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The Spanish Conquest Diary - Aztec Empire
Transcript of The Spanish Conquest Diary - Aztec Empire
Cuba, February 18th, 1519
I left Spain a while a go, as I missed the New World, and I can't help but being curious about it. I have been living here in Cuba for quite a while, training as a soldier and working on my carpentry skills. It has paid off, because I have been chosen to accompany Hernan Cortes on another expedition! I am going with 600 men. He is a politician, but also daring and greedy, and ambitious for more wealth, slaves and adventure. Cortes' full name is Hernando Cortes Pizarro, and he has married the sister-in-law of Governer Velazquez, Catalina Xuarex. I know that he is around 34, and he was born in Medellin, Spain, to an upper class family. He was a sickly child. He is launching this expedition without permission, and I am a little bit nervous to disobey orders. Anyway, I am so excited to discover something entirely new. I have little interest in gold but more in the cultures of new people. So, wish me luck on this adventurous expedition!
Yucatan Peninsula, 4th March 1519
We have arrived on unknown lands, and have become known to the Natives of this place, called the Aztecs. They showed kindness and generosity, presenting gifts to Cortes. Cortes has quickly allied with them. They have told him of the Great Empire, Tenochtitlan. The natives that we talked to hate the Empire. Cortes is told these people that he is a God, and they really believe him! Now we are going from state to state, taking control and subduing the Aztecs by telling them we are Gods and scaring them with our canons and ferocity. Many have already come to our side already. We are making our way to the city of Tlaxcala.
We are on friendly terms with the Tlaxcala, who also hate the Aztec Empire, because they sacrificed too many of their people...? I think we misunderstood that. I've never heard of such evilness and cruelty. The ruler also told Cortes that the Aztec empire is controlled by a political body called the Triple Alliance, made up of the Mexica in Tenochtitlan, the Acolhua in Texcoco, and the Tepaneca people of Tlacopan.
We traveled to the city of Cholula. While I was with a few others staying behind to look after the camp, there was a dispute and I heard many gunshots. Cortes and the rest of them came back saying they killed many, but I'm still unsure why.
Tenochtitlan, November 8th 1519
We had finally reached the city of Tenochtitlan. It is a very clean city that gets sweeped often. It is incredible; a city built on a swamp they said, turned into something magnificent. There are three massive roads of stone leading from the city, in the directions of North, East and West to the mainland. There are great canals everywhere so trade can come in and out, There are stone temples everywhere, unlike anything I've ever seen before. The temples in the centre of the city and it's twin pyramids represent deities, life, death, fertility and war. A little bit creepy. But it is a beautiful, extraordianary city. For now, we are now honoured guests the emperor, Moctezuma II, but there seems to be tension in the air. Moctezuma had mentioned there was a comet spotted in the sky, and apparently, this meant to signify impending doom. I don't believe this, but it is quite coincidental that Cortes has come at this time, as he is a vicious and merciless man. I would fear for these people but from what I have seen I am in fear of them.
The Aztecs believe that their Sun God, Huitzilpotchli, will stop serving them in war and will stop all motion and the sun from orbiting Earth unless they feed him. In order to feed him, they sacrifice humans. The Knights of the Eagle and the Knights of the Jaguar go to states the Empire are in control of and choose suitable human sacrifices. The sacrifices are taken to the top of the pyramids and laid on a flat stone. A priest than plunges a dagger to their heart and rips it out, showing it to the dying human and to the sun. The sacrifices are then rolled down the steps and later cooked and eaten by the citizens, as they do not have livestock. The sacrificial area was ankle-deep in blood. I regurgitated for days. These people truly frighten me.
Cortes has took Moctezuma hostage and stole many ancient treasures of the Aztecs. Mistrust between the Aztecs and us has caused rivalry and conflict, and we have fled the city, losing many men. We are returning to the coast to defeat a rival Spanish army.
We have defeated that army. They must have been very displeased that Cortes ignored orders. Anyway, the one's that hadn't perished under our forces are coming with us back to Tenochtitlan. I think we are going to try and take over the Aztec Empire.
The Aztecs of Tenochtitlan have killed their own emperor Moctezuma, and have a new leader, Cuitahuac. We have allied with with the Tlaxcala, who are very eager to defeat the Empire once and for all. Assault on the empire has begun. Their armies are a very hardy and resilient people to overcome. We have taken over most of the Aztec cities have been conquered. I have come so close to death so many times. I am very bruised and battered, and I've nearly had my arm chopped off. I feel a bit guilty for taking these people's lands. But, this savage practice of human sacrifice must be stopped. On the 1st of July we were driven back from the city by Aztec forces. This time it was serious. I was stabbed in the leg, not deep luckily, and my right ear has been cut off. So many of our warriors and our native allies died that night. It is known as La Noche Triste - The Sad Night. Cuitahuac has died of smallpox. The new leader is Cuauhetemoc.
Tenochtitlan 13th August, 1521
Almost the entire Aztec population has been killed by the smallpox, while at the same time they have been continuously attacked by us for 80 days. Now all who have survived them have been killed today. The city has been burnt down and we have officially taken over. Cortes has appointed himself Governer of Mexico, the new name for this land. The new city that will be built over Tenochtitlan will be called Mexico City. I think all the blood, war, death, rage and grief I have seen is enough. It is time to go home, to Spain.
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