Portilla The Broken Spears Summary

742 Words3 Pages
Emily Huckabee
HIS 122-601
Fall, 2016

Miguel Leόn-Portilla, The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico

Mexican anthropologist and historian Miguel Leόn-Portilla gives his readers an alternative view of the destruction of the Aztec empire in his 1962 novel. His book is one of many written on the fall of the Aztecs. As an author, his book stands out from others because it tells the story from a different perspective, that of the ones being defeated. Portilla, being an expert on the Aztecs, begins by giving a synopsis of the Aztec Indians way of life and how Hernando Cortez, a Spanish conquistador, eventually overcame their empire in the search for gold. He gives this event in world history a different way to underand these
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The author describes them as pale with light hair on their heads and faces. They had many new animals with them as well. He also goes into detail about the armor the conquistadors carried with them. This armor was made of steel and made noise with every movement the men made. Portilla points out how wary this made the Mexicas about their new “guests” and how they immediately reported what they saw to their king. By the time the Spaniards marched all the way to the Aztec metropolis, Tenochtitlan, they had created several allies. Portilla explains that the people that sided with the Spaniards were enemies that had been conquered by the Aztec. The Mexica’s began to resent their “gods” and mistrust King Motcuhzoma for letting the Spanish conquistadors wreak havoc among the natives and their customs. Before long the author begins to describe the many battles fought between the Aztec warriors and the strangers. These were awful and terrible battles that continued for three years. Portilla mentions that as soon as the conquistadors backed off a new battle began. Smallpox created an epidemic to the size of the Aztec population. Once the population is depleated, the author describes how the Spaniards came in for the fatal
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