mexico, has performed good and bad deeds towards his own men and towards the Nahua people. To begin with the analysis of Cortés’s actions, we can look at the various good deeds he exhibited during his time in Mexico. Surprisingly, most accounts of his good morals seem to involve the native peoples more than…show more content…
During the dangerous battle of Tenochtitlan, there at the siege, there were a few men who had fell into the canals when they were retreating from the Mexica that were trying to push them out of the city.3 When these men fell into the canal and started to drown, Captain Cortés rushed over to help pull the men out himself with his bare hands.3 There are no other outstanding examples of Cortés’s good actions towards his men. During most accounts, Nahua and Spanish, Cortés seemed to be quite fair towards his men. His kind actions towards the Nahua people are what stand out in these primary sources. In most of the primary sources, Cortés is seen as very patient. In the accounts of Días, when faced with the threat of battle by the Tabasco natives, Cortés used his interpreter Aguilar to tell the leaders of the nation to stand down, that the Spanish wanted to treat them like brothers and did not wish to start a war.4 He and his interpreter talked to these agitated men for a while before he decided to fight the next day, but not before he tried another appeal.4 Another quality that Cortés showed to the Nahua was a sense of generosity. While his conquest campaign was filled with theft and death, Cortés
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