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Hernán Cortés
Suggested Reading



"It seems most credible that our Lord God has purposefully allowed these lands to be discovered, so that Your Majesties may be fruitful and deserving in His sight by causing these barbaric tribes to be enlightened and brought to the faith by Your hand."

Conquest: Cortes, Montezuma, and the Fall of Old Mexico
Drawing on newly discovered sources and writing with brilliance, drama, and profound historical insight, Hugh Thomas presents an engrossing narrative of one of the most significant events of Western history. Ringing with the fury of two great empires locked in an epic battle, Conquest captures in extraordinary detail the Mexican and Spanish civilizations and offers unprecedented in-depth portraits of the legendary opponents, Montezuma and Cortés. Conquest is an essential work of history from one of our most gifted historians.

Cortes and Montezuma
(Maurice Collis)
The convergence of Corts and Montezuma is the most emblematic event in the birth of what would come to be called "America." Landing on the Mexican coast on Good Friday, 1519, Hernn Corts felt himself the bearer of a divine burden to conquer and convert the first advanced civilization Europeans had yet encountered in the West. For Montezuma, leader of the Mexicans, April 21,1519 (known in their sophisticated astronomical system as 9 Wind Day) was the precise date of a dire prophesy: the return of Quetzalcoatl, a fearsome god predicted to arrive by ship, from the East, with light skin, a black beard, robed in black--exactly as Corts would. The ensuing drama is described by eminent historian Maurice Collis in a style that is equal parts story and scholarship. Though its consequences have been treated by writers as diverse as D.H. Lawrence and Charles Olson, never before have the facts of this event been rendered with such extraordinary clarity and elegance.

History of the Conquest of Mexico
(William H. Prescott)
A dramatic and well-documented narrative history describing the Aztec civilization and its conquest by Cortez. Prescott's most popular work, it suggests that the fall of the Aztecs resulted from their oppression of other cultures. Its portrayal of Mexicans in 1519 as backward and barbarous was picked up by newspapers and pamphlets to describe the Mexicans during the Mexican War.

Letters from Mexico
(Hernán Cortés)
Hernán Cortés's Cartas de Relacíon, written over a seven-year period to Charles V of Spain, provide an extraordinary narrative account of the conquest of Mexico from the founding of the coastal town of Veracruz until Cortés's journey to Honduras in 1525. Pagden's English translation has been prepared from a close examination of the earliest surviving manuscript and of the first printed editions, and he also provides a new introduction offering a bold and innovative interpretation of the nature of the conquest and Cortes's involvement in it. J. H. Elliot's introductory essay explains Cortes's conflicts with the Crown and with Diego Velazquez, the governor of Cuba.

The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico
(Miguel Leon-Portillo)
In this updated edition of a classic, Leon-Portilla has included accounts from native Aztec descendents across the centuries. These texts bear witness to the extraordinary vitality of an oral tradition that perserves the viewpoints of the vanquished instead of the victors.

The Conquest of New Spain
(Bernal Diaz del Castillo, John M. Cohen (Translator))
The defeat of the Aztecs by Hernan Cortes and his small band of adventurers is one of the most startling military feats in history. Fifty years after the event Bernal Diaz (c.1489-c.1580), who served under Cortes, wrote this magnificent account of the march from the coast, Montezuma's death, the massacre of the Spaniards and the eventual capture of the capital of Mexico.

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