The Broken Spears By Miguel Leon Portilla

1050 words - 4 pages

The People of the Sun

The Aztecs, the people of the sun, people of reason and the people of knowledge. The Aztecs knew the land; they were one with the earth using the stars for direction and time telling and the earth as a producer of life. The universe was sacred, it was to be preserved, treated and used as a source of life because for the Aztecs the sun was life, they are the people of the sun. Conquering was very important to the Aztecs; they were warriors, strong ones who trained their men at a young age to protect what they have constructed. The Aztecs were led by a king, the king loved his people and was a divine ruler who was sent by their gods, one of which is Huitzilopochtli who is mentioned numerous times throughout the story. The kings lived at the palace in Tenochtitlan, the Aztec and Mexican capital.

The wars the Aztecs fought in before the arrival of the Spanish were called mystical conceptions of warfare, which was conquering all of the other surrounding indigenous nations. Conquering was very important to the Aztecs, their motive was simply to expand the rule of Tenochtitlan; they expanded from Mexico to as far south as Nicaragua. The major purpose of war was to capture victims for sacrifice, because the source of life, the sun, would die unless it was fed human blood. There is evidence that human sacrifices occurred before the Aztec arrival but no other tribe did it as consistently as the Aztecas.

The Spanish or the army of greed came to México with one goal in mind and that was to find gold. The Spanish immediately became allies with the Tlaxcaltecas, who feared the Aztecs and the Cholultecas; they envied and cursed them and were filled with not only fear but hatred towards them. The Tlaxcaltecs warned the Spaniards of the braveness and determination of the Aztecs in war and that Cholula was friends with the Aztecs. The Tlaxcaltecs were a very important tool for the Spaniards, giving them the proper navigation and short paths to get to Tenochtitlan along with food and shelter. The Spanish did carried many advantages over the Aztecs throughout their conquest; the use of cannons and artillery, an ally who new the Aztec ways very well, and the simple fact that the Aztecs at first thought the Spaniards were `gods'. Would you really want to fight your God and not be intimidated? The use of cannons and gunfire was foreign to the Aztecs; they fought with stones, bows and arrows and had never before seen or heard of such a weapon. "Then the captain gave orders, and the messengers were chained by the feet and by the neck. When this had been done the great cannon was fired off. The messengers lost their senses and fainted away (26)."

The conquest of the Aztecs lasted eighty long days. The war began when the Aztecs attacked the Spaniards on "la noche triste" or the night of sorrows. The night of sorrows was revenge taken upon the Aztecs due to the Massacre...

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2225 words - 9 pages much longer it will take for history to repeat itself.Works CitedCortes, Hernan. Letters from Mexico. Trans. and Ed. Anthony Pagden. New Haven: Yale UP, 1986.Leon-Portilla, Miguel, ed. The Broken Spears. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992.

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