Technology that Spelled the Conquest of the New World Essay Sample
When the Spanish embarked in the coastal and cardinal parts of Mexico. history dramatically altered the class of Mesoamerican history. In the 16th century. mercantile system triggered the Europeans to research the New Word and that subsequently translated into imperialism. This was what the ambitiousconquistadorHernan Cortes had in head to harvest up Spanish presence into the Valley of Mexico to seek for gold. In this hunt. Cortezs encountered the so-called “Aztecs. ” the first of the ancient Sun Kingdoms to be made known to the other universe and the first to topple into Europe’s lap. and with this dramatic impact on man’s imaginativeness the first feelings can non be undone.Apparently. this pursuit led by Cortes resulted in a momentous and violent east-meets-west clang of civilisations between the Spaniards and the autochthonal Aztecs. the prostration of the latter’s complex imperial province stretched across most of northern and cardinal Mexico. and the practical race murder of the native population. With such few Numberss of military personnels compared to the Aztecs numbering several hundred 1000s. how did Cortes and his work forces manage to win in the conquering of the Aztecs?
As one of Hernan Cortes’ soldiers. Bernal Diaz ( 1496-1584 ) became the chronicler of Cortes’ conquering as he exhibited recognized the bravery. the effectivity. and the self-respect of Cortes. His book entitledThe True History of the Conquest of New Spainis a firsthand history of the Spanish conquering of Mexico and the machinations in Hispaniola. Cuba. and Spain in the post-conquest period. Bernal added to the thought of Hero and his ain thought of the importance of Masses ( the organic structure of the Spanish ground forces. the public ) . He did non minimize Cortes. but he humanized him. He surrounds him with people. he has him travel and talk with mundane gestures. and in this manner another history of the conquering of New Spain emerges. non the true one but a more colourful one.
Cortezs was known for his military mastermind. his usage of superior Spanish engineering. and his use of credulous “Indians” and a superstitious Aztec emperor enable him to take a few hundred Spanish soldiers to a make bolding conquering of an imperium of 1000000s —and thereby set an illustration that permits the remainder of the Spanish conquerings in the Americas. In the 16th century Cortes became the archetypical conquistador. In history. we have known that Hernan Cortes conquered the Aztec empire—some 200. 000 warriors—with 508 soldiers. 16 Equus caballuss. 10 bronze cannon. four falconets. and 13 muskets. Cortezs attacked when retreat seemed proper. he praised the heroism of his defeated oppositions. and made peace with the Aztec’s enemies. His vision—in address and action—to take the Gospel to the New World. happen celebrity in this antic escapade. and claim wealth beyond comparison motivated brilliant attempt and trueness in his work forces. In comparing. the Aztecs had their ain portion of arms:
They were transporting their usual arms: bows. pointers. spears of assorted sizes. some of which were every bit big as ours ; shields. blades individual and dual handed. and slings and rocks. . . . ( p. 24 ) .
They carried ambidextrous blades. shields. spears. and feather plumes. Their blades. which were every bit long as broadswords. were made of flint which cut worse than a knife. and the blades were so set than one could neither interrupt them nor draw them out… ( p. 137 )
Montezuma had two houses stocked with every kind of arm ; many of them were amply adorned with gold and cherished rocks. There were shields big and little. and a kind of broadsword. and ambidextrous blades set with flint blades that cut much better than our blades ( p. 223 ) .
Bernal Diaz del Castillo reported that the Amerindians they encountered wore cotton shirts and loin fabrics. and that artisanal work and points of gold and Cu were considered as trades. As a consequence. these Amerindians are evidently more civilised than the Cubans. who. except for the adult females among them. wore nil resembling vesture. Still. their civilisation was seen as tainted by “evil-looking gods” and blood-stained communion tables in the thick of supplication houses of “fine masonry. ” For old ages. the Aztec male monarch Montezuma had all but given up the military way of his authorities and was surrounded by a corps of astrologists. auspexs. sorcerers. and mediums from whom he sought. by the reading of marks. symbols. and observation of the omens. to larn what to make to win back the favour of the Gods.
From the really start their acquired Spanish imposts and cultural prejudices would inform the European certification sing the viability of the conquering of Mexico. The Aztecs were contending people. They had no luxuries on their land: cotton. superb bird plumes. cocoa. gold. rubber were non of their earth’s premium. If they wanted these things. they got them by conquering. Furthermore. as they became specialised they manufactured and traded. It was hard plenty: each part was hostile to every other ; there were few natural avenues ; embroilments had to be called off so trading could be carried on. There was a great deficiency of unity even among towns nominally Aztec. As Tenochtitlan. the suppressing metropolis. widened its skylines. new merchandises. new thoughts came into it. and bit by bit luxuries were converted into necessities. Cortezs and his military personnels thought that they had all available engineerings of advanced arms and well-trained military personnels to queer their barbarian enemies:
We had gained some experience from our earlier expedition. and had brought with us in our boats some little cannon and a good supply of crossbows and muskets. As we approached the shore. they began to hit pointers. and to hurtle spears at us with all their might. and although we did them great harm with our cannon. such a flight of pointers rained down on us that half our soldiers were wounded… ( p. 24 ) .
Cortezs. who was really astute in all affairs. said with a laugh to those of us who happened to be standing with him: Make you cognize. gentlemen. I believe it is the Equus caballuss that the Indians are most scared of. They likely think that it is merely they and the cannon that they have been contending. and I’ve idea of a manner of corroborating their belief ( p. 73 ) .
As the field was bare and the equestrians were good riders. and some of the Equus caballuss were really fleet and agile. they came rapidly upon them and speared them as they chose ( p. 71 ) .
There was a soldier in Cortes’ cantonment who said that he had been in Italy. in the Great Captain’s company. and was in the matter at Garellano and other great conflicts. He talked a good trade about war-engines. and said he could do a slingshot in Tlatelolco which. if they were to pelt the one-fourth of the metropolis into which Guatemoc retreated. would do them action for peace in two yearss ( p. 396 ) .
The Spanish histories. such as by Bernal Diaz. qualified much of the Europeans’ technological high quality in conflict. particularly their Equus caballuss and pieces. But contrary to the conquistadores’ claims. the indigens did non flinch before these apparently godly combatants on their Godhead steeds of conflict. In fact. they improvised fleetly to counter these new factors. demoing in the procedure of regard for the bravery of the Equus caballuss they were ne’er to allow to their Masterss. The technological affairs such as supply lines and transit passed unnoticed by the conquistadores are besides really important to their triumph. Horses here figure non as instruments of war but as animals of load. Missing Equus caballuss and even the wheel. the Aztec ground forcess had to transport their supplies on their dorsums or drag them on palettes ; this put great emphasis on supply lines and was a major ground why the Aztecs could non pay a distant war on a wide forepart. Alternatively. over the old ages they had developed a manner of domination by model panic: assailing a individual fractious metropolis whose dramatic licking would squelch restlessness in an full part. The “human sacrifice” back place of several thousand confined warriors reinforced this message. Rival swayers were pointedly invited to these theological-political ceremonials. which cut across any orderly division between communicating with people and communicating with the Gods.
The preferable manner of ruling a new country was likewise selective. and it focused chiefly on peripheral metropoliss and small towns. Rulers would ne’er originate a war by striking straight at the bosom of a rival power—it was excessively hard to provide and reenforce the ground forces. Besides. ecological factors came into drama every bit good. As has frequently been the instance in pre-modern societies. there were seasons for engaging war. outside the months when people had to concentrate on planting and harvest home. If an ground forces went out at these times. masters every bit good as victims could hunger in the approaching twelvemonth. Planting and harvest seasons were the clip for menaces. maneuverings. and psychological warfare instead than for full armed struggle.
Therefore. when Cortes gained a critical bridgehead in Tenochtitlan. the Aztec capital. he was guaranteed of unquestionable triumph. Strictly by opportunity he marched on the capital at harvest clip. and he attacked the bosom of the greatest imperium in the New World with 300 work forces. without the customary old ages of anterior harrying of outlying small towns and towns. Cortezs could take Montezuma prisoner in big portion because no Mesoamerican leader in his right head would hold tried such a stunt in the preliminary stage of a major struggle. with no manner even to acquire the captured leader back place for forfeit on his frequenter deity’s temple stairss. In add-on. the fact that Aztecs believed that the white Spaniards were “gods” . they would literally honour them and be afraid to pay war against them:
It appears that one of our soldiers had a helmet that was half-gilt but slightly rusty. This Tendile noticed. and being of a more inquiring temperament than his fellow Cacique. he asked if he might see it. since it was like one that they possessed which had been left them by their ascendants of the race from which they sprang and placed on the caput of their God Huichilobos. ’ He said that his maestro Montezuma would wish to see this helmet. and it was given to him ( p. 86 ) .
In the concluding analysis. the ruin of the Aztec imperium materialized when the supports from Cuba and the Indian confederations. particularly with Tlaxcala — the pledged enemies of the Aztecs – came into the image. Add to that. the Spaniards’ well-trained military personnels had the engineering of cannons. rifles and metal armour. Their cognition to construct other military arms. such as the slingshot and their usage of Aztec maltreatments and their usage of Equus caballuss. which the Indians had ne’er seen earlier. provided mobility to the Spanish onslaught and struck fright in the Indians. Finally. the belief by many Aztecs. particularly Montezuma. that Cortes was Quetzalcoatl a God returning to destruct the Aztecs spelled the triumph of Cortes’ military personnels in their conquering.
Although some present critics describe the conquering was written in the position of conquistadors themselves because of course these were generated by specific political fortunes and cultural contexts of the Spanish alone. These are the impressions that conquering was achieved and colonialism quickly imposed when native ground forcess were defeated and Spanish metropoliss founded and by surprisingly little groups of Spaniards moving entirely. Such narrative. like the one written by Bernal Diaz. is a camouflage the drawn-out and uncomplete nature of the existent events because no such histories were chronicled by the Aztecs. Were it non that this utterly barbarian imperium. which we call Aztecs but were known so as Mexicans. had non so viciously dominated their neighbours. who joined Cortes in his conquering. the Spanish would non hold a opportunity to progress their subterranean motivations of colonising Mexico.
Diaz. Bernal.The Conquest of New Spain. trans. J. M. Cohen. New York: Penguin Classicss. ( Reprint edition. August 30. 1963 )