Mesoamerica 1450-1750 Aztec Account: First Meeting

Get Started. It's Free
or sign up with your email address
Rocket clouds
Mesoamerica 1450-1750 Aztec Account: First Meeting by Mind Map: Mesoamerica 1450-1750 Aztec Account: First Meeting

1. What does it look like?

1.1. The meeting between Captain Cortes, and the Aztec leader Moctezuma during the middle of the 15th century and it was depicted through a transcript that was written by an Aztec some time after the conquest.

2. Who wrote it? Why?

2.1. An Aztec citizen wrote the account. In order to document the true nature of the first meeting between the Spaniards and the Aztec's an account of the meeting was transcribed at a later date, after the first meeting had already taken place and the conquest of the Aztec's by the Spaniards had occurred. IT was written to document the Aztec's perspective on the encounter with the Spaniards

3. How does the author communicate ideas?

3.1. The Aztec that transcribed the meeting between the two leaders and the translator presented it in script format and incorporated ideas as if they were coming from the two leaders/translators mouth.

4. What are the big ideas?

4.1. The big ideas of the transcription of the meeting are that the king of the Aztecs, Moctezuma believes that Cortes is one of the gods that the Aztecs worship, the light-skinned Quetzalcoatl. This is the driving force behind Mocrezuma's insistence that the Spaniards should be treated with the utmost respect/care.

4.1.1. Cortes reiterates his main point that his people (the Spaniards and the Spanish Army) mean no harm to the Aztecs

5. What ideas are left out?

5.1. The transcription of events leaves out the true intentions that Cortes had when he introduced himself to the Aztec people. It only incorporated the thoughts and opinions that the Aztec people had of the Spaniards during their first encounter, not the other sides thoughts as well.

6. Whose perspective does it reflect?

6.1. This account reflects the perspective of the Aztecs upon first seeing the Spaniards. The Aztecs swiftly connected the image of Cortes and concocted the idea that Cortes was one of the Aztec's many deities. Although this is an account by an Aztec that was transcribed AFTER the conquest by the Spaniards so the influence that this had on the person who was re-telling the first interaction could have been influenced by the Spaniards. There is no way of knowing.

7. Whose perspectives were omitted/questioned/challenged?

7.1. The recount incorporated both perspectives but remained mainly focused on the opinions that the Aztecs held of Cortes and his men. It omitted the entrance that Cortes made by waving swords and riding in on horseback.

7.1.1. By focusing more on the Aztec perspective it resulted in the omission of the true intentions that that the Spaniards and Cortes' army had. That can be illustrated at the end of the recount where Cortes' tells the translator La Malinche to relay to the king of the Aztecs that they "have come to your house in Mexico as friends. There is nothing to fear." It is a false statement made by Cortes, and by only including the Aztec perspective on the encounter it omits the intentions of a whole army in a bloody war.

8. Which questions can this source help me answer? Which can it not?

8.1. This source can help to determine the nature of the meeting between the Aztecs and the Spaniards. It can also paint a picture of the quality/culture/traditions of the Aztecs by listening to the things that Moctezuma recounts when addressing Cortes as his god. This source in not very helpful in determining what exactly happened during the conquest and how much that affected/changed the retelling of Aztec culture/lore.

9. Did it result in change?

9.1. Since this recount was written AFTER the conquest there is a very high chance that this served its purpose of carrying on the story of the Aztecs and the Spaniards first meeting with the Aztec perspective still intact. Because the conquest resulted in the decimation of the Aztec population it allowed for historians to view the perspective of the Aztecs and to piece together the thoughts that they had about the Spaniards prior to the bloody takeover.

10. What does it reveal about the values and beliefs of the past?

10.1. This recount of the first meeting reveals that the Aztecs were a very formidable foe (they had numbers). Otherwise Cortes would not have made such a move as to set up a formal meeting with the king of the Aztecs. When the king of the Aztecs accepts Cortes as a god based solely on the fact that he is having dreams and that of Cortes' appearance, it illustrates that it is a society that is very spiritually aware.

10.1.1. The isolation and reputation that the Aztecs had throughout Mesoamerica and the empire that they were able to build spanning nearly 5-6 million people reveals that they held a very sophisticated system that worked for people. From the 365 day calendar, to their agricultural systems they were quite an advanced society which made them easy rulers....but it also made them easy targets for people like Cortes.