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Aztec Empire Part II - Final

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ninth Aztec emperor of Mexico, famous for his dramatic confrontation with the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés.

In 1502 Montezuma succeeded his uncle Ahuitzotl as the leader of an empire that had reached its greatest extent, stretching to what is now Honduras and Nicaragua, but that was weakened by the resentment of the subject tribes to the increasing demands for tribute and victims for the religious sacrifices. Montezuma was commander of the army and organized extensive expeditions of conquest in deference to Huitzilopochtli, the god of war and of the sun. Through astrologers, the god instilled in the emperor a kind of fatalism in the face of an uncertain future.

Cortés, Hernán, marqués del Valle de Oaxaca [Credit: © Photos.com/Jupiterimages]The Aztecs feared and expected the return of another important deity, Quetzalcóatl, the white, bearded god who would rule over the empire. Instead, the white, bearded Cortés arrived; he was aware of this fear and used it to his advantage in his expedition across Mexico. Montezuma tried to buy off Cortés, but the Spaniard made alliances with those subject tribes who hated Aztec rule. Welcomed into the capital city of Tenochtitlán by Montezuma, Cortés realized it was a trap and, instead, made the emperor his prisoner, believing that the Aztecs would not attack as long as he held Montezuma captive. Montezuma's submission to the Spaniards, however, had eroded the respect of his people. According to Spanish accounts, he attempted to speak to his subjects and was assailed with stones and arrows, suffering wounds from which he died three days later. The Aztecs, however, believed the Spaniards had murdered their emperor, and Cortés's force was nearly destroyed as it tried to sneak out of Tenochtitlán at night.
- 13th century marks the end of Reconquista endeavors
- Reconquista, English Reconquest,
Alhambra [Credit: © Pixland/Jupiterimages]in medieval Spain and Portugal, a series of campaigns by Christian states to recapture territory from the Muslims (Moors), who had occupied most of the Iberian Peninsula in the early 8th century.

Carolingian dynasty: Carolingian empire [Credit: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.]Though the beginning of the Reconquista is traditionally dated to c. 718, when the Christian Asturians opposed the Moors at the Battle of Covadonga, the impulse toward reconquest was expressed only sporadically through the first three centuries of Muslim hegemony. After a failed invasion of Muslim Spain in 778, in 801 Charlemagne captured Barcelona and eventually established Frankish control over the Spanish March, the region between the Pyrenees and the Ebro River. Asturian kings, presenting themselves as the heirs to the Visigothic monarchy that had ruled Spain prior to the Muslim conquest, capitalized on dissension within the Moorish ranks and expanded their holdings in the late 9th century. The Reconquest might have taken root at that earlier date had it not been for a resurgence in the power of the Córdoban caliphate and a break between the Christian kingdoms of Castile and León in the 10th century.

Alfonso I [Credit: Luis García]In the meantime, the Christian and Islamic peoples of Spain had become tightly associated with each other culturally and economically, to the extent that consequences of the crusading spirit that manifested in the 11th century were often scarcely less harmful to the Christian conquerors than to the conquered Moors. At that time, Moorish unity broke down, and the Christian lands of northern Spain were briefly united under Sancho III Garcés (Sancho the Great), who greatly expanded the holdings of Navarre. Sancho created the kingdom of Aragon in 1035, and his successors there pursued the Christian reclamation of the peninsula in earnest. Alfonso I of Aragon captured the former Moorish capital of Zaragoza in 1118. In 1179 Alfonso II of Aragon and Alfonso VIII of Castile concluded the Pact of Cazorla, an agreement whereby the task of reconquering the Moorish kingdom of Valencia was reserved to the Aragonese crown. In exchange Aragon relinquished all claims to other Moorish-held territory in the peninsula.

After suffering a crushing defeat at the Battle of Alarcos (July 18, 1195) at the hands of the Almohad caliph Abū Yūsuf Yaʿqūb al-Manṣūr, Alfonso VIII appealed to other Christian leaders, and in 1212 he won the support of Pope Innocent III, who declared a Crusade against the Almohads. Supported by the armies of Aragon, Navarre, and Portugal, Castilian forces routed the Almohad emir of Morocco, Muḥammad al-Nāṣir, at Las Navas de Tolosa (July 16, 1212) and so removed the last serious Islamic threat to Christian hegemony in Spain. The way was now open to the conquest of Andalusia.

Ferdinand III [Credit: Luis García]The last king of León, Alfonso IX, was succeeded upon his death in 1230 by his son, Ferdinand III, who was already king of Castile. Castile and León were thus reunited, and the new sovereign at once embarked on a great series of campaigns to subdue Andalusia. Those began with the capture of Córdoba (1236) and culminated in the surrender of Sevilla (1248). Influenced by the crusading zeal instilled into the Spanish church by the Cluniac and Cistercian orders, Ferdinand at first expelled the Moorish inhabitants of the Andalusian cities en masse but was later forced to modify his policy by the collapse of the Andalusian economy that inevitably ensued. He also assented, chiefly for financial reasons, to the establishment of the new Moorish kingdom of Granada under Castilian suzerainty. The Granadine Moors were forced to pay to Castile a sizable annual tribute, but Moorish culture experienced something of a rebirth in Christian Spain. In Toledo, a Castilian city already famous throughout Europe as a crossroads of Christian, Arab, and Jewish thought, Alfonso X established the Escuela de Traductores (School of Translators), an institution that made Arabic works available to the Christian West.

During the same period, James I of Aragon completed Aragon's part in the Reconquest. After occupying the Balearics (1235), he captured Valencia (1238). Unlike Ferdinand, James carefully worked to preserve the agricultural economy of the Moors and so established the final peninsular frontiers of Aragon. In Portugal, Afonso III captured Faro (1249), the last Moorish stronghold in the Algarve. By the end of the 13th century, the Reconquest was, for all practical purposes, brought to an end. The last significant Muslim incursion into Christian Iberia culminated with the Battle of Río Salado (October 30, 1340), where Portuguese and Castilian forces administered a crushing defeat to the armies of Marīnid sultan Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī.

Spanish Inquisition [Credit: © Photos.com/Thinkstock]The kingdoms of Aragon, Castile, and Portugal spent the next century consolidating their holdings, until the marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in 1469 united the Spanish crown. The Catholic Monarchs, as Ferdinand and Isabella came to be known, completed the conquest of Granada in 1492. Many historians believe that the crusading spirit of the Reconquista was preserved in the subsequent Spanish emphasis on religious uniformity, evidenced by the strong influence of the Inquisition and the expulsion of people of Moorish and Jewish descent.
judicial institution ostensibly established to combat heresy in Spain. In practice, the Spanish Inquisition served to consolidate power in the monarchy of the newly unified Spanish kingdom, but it achieved that end through infamously brutal methods.

The rise of the Spanish Inquisition
The medieval inquisition had played a considerable role in Christian Spain during the 13th century, but the struggle against the Moors had kept the inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula busy and served to strengthen their faith. When toward the end of the 15th century the Reconquista was all but complete, the desire for religious unity became more and more pronounced. Spain's Jewish population, which was among the largest in Europe, soon became a target.

Over centuries, the Jewish community in Spain had flourished and grown in numbers and influence, though anti-Semitism had surfaced from time to time. During the reign of Henry III of Castile and Leon (1390-1406), Jews faced increased persecution and were pressured to convert to Christianity. The pogroms of 1391 were especially brutal, and the threat of violence hung over the Jewish community in Spain. Faced with the choice between baptism and death, the number of nominal converts to the Christian faith soon became very great. Many Jews were killed, and those who adopted Christian beliefs—the so-called conversos (Spanish: "converted")—faced continued suspicion and prejudice. In addition, there remained a significant population of Jews who had professed conversion but continued to practice their faith in secret. Known as Marranos, those nominal converts from Judaism were perceived to be an even greater threat to the social order than those who had rejected forced conversion. After Aragon and Castile were united by the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella (1469), the Marranos were denounced as a danger to the existence of Christian Spain. In 1478 Pope Sixtus IV issued a bull authorizing the Catholic Monarchs to name inquisitors who would address the issue. That did not mean that the Spanish sovereigns were turning over to the church the struggle for unity; on the contrary, they sought to use the Inquisition to support their absolute and centralizing regime and most especially to increase royal power in Aragon. The first Spanish inquisitors, operating in Seville, proved so severe that Sixtus IV attempted to intervene. The Spanish crown now had in its possession a weapon too precious to give up, however, and the efforts of the pope to limit the powers of the Inquisition were without avail. In 1483 he was induced to authorize the naming by the Spanish government of a grand inquisitor (inquisitor general) for Castile, and during that same year Aragon, Valencia, and Catalonia were placed under the power of the Inquisition.
Hernán Cortés, marqués del Valle de Oaxaca, Cortés also spelled Cortéz (born 1485, Medellín, near Mérida, Extremadura, Castile [Spain]—died Dec. 2, 1547, Castilleja de la Cuesta, near Sevilla), Spanish conquistador who overthrew the Aztec empire (1519-21) and won Mexico for the crown of Spain.

Cortés was the son of Martín Cortés de Monroy and of Doña Catalina Pizarro Altamarino—names of ancient lineage. "They had little wealth, but much honour," according to Cortés's secretary, Francisco López de Gómara, who tells how, at age 14, the young Hernán was sent to study at Salamanca, in west-central Spain, "because he was very intelligent and clever in everything he did." Gómara went on to describe him as ruthless, haughty, mischievous, and quarrelsome, "a source of trouble to his parents." Certainly he was "much given to women," frustrated by provincial life, and excited by stories of the Indies Columbus had just discovered. He set out for the east coast port of Valencia with the idea of serving in the Italian wars, but instead he "wandered idly about for nearly a year." Clearly Spain's southern ports, with ships coming in full of the wealth and colour of the Indies, proved a greater attraction. He finally sailed for the island of Hispaniola (now Santo Domingo) in 1504.

Years in Hispaniola and Cuba
In Hispaniola he became a farmer and notary to a town council; for the first six years or so, he seems to have been content to establish his position. He contracted syphilis and, as a result, missed the ill-fated expeditions of Diego de Nicuesa and Alonso de Ojeda, which sailed for the South American mainland in 1509. By 1511 he had recovered, and he sailed with Diego Velázquez to conquer Cuba. There Velázquez was appointed governor, and Cortés clerk to the treasurer. Cortés received a repartimiento (gift of land and Indian slaves) and the first house in the new capital of Santiago. He was now in a position of some power and the man to whom dissident elements in the colony began to turn for leadership.

Cortés was twice elected alcalde ("mayor") of the town of Santiago and was a man who "in all he did, in his presence, bearing, conversation, manner of eating and of dressing, gave signs of being a great lord." It was therefore to Cortés that Velázquez turned when, after news had come of the progress of Juan de Grijalba's efforts to establish a colony on the mainland, it was decided to send him help. An agreement appointing Cortés captain general of a new expedition was signed in October 1518. Experience of the rough-and-tumble of New World politics advised Cortés to move fast, before Velázquez changed his mind. His sense of the dramatic, his long experience as an administrator, the knowledge gained from so many failed expeditions, above all his ability as a speaker gathered to him six ships and 300 men, all in less than a month. The reaction of Velázquez was predictable; his jealousy aroused, he resolved to place leadership of the expedition in other hands. Cortés, however, put hastily to sea to raise more men and ships in other Cuban ports.

The expedition to Mexico
When Cortés finally sailed for the coast of Yucatán on February 18, 1519, he had 11 ships, 508 soldiers, about 100 sailors, and—most important—16 horses. In March 1519 he landed at Tabasco, where he stayed for a time in order to gain intelligence from the local Indians. He won them over and received presents from them, including 20 women, one of whom, Marina ("Malinche"), became his mistress and interpreter and bore him a son, Martín. Cortés sailed to another spot on the southeastern Mexican coast and founded Veracruz, mainly to have himself elected captain general and chief justice by his soldiers as citizens, thus shaking off the authority of Velázquez. On the mainland Cortés did what no other expedition leader had done: he exercised and disciplined his army, welding it into a cohesive force. But the ultimate expression of his determination to deal with disaffection occurred when he sank his ships. By that single action he committed himself and his entire force to survival by conquest.

Cortés, Hernán, marqués del Valle de Oaxaca [Credit: © Photos.com/Jupiterimages]Cortés then set out for the Mexican interior, relying sometimes on force, sometimes on amity toward the local Indian peoples, but always careful to keep conflict with them to a strict minimum. The key to Cortés's subsequent conquests lay in the political crisis within the Aztec empire; the Aztecs were bitterly resented by many of the subject peoples who had to pay tribute to them. The ability of Cortés as a leader is nowhere more apparent than in his quick grasp of the situation—a grasp that was ultimately to give him more than 200,000 Indian allies. The nation of Tlaxcala, for instance, which was in a state of chronic war with Montezuma II, ruler of the Aztec empire of Mexico, resisted Cortés at first but became his most faithful ally. Rejecting all of Montezuma's threats and blandishments to keep him away from Tenochtitlán or Mexico, the capital (rebuilt as Mexico City after 1521), Cortés entered the city on November 8, 1519, with his small Spanish force and only 1,000 Tlaxcaltecs. In accordance with the diplomatic customs of Mexico, Montezuma received him with great honour. Cortés soon decided to seize Montezuma in order to hold the country through its monarch and achieve not only its political conquest but its religious conversion.

Cortés, Hernán, marqués del Valle de Oaxaca: Cortés and his men retreating from Tenochtitlán [Credit: © Photos.com/Jupiterimages]Spanish politics and envy were to bedevil Cortés throughout his meteoric career. Cortés soon heard of the arrival of a Spanish force from Cuba, led by Pánfilo Narváez, to deprive Cortés of his command at a time (mid-1520) when he was holding the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán by little more than the force of his personality. Leaving a garrison in Tenochtitlán of 80 Spaniards and a few hundred Tlaxcaltecs commanded by his most reckless captain, Pedro de Alvarado, Cortés marched against Narváez, defeated him, and enlisted his army in his own forces. On his return, he found the Spanish garrison in Tenochtitlán besieged by the Aztecs after Alvarado had massacred many leading Aztec chiefs during a festival. Hard pressed and lacking food, Cortés decided to leave the city by night. The Spaniards' retreat from the capital was performed, but with a heavy loss in lives and most of the treasure they had accumulated. After six days of retreat Cortés won the battle of Otumba over the Aztecs sent in pursuit (July 7, 1520).

Cortés, Hernán, marqués del Valle de Oaxaca: Cuauhtémoc surrenders to Cortés [Credit: The British Library/Heritage-Images]Cortés eventually rejoined his Tlaxcalan allies and reorganized his forces before again marching on Tenochtitlán in December 1520. After subduing the neighbouring territories he laid siege to the city itself, conquering it street by street until its capture was completed on August 13, 1521. This victory marked the fall of the Aztec empire. Cortés had become the absolute ruler of a huge territory extending from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean.

In the meantime, Velázquez was mounting an insidious political attack on Cortés in Spain through Bishop Juan Rodríguez de Fonseca and the Council of the Indies. Fully conscious of the vulnerability of a successful conqueror whose field of operations was 5,000 miles (8,000 km) from the centre of political power, Cortés countered with lengthy and detailed dispatches—five remarkable letters to the Spanish king Charles V. His acceptance by the Indians and even his popularity as a relatively benign ruler was such that he could have established Mexico as an independent kingdom. Indeed, this is what the Council of the Indies feared. But his upbringing in a feudal world in which the king commanded absolute allegiance was against it.

Later years
In 1524 his restless urge to explore and conquer took him south to the jungles of Honduras. The two arduous years he spent on this disastrous expedition damaged his health and his position. His property was seized by the officials he had left in charge, and reports of the cruelty of their administration and the chaos it created aroused concern in Spain. Cortés's fifth letter to the Spanish king attempts to justify his reckless behaviour and concludes with a bitter attack on "various and powerful rivals and enemies" who have "obscured the eyes of your Majesty." But it was his misfortune that he was not dealing simply with a king of Spain but with an emperor who ruled most of Europe and who had little time for distant colonies, except insofar as they contributed to his treasury. The Spanish bureaucrats sent out a commission of inquiry under Luis Ponce de León, and, when he died almost immediately, Cortés was accused of poisoning him and was forced to retire to his estate.

In 1528 Cortés sailed for Spain to plead his cause in person with the king. He brought with him a great wealth of treasure and a magnificent entourage. He was received by Charles at his court at Toledo, confirmed as captain general (but not as governor), and created marqués del Valle. He also remarried, into a ducal family. He returned to New Spain in 1530 to find the country in a state of anarchy and so many accusations made against him—even that he had murdered his first wife, Catalina, who had died that year—that, after reasserting his position and reestablishing some sort of order, he retired to his estates at Cuernavaca, about 30 miles (48 km) south of Mexico City. There he concentrated on the building of his palace and on Pacific exploration.

Finally a viceroy was appointed, after which, in 1540, Cortés returned to Spain. By then he had become thoroughly disillusioned, his life made miserable by litigation. All the rest is anticlimax. "I am old, poor and in debt...again and again I have begged your Majesty...." In the end he was permitted to return to Mexico, but he died before he had even reached Sevilla (Seville).
Prologue
Cortés' expedition arrived at Tenochtitlan, the Mexica capital, on November 8, 1519, taking up residence in a specially designated compound in the city. Soon thereafter, suspecting treachery on the part of their hosts, the Spaniards took Moctezuma II, the king or Hueyi Tlatoani of the Mexica, hostage. Though Moctezuma followed Cortés' instructions in continually assuring his subjects that he had been ordered by the gods to move in with the Spaniards and that he had done so willingly, the Aztecs suspected otherwise. During the following 98 days, Cortés and his native allies, the Tlaxcaltecas, were increasingly unwelcome guests in the capital.

Cortés heads off Spanish punitive expedition[edit]
In June 1520, news from the Gulf coast reached Cortés that a much larger party of Spaniards had been sent by Governor Velázquez of Cuba to arrest Cortés for insubordination. Leaving Tenochtitlan in the care of his trusted lieutenant, Pedro de Alvarado, Cortés marched to the coast, where he defeated the Cuban expedition led by Pánfilo de Narváez sent to capture him. When Cortés told the defeated soldiers about the riches of Tenochtitlan, they agreed to join him. Reinforced by Narvaez's men, Cortés headed back to Tenochtitlan.

Loss of control in Tenochtitlan[edit]
During Cortés' absence, Pedro de Alvarado in Tenochtitlan obtained information that the Aztecs were about to attack him. In response, de Alvarado ordered a preemptive slaughter of Aztec nobles and priests celebrating a festival in the city's main temple. In retaliation, the Aztecs laid siege to the Spanish compound, in which Moctezuma was still being held captive. By the time Cortés returned to Tenochtitlan in late June, the Aztecs had elected a new Hueyi Tlatoani named Cuitláhuac.

Cortés ordered Moctezuma to address his people from a terrace in order to persuade them to stop fighting and to allow the Spaniards to leave the city in peace. The Aztecs, however, jeered at Moctezuma, and pelted him with stones and darts. By Spanish accounts, he was killed in this assault by the Mexica people, though they claim he had been killed instead by the Spanish.
With Moctezuma dead, Cortés and Alvarado knew they were in a precarious position. Under constant attack, with gunpowder and food and water in short supply, Cortés decided to break out of the city by night. In order to put the Aztecs off their guard, he sent messengers asking for a one-week ceasefire, at the end of which the Spaniards would return any treasure of which they were in possession and would be permitted to leave the city peacefully.[1]:296

Since the Aztecs had damaged bridges on four of the eight causeways into the island city, the Spaniards devised a portable bridge they could use in order to cross any unspanned sections of water. Cortés ordered that as much of the accumulated gold and other booty as was feasible be packed and carried away, and invited the Spanish soldiers to take and carry away as much as they wished of the remainder. This invitation would lead to the demise of many soldiers who, overburdened with treasure, found it impossible to navigate the causeways and other obstacles encountered on the way out of the city.[1]:297,306

The Spanish head for the causeway out[edit]
On the night of 10 July 1520,[3] his large army left their compound and headed west, toward the Tlacopan causeway. The causeway was apparently unguarded, and the Spaniards made their way out of their complex unnoticed, winding their way through the sleeping city under the cover of a rainstorm. Before reaching the causeway, they were noticed by Aztec warriors, who sounded the alarm.[1]:298,305 First by a woman drawing water, and then by the priest of Huitzilopochtli from atop Templo Mayor.[2]:85

The fighting was ferocious. As the Spaniards and their native allies reached the causeway, hundreds of canoes appeared in the waters alongside to harry them. The Spaniards fought their way across the causeway in the rain. Weighed down by gold and equipment, some of the soldiers lost their footing, fell into the lake, and drowned. Amid a vanguard of horsemen, Cortés pressed ahead and reached dry land at Tlaxcala, leaving the rest of the expedition to fend for itself in the treacherous crossing.[1]:299-300

Seeing the wounded survivors straggle into the village, Cortés and his horsemen turned back to the causeway, where they encountered Pedro de Alvarado, unhorsed and badly wounded, in the company of a handful of Spaniards and Tlaxcaltecas. According to Bernal Díaz del Castillo, it was at this point that tears came to Cortés' eyes, as he realized the extent of the debacle.[1]:300

Cortés, Alvarado and the strongest and most skilled of the men had managed to fight their way out of Tenochtitlan, although they were all bloodied and exhausted. Cortés himself had been injured in the fighting. All of the artillery had been lost, as had most of the horses.[1]:302

The sources are not in agreement as to the total number of casualties suffered by the expedition. Cortés himself claimed that 154 Spaniards were lost along with over 2,000 native allies. Thoan Cano, another eyewitness to the event, said that 1170 Spaniards died, but this number probably exceeds the total number of Spaniards who took part in the expedition.[4] Francisco López de Gómara, who was not himself an eyewitness, estimated that 450 Spaniards and 4,000 allies died.[5]

Montezuma's son, Chimalpopoca (Moctezuma) was killed and the Tepanec prince Tlaltecatzin.[2]:87 King Cacamatzin, his three sisters and two brothers were also killed.[2]:90

Diaz states the Spaniards suffered 860 soldiers killed, which included those from the later Battle of Otumba. The Tlaxcaltecas lost a thousand. The noncombatants attached to the expedition suffered terribly, 72 casualties, including five Spanish women. The few women who survived included La Malinche the interpreter, Dona Luisa, and María Estrada.[1]:302,305-306

Aftermath[edit]
Further battles awaited the Spaniards and their allies as they fought their way around the north end of Lake Zumpango. Two weeks later, at the Battle of Otumba, not far from Teotihuacan, they turned to fight the pursuing Aztec, decisively defeating them — according to Cortés, because he slew the Aztec commander — and giving the Spaniards a small respite that allowed them to reach Tlaxcala.[1]:303-305

It was there in Tlaxcala that Cortés plotted the siege of Tenochtitlan and the eventual destruction of the Aztec Empire.
- 2nd most important celestial body
- Tlhauitzalpantecuhtli - morning star, skybearers, East
- Aztecs recognized it was in the same spot every 8 years
- Acknowledgment that it was different from the sun - basic idea that it was a planet
- Myth of dangerous Venus rays led to torquoise masks

Among the Aztecs, whose beliefs are the best-documented in the historical sources, Quetzalcoatl was related to gods of the wind, of the planet Venus, of the dawn, of merchants and of arts, crafts and knowledge. He was also the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and knowledge.[8] Quetzalcoatl was one of several important gods in the Aztec pantheon, along with the gods Tlaloc, Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli. Two other gods represented by the planet Venus are Quetzalcoatl's ally Tlaloc who is the god of rain, and Quetzalcoatl's twin and psychopomp who is named Xolotl.

Animals thought to represent Quetzalcoatl include resplendent quetzals, rattlesnakes (coatl meaning serpent in Nahuatl), crows, and macaws. In his form as Ehecatl he is the wind, and is represented by spider monkeys, ducks, and the wind itself.[9] In his form as the morning star, Venus, he is also depicted as a harpy eagle.[10] In Mazatec legends, the astrologer deity Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, who is also represented by Venus, bears a close relationship with Quetzalcoatl.

he feathered serpent was furthermore connected to the planet Venus because of this planet's importance as a sign of the beginning of the rainy season. To both Teotihuacan and Mayan cultures, Venus was in turn also symbolically connected with warfare.[13]

While not usually feathered, classic Maya serpent iconography seems related to the belief in a sky-, Venus-, creator-, war- and fertility-related serpent deity. In the example from Yaxchilan, the Vision Serpent has the human face of the young maize god, further suggesting a connection to fertility and vegetational renewal; the Mayan Young Maize god was also connected to Venus.

In Xochicalco, depictions of the feathered serpent are accompanied by the image of a seated, armed ruler and the hieroglyph for the day sign 9 Wind. The date 9 Wind is known to be associated with fertility, Venus and war among the Maya and frequently occurs in relation to Quetzalcoatl in other Mesoamerican cultures.
- female (usually) star demons
- Patriarchial society - end of the world oppositon of Aztec traditions with power given to female s
0 Itzapaplotl - star demon - goddess of Tamoanchan - most feared god of the pantheon

In Aztec mythology, a Tzitzimitl [t͡siˈt͡simit͡ɬ] (plural Tzitzimimeh [t͡sit͡siˈmimeʔ]) is a deity associated with stars. They were depicted as skeletal female figures wearing skirts often with skull and crossbone designs. In Postconquest descriptions they are often described as "demons" or "devils" - but this does not necessarily reflect their function in the prehispanic belief system of the Aztecs.[1]

Depiction of Itzpapalotl, Queen of the Tzitzimimeh, from the Codex Borgia.
The Tzitzimimeh were female deities, and as such related to fertility, they were associated with the Cihuateteo and other female deities such as Tlaltecuhtli, Coatlicue, Citlalicue and Cihuacoatl and they were worshipped by midwives and parturient women. The leader of the tzitzimimeh was the Goddess Itzpapalotl who was the ruler of Tamoanchan - the paradise where the Tzitzimimeh resided.

The Tzitzimimeh were also associated with the stars and especially the stars that can be seen around the Sun during a solar eclipse. This was interpreted as the Tzitzimimeh attacking the Sun, this caused the belief that during a solar eclipse, the tzitzimime would descend to the earth and devour human beings.[2] The Tzitzimimeh were also feared during other ominous periods of the Aztec world, such as during the five unlucky days called Nemontemi which marked an unstable period of the year count, and during the New Fire ceremony marking the beginning of a new calendar round - both were periods associated with the fear of change.

The Tzitzimimeh had a double role in Aztec religion: they were protectresses of the feminine and progenitresses of mankind. They were also powerful and dangerous, especially in periods of cosmic instability
a Franciscan friar, missionary priest and pioneering ethnographer who participated in the Catholic evangelization of colonial New Spain (now Mexico). Born in Sahagún, Spain, in 1499, he journeyed to New Spain in 1529. He learned Nahuatl and spent more than 50 years in the study of Aztec beliefs, culture and history. Though he was primarily devoted to his missionary task, his extraordinary work documenting indigenous worldview and culture has earned him the title as "the first anthropologist."[1][2] He also contributed to the description of the Aztec language Nahuatl. He translated the Psalms, the Gospels, and a catechism into Nahuatl.

Sahagún is perhaps best known as the compiler of the Historia general de las cosas de la Nueva España (in English): General History of the Things of New Spain (hereinafter referred to as Historia General).[3] The most famous extant manuscript of the Historia General is the Florentine Codex. It is a codex consisting of 2400 pages organized into twelve books, with approximately 2,500 illustrations drawn by native artists using both native and European techniques. The alphabetic text is bilingual in Spanish and Nahuatl on opposing folios, and the pictorials should be considered a third kind of text. It documents the culture, religious cosmology (worldview), ritual practices, society, economics, and history of the Aztec people, and in Book 12 gives an account of the conquest of Mexico from the Tenochtitlan-Tlatelolco point of view. In the process of putting together the Historia general, Sahagún pioneered new methods for gathering ethnographic information and validating its accuracy. The Historia general has been called "one of the most remarkable accounts of a non-Western culture ever composed,"[4] and Sahagún has been called the father of American ethnography.

Sahagún wrote two versions of the conquest of Mexico, the first is Book 12 of the General History, which is exclusively from an indigenous, largely Tlatelolcan viewpoint.[21] He revised the account in 1585, adding passages praising the Spanish, especially Hernan Cortés.[22] The original of the 1585 manuscript is lost. In the late 20th century, a handwritten copy in Spanish was found by John B. Glass in the Boston Public Library, and has been published in facsimile and English translation, with comparisons to Book 12 of the General History.[23] In his introduction ("To the reader") to Book 12 of the Historia General, Sahagún claimed the history of the conquest was a linguistic tool so that friars would know the language of warfare and weapons.[24] Since compiling a history of the conquest from the point of view of the defeated Tenochtitlan-Tlatelolcan could be controversial, Cline suggested that Sahagún may have been prudent in trying to shape how it was perceived.[25] Sahagún's 1585 revision of the conquest narrative, which included praise for Cortés and the Spanish conquest, was completed in a period when work on indigenous texts was under attack. Cline believes that Sahagún likely wrote this version was written with that political situation well in mind, when a narrative of the conquest from the defeated Mexicans' viewpoint was suspect
- ideal: right to labor of population based on conversion, land a minor part
- Forced labor under brutal conditions for the sake of profit - greedy conquistadores hoping to make a new life of wealth in the New World
-

Encomienda, in colonial Spanish America, legal system by which the Spanish crown attempted to define the status of the Indian population in its American colonies. It was based upon the practice of exacting tribute from Muslims and Jews during the Reconquista ("Reconquest") of Muslim Spain. Although the original intent of the encomienda was to reduce the abuses of forced labour (repartimiento) employed shortly after the discovery of the New World, in practice it became a form of enslavement.

As legally defined in 1503, an encomienda (from encomendar, "to entrust") consisted of a grant by the crown to a conquistador, soldier, official, or others of a specified number of Indians living in a particular area. The receiver of the grant, the encomendero, could exact tribute from the Indians in gold, in kind, or in labour and was required to protect them and instruct them in the Christian faith. The encomienda did not include a grant of land, but in practice the encomenderos gained control of the Indians' lands and failed to fulfil their obligations to the Indian population. The crown's attempts to end the severe abuses of the system with the Laws of Burgos (1512-13) and the New Law of the Indies (1542) failed in the face of colonial opposition and, in fact, a revised form of the repartimiento system was revived after 1550.

The encomienda was designed to meet the needs of the colonies' early mining economy. With the catastrophic decline in the Indian population and the replacement of mining activities by agriculture, the system lost its effectiveness and was gradually replaced by the hacienda system of landed estates. The encomienda was not officially abolished, however, until the late 18th century. See also repartimiento.
Repartimiento, ( from Spanish: "partition," or "distribution", ) also called Mita, or Cuatequil, in colonial Spanish America, a system by which the crown allowed certain colonists to recruit Indians for forced labour. The repartimiento system, frequently called the mita in Peru and the cuatequil in New Spain (Mexico), was in operation as early as 1499 and was given definite form about 1575. About 5 percent of the Indians in a given district might be subject to labour in mines and about 10 percent more for seasonal agricultural work. A colonist who wanted a repartimiento had to apply to the viceroy or the audiencia (provincial appeals court), stating that the Indian labour required on his plantation, ranch, or mine would provide the country with essential food and goods.

Legally, the work period was not to exceed two weeks (five in the mines), three or four times annually, and wages were to be paid. These requirements were practically ignored, however, and, because the Indians were often brutally treated, the Spanish government modified the system in 1601 and 1609; under the new arrangement, 25 percent of the Indians in a given district were required to work for the Spaniards, but they were free to choose their own employer and term of service. The former system was permitted to continue in the mines until the owners could purchase enough black slaves to replace the Indians. The new system remained legally in force down to the end of the colonial period (c. 1820). In practice, however, impressment of Indian labourers under the earlier system continued in spite of additional royal prohibitive legislation in the 17th and 18th centuries.
- renamed by Moorish conquerors
Roman rule lasted until the Vandals and then the Visigoths overran the region in the 5th century ce. In 711 ce Muslims under the leadership of Ṭāriq ibn Ziyād crossed the Strait of Gibraltar from Tangier (now in Morocco) and invaded southern Spain, ending Visigothic rule. Henceforth, Andalusia's history was closely linked with that of the North African coast until the end of the 15th century.The Arabic name Al-Andalus was originally applied by the Muslims (Moors) to the entire Iberian Peninsula. It probably means "Country of the Vandals." In the 11th century, when the Christians began to reconquer the peninsula, Al-Andalus, or Andalusia, came to mean only the area still under Muslim control and thus became permanently attached to the modern-day region.After the Muslim conquest, Andalusia became part of the independent Umayyad caliphate of Córdoba, which was founded by ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III in 929. After the breakup of this unified Spanish Muslim state in the early 11th century, Andalusia was divided into a number of small kingdoms, or taifas, the largest of which were Málaga, Sevilla, and Córdoba. These principalities, which warred incessantly among themselves, had begun falling to Christian forces based in León and Castile in the 11th century when they were reinvigorated by a new Muslim invasion from North Africa, that of the Berber Almoravids, who were able to establish centralized rule over Muslim Spain from about 1086 to 1147. The Almoravids were in turn succeeded by another force of Muslim invaders from North Africa, the Almohads, who ruled over Andalusia from about 1147 to 1212.
Colonial period
The Spanish soldier Pedro Arias Dávila (known as Pedrarias) led the first expedition to found permanent colonies in what is present-day Nicaragua. In 1519, when Pedrarias became the governor of Panama, he sent kinsman Gil González Dávila to explore northward toward Nicaragua. González Dávila made the first attempt to conquer the region in 1522 but was repulsed by Indians. Pedrarias then dispatched Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, who founded the cities of Granada and León; by 1524 he had established permanent colonization. Jealous of Hernández de Córdoba's success, Pedrarias had him killed and named himself governor of Nicaragua in 1527. Pedrarias served as governor until his death in 1531.

Overall, the Spanish conquest was a disaster for the indigenous population of Nicaragua's Pacific region. Within three decades an estimated Indian population of one million plummeted to a few tens of thousands, as approximately half the indigenous people died of contagious Old World diseases, and most of the rest were sold into slavery in other New World Spanish colonies. Few were killed in outright warfare.

After the initial depopulation, Nicaragua became a backwater of the Spanish empire. In this setting, Granada and León emerged as competing poles of power and prestige. The former derived its income from agriculture and trade with Spain via the San Juan River; the latter came to depend on commerce with the Spanish colonies of the Pacific coast. Both tiny outposts were subjected to frequent pirate attacks. Late in the 17th century, Great Britain formed an alliance with the Miskito people of the Caribbean coastal region, where the community of Bluefields had been established. The British settled on the Mosquito Coast, and for a time (1740-86) the region was a British dependency.
JEWS, EXPULSION OF (SPAIN; PORTUGAL). The Iberian kingdoms were neither the first nor the last to expel their Jewish populations: England expelled its Jews in 1290, France expelled its Jews in 1306, and periodic expulsions of the Jews took place across Europe throughout the early modern period. But the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, from Portugal in 1497, and from Navarre in 1498 has long been seen as a critical turning point in the history of Iberia and in the history of Sephardic or Spanish Jewry.

THE EXPULSION IN SPAIN

The decree ordering the expulsion of the Jews from Spain was issued 31 March 1492, though it was not officially announced in many cities until several weeks later. Jews were given six months to leave. The decree met with immediate protest in some quarters by those who thought that the kingdoms should not have expelled such "industrious" people. Indeed, some of Ferdinand and Isabella's most important advisers, such as Don Isaac Abravanel, emigrated. Others worried that the decree might provoke anti-Jewish violence, which was against the statutes of the church. Many Spaniards, though, applauded the decree of expulsion and leapt at the opportunity to take advantage of it. Jews were required to sell their property and could not even take jewels or coins with them; as a result, unscrupulous Old Christians bought the property of desperate Jews for a fraction of its true value. Once on the road toward the border towns and ports that would be their last stopping place in Spain, the Jews' troubles continued. One contemporary chronicler, Andrés Bernáldez, described the sad families walking in slow procession to the border, lamenting their fate.

Despite the number of Jews who fled before the edict of expulsion, it is not clear that Ferdinand and Isabella expected or wanted the Jews to leave. In fact, it appears that many, if not most, Jews converted to Christianity to stay in the country. Perhaps the most notable convert was the chief rabbi of Castile, Don Abraham Seneor, who was baptized at the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Extremadura, with Isabella and Ferdinand standing as godparents. Exact numbers of those who stayed and those who left are difficult to ascertain, but Henry Kamen estimates that there were no more than 70,000 Jews in Castile (about 1.6 percent of the population) and no more than 10,000 Jews in Aragon (about 1.2 percent of the population). Of those, the best evidence suggests that most converted rather than emigrated. Over ten thousand Jews left via the Mediterranean coast in 1492-1493 (including Aragonese and Castilian Jews), and possibly as many as forty to fifty thousand left overall, traveling west to Portugal and north to Navarre, as well as south to Africa, east to Italy and—over time—to Ottoman territory in the eastern Mediterranean. Yet even the figure of fifty thousand may well be high, since many of those who left in 1492 had returned and converted by 1499. Isabella and Ferdinand encouraged conversion and return, promising in a decree that houses, property, and goods would be returned to their former owners for the price for which they were sold. Enforcement of this decree was inconsistent, but, nonetheless, evidence from many sources suggests that many exiles returned, particularly after Portugal and Navarre expelled or converted their Jewish populations, too.

THE EXPULSIONS IN PORTUGAL AND NAVARRE

Portugal received the clear majority of Spain's exiled Jews. Its proximity, cultural similarity, and economic ties made it an ideal destination for the unwilling exiles. Yet Portugal would not prove to be a permanent haven. When King Manuel wished to marry the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Spanish monarchs demanded that Portugal expel its Jews. Manuel agreed, and five days after the marriage agreement was signed, on 5 December 1496, he issued a decree giving Portugal's Jews eleven months to leave the country. Again, the long delay between publication of the edict and the date in which it took effect suggests a lack of enthusiasm for the project, and Manuel's actions emphasize that his primary concern was conversion. Initially, he instructed the Jews to leave from one of three ports, but soon he restricted them to leaving from Lisbon only. When October 1497 arrived, the thousands of Jews assembled there were forcibly converted. Portugal's mass forced baptisms precipitated another exodus, this time of Spanish Jews returning home.

Tiny Navarre, in the north of the Iberian Peninsula, also suffered dual pressure, first from trying to assimilate Spanish Jewish exiles, and later from the Spanish government to expel or convert its Jewish population. Benjamin Gampel estimated that in the mid-1490s Navarre had approximately 3,550 Jews (about 3.5 percent of the population). That relatively high percentage, compared to the percentages in Castile and Aragon, was certainly due to the presence of Spanish exiles in Navarre. Even more so than with Portugal, Ferdinand and Isabella exerted much pressure on the small neighboring kingdom, and the threat of Spanish annexation was constant. The decree, which has not survived, was public knowledge by the beginning of 1498 and required that Navarrese Jewry convert or leave by sometime in March 1498.
- Purity of blood laws
After the end of the Reconquista and the expulsion or conversion of Muslim Mudéjars (the overwhelming majority of whom descended from native Iberians who converted to Islam under Muslim rule[2]) and Sephardic Jews, the population of Portugal and Spain was all nominally European Christian. However, the ruling class and much of the populace distrusted the recently converted "New Christians", referring to them as conversos or marranos if they were baptized Jews or descended from them, or Moriscos if they were baptized Muslims or descended from them. A commonly leveled accusation was that the New Christians were false converts, secretly practicing their former religion as Crypto-Jews or Crypto-Muslims. Nevertheless, the concept of cleanliness of blood came to be more focused on ancestry than of personal religion. The first statute of purity of blood appeared in Toledo, 1449,[3] where an anti-Converso riot succeeded in obtaining a ban on Conversos and their posterity from most official positions. Initially, these statutes were condemned by the monarchy and the Church; however, in 1496, Pope Alexander VI approved a purity statute for the Hieronymite Order.[3]

This stratification meant that the Old Christian commoners could assert a right to honor even if they were not in the nobility. The religious and military orders, guilds and other organizations incorporated in their bylaws clauses demanding proof of cleanliness of blood. Upwardly mobile New Christian families had to either contend with their plight, or bribe and falsify documents attesting generations of good Christian ancestry. The Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions were more concerned with repressing the New Christians and heresy than chasing witches, which was considered to be more a psychological than a religious issue, or Protestants, who were promptly suffocated
Alvarado went to Santo Domingo in 1510 and in 1518 commanded one of Juan de Grijalba's ships sent from Cuba to explore the Yucatán Peninsula. In February 1519 he accompanied the army, led from Cuba by Hernán Cortés, that was to conquer Mexico. Alvarado was first placed in charge of Tenochtitlán (later Mexico City) in 1520 when Cortes left the city to meet a rival Spanish force on the coast. When Aztecs gathered in the square to celebrate the festival of Toxcatl, Alvarado feared an uprising and ordered his men to strike first. About 200 Aztec chiefs were massacred by Alvarado's men, who were in turn besieged in their quarters by an angry mob. Upon his return, Cortes learned of the attack and uprising and quickly planned a nighttime retreat from Tenochtitlán. On the night of June 30, 1520, known as noche triste ("sad night"), Cortes and his men attempted to leave the city quietly but were spotted by the Aztecs. Fierce fighting erupted, and Alvarado, who was leading the rear guard, narrowly escaped, thanks largely to a spectacular leap across a canal. The Spanish recaptured Tenochtitlán in 1521, and in 1522 Alvarado became the city's first alcalde (mayor or principal magistrate).

In 1523 Alvarado conquered the Quiché and Cakchiquel of Guatemala and in 1524 founded Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala (Ciudad Vieja; present Antigua, Guat.). This town became the first capital of the captaincy general of Guatemala, later including much of Central America, of which Alvarado was governor (1527-31).

The Atlatl wasn't a weapon in itself but was a projectile launching device used by the Aztec warriors to throw their Tlacochtli spear over a longer range. The Atlatl worked by adding extra leverage by extending the arm by another forearms length. This would allow the Aztec to launch the tlacochtli spear a much greater distance.
The tlacochtli itself was an Aztec spear, that the Aztec would launch with the previously mentioned Atlatl. The tlacochtli itself was similar in construction to the Tepoztopilli, it had a wooden shaft and a small wooden head. The head of the tlacochtli was grooved on the sides, and lined with sharpened obsidian to allow the tlacochtli to piece or cut anyone that it would strike.
- attempts to reign in Cortes, cortes departs temporarily and Pedro de Alvarado placed in high charge
-Cortes conquers Narvaez - gains loyalty of men through diplomacy

Panfilo de Narváez, (born c. 1478, Valladolid, Castile [Spain]—died November 1528, Gulf of Mexico), Spanish conquistador, colonial official, and explorer.

Narváez entered military service as a youth and arrived in Jamaica as one of the island's first settlers. Later he commanded a company of archers during Diego Velásquez's campaign to conquer and pacify Cuba. He was rewarded for his services with public offices and extensive land grants on the island. In March 1520 he left Cuba, commanding a fleet of ships and about 900 men with orders from Velásquez to capture and replace Hernán Cortés as ruler of Mexico. Cortés, who had been charged with treason and disloyalty, defeated the expedition. Narváez was taken prisoner with most of his men; he was released the next year on orders from Spain and returned to Cuba.

In 1526 Narváez received authorization and numerous governing titles from Charles V to subdue and colonize vast lands from Florida westward. He sailed from Spain on June 17, 1527, with five ships and about 600 soldiers, sailors, and colonists. In Santo Domingo 140 men deserted the expedition, and in Cuba a hurricane sank two of the ships, killing 50 men and several horses. Narváez remained in Cuba until late February 1528, then sailed with five ships and 400 followers to the region around Tampa Bay in Florida. After claiming the land for Spain, Narváez began an overland expedition in May with about 300 men. The force made a difficult and distressing march northward, continually fighting Indians, until the survivors reached the area of present-day St. Marks, Florida, near the end of July.

Since the vessels from the expedition failed to come to their aid, Narváez's suffering survivors had to construct additional ships. They built five vessels, and in late September, 245 men sailed along the coast, hoping to reach Mexico. The ships drifted along the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico, passing Pensacola Bay and the mouth of the Mississippi River. As the journey progressed, the boats were gradually lost, and at about the beginning of November 1528, Narváez disappeared when his own vessel was suddenly blown out to sea. Only four men survived the expedition.
a social class in the caste system of the overseas colonies established by Spain in the 16th century, especially in Hispanic America, comprising the locally born people of confirmed European (primarily Spanish) ancestry.[1]

The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born (yet class of commoners) permanent resident colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes — people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans. According to the casta system, a Criollo could have up to 1/8 (one great-grandparent or equivalent) Amerindian ancestry and not lose social place (see Limpieza de sangre).[2] In the 18th and early 19th centuries, changes in the Spanish Empire's policies towards her colonies (and their polyglot of peoples) led to tensions between the Criollos and the Peninsulares.[citation needed] The growth of local Criollo political and economic strength in their separate colonies coupled with their global geographic distribution, and led them to each evolve a separate (both from each other and Spain) organic national personality and viewpoint. Criollos were the main supporters of the Spanish American wars of independence.[citation needed]

The term criollo is not to be confused with the English/French creole. The word "creole" is applied to many ethnic groups around the world who have no historic connection to Spain or to any colonial system. Indeed, many of those creole peoples were never a distinct social caste, and were never defined in terms of racial purity concepts.
What, for simplicity or lack of comparison, the Europeans called a "sword" was actually a sort of wooden staff, called macuahuitl, a Nahua term which means "Hand stick or wood", and it bears no real similarity with the Western sword.

According to Aztec military strategy, once archers and slingers withdrew when they became too close to the enemy or ran out of projectiles, warriors carrying shock weapons, such as macuahuitl, would step forward and begin start a close-quarter combat.

These wooden staffs usually were made of a plank of oak or pine between 50 cm and 1 meter (~ 1.6-3.2 ft) long. The earliest macuahuitl was a one-handed weapon; later versions had to be held with two hands. In both versions, the shape was similar to a paddle, with a narrow handle and a larger part on top, about 3-4 inches wide. Along both edges were placed sharp obsidian blades of about 1 to 2 inches large.

The sharp blades were kept together with some natural adhesive.

These weapons were probably not designed to kill, since the wooden blade would not have incurred any deep penetration into flesh. However, the Aztec/Mexica could inflict considerable damage on their enemies by using the macuahuitl to slash and cut. Direct accounts from Conquistadors Bernal Diaz del Castillo and Hernan Cortés claim that such weapons could severe a horse's head.

Furthermore, the sharp obsidian blades placed into the edge of the blade would have penetrated the tissues and fractured bones, preventing quick healing of the wound.
Nahua, Middle American Indian population of central Mexico, of which the Aztecs (see Aztec) of pre-Conquest Mexico are probably the best known members. The language of the Aztecs, Nahua, is spoken by all the Nahua peoples in a variety of dialects.

The modern Nahua are an agricultural people; their staple crops are corn (maize), beans, chili peppers, tomatoes, and squash. Also common are maguey (the Mexican century plant), sugarcane, rice, and coffee. The primary farming tools are the wooden plow, hoe, and digging stick. Groups of three or four men may cultivate corn, beans, and squash collectively, using slash-and-burn techniques to clear new land. Chickens and turkeys are also raised, and pigs, goats, and donkeys are often kept. Settlements consist of central villages divided into four sections (barrios) grouped around a central church; each barrio recruits compulsory labour to work village common lands in addition to private farming.

Weaving of cotton and wool is the chief craft among the Nahua, whose skill is great in this respect. Both men and women weave, men usually on the European upright loom and women more often on the native belt loom. Fibres of the maguey plant are also woven to make carrying cloths and sacks. Pottery, rope making, palm-fibre weaving, and adobe brickmaking are other crafts practiced.

Nahua houses are usually one-room structures of cane, wood, adobe, or stone, with thatch or tile roofs. Traditional clothing consists of a long wraparound skirt, blouse (huipil), sash (faja), short triangular cape (quechquemitl), and a shawl (rebozo) for women; short white cotton pants, cotton shirt, faja, woollen overshirt, sandals, and straw hat for men. Ready-made clothes are commonly worn by Nahua men, however, and women may wear dark skirts and white blouses made of commercial cloth.

The social institution of godparenthood (compadrazgo) is widely practiced, and parents and godparents are felt to have strong ties. The Nahua are Roman Catholics, oriented toward the patron saints of their villages as well as the Virgin of Guadalupe and various "Cristos" involved in local legend. Witchcraft is commonly believed in, along with a variety of pagan or semipagan supernatural creatures. Pagan religious rituals, except as they relate to witchcraft, are no longer practiced.
- first grand inquisitor; "hammer of the heretics" - promoted burning non catholic literature and the torture of heretics

Tomás de Torquemada, (born 1420, Valladolid, Castile [Spain]—died September 16, 1498, Ávila, Castile), first grand inquisitor in Spain, whose name has become synonymous with the Christian Inquisition's horror, religious bigotry, and cruel fanaticism.

The nephew of a noted Dominican cardinal and theologian, Juan de Torquemada, the young Torquemada joined the Dominicans and in 1452 became prior of the monastery of Santa Cruz at Segovia, an office that he held for 22 years. He was closely associated with the religious policy of King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I, to whom he was both confessor and adviser (to Isabella, from her childhood). He was convinced that the existence of the Marranos (Jewish converts), Moriscos (Islamic converts), Jews, and Moors was a threat to the religious and social life of Spain, and his influence with the Catholic monarchs enabled him to affect their policies. In August 1483 he was appointed grand inquisitor for Castile and León, and on October 17 his powers were extended to Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, and Majorca.

In his capacity as grand inquisitor, Torquemada reorganized the Spanish Inquisition, which had been set up in Castile in 1478, establishing tribunals at Sevilla (Seville), Jaén, Córdoba, Ciudad Real, and, later, Zaragoza. In 1484 he promulgated 28 articles for the guidance of inquisitors, whose competence was extended to include not only crimes of heresy and apostasy but also sorcery, sodomy, polygamy, blasphemy, usury, and other offenses; torture was authorized in order to obtain evidence. These articles were supplemented by others promulgated between 1484 and 1498. The number of burnings at the stake during Torquemada's tenure has been estimated at about 2,000.

Torquemada's implacable hostility to the Jews probably exercised an influence on the decision of Ferdinand and Isabella to expel from their dominions all Jews who had not embraced Christianity. Under the edict of March 31, 1492, more than 40,000 Jews left Spain.

In his private life Torquemada seems to have been pious and austere, but his official career as inquisitor was marked by a harsh intransigence, which nevertheless was generally supported by public opinion, at least in the early years. Within his own order he was influential as visitator of the reformed Dominican priories of Aragon (1481-88), and his interest in the arts is evidenced in the monastery of St. Thomas at Ávila, where he died. In his final years, Torquemada's health and age, coupled with widespread complaints, caused Pope Alexander VI to appoint four assistant inquisitors in June 1494 to restrain him.
- shipwrecked in Yucaton with Gonzalo Guerrero
-Aguilar valued for knowing the Mayan languaged - Cortes buy him - pissed at Mayans as being traded as a prisoner of War and quickly allies with Cortes
- New translator, but does not know Nahuatl - loses value quickly with the availability with other translators

Gerónimo de Aguilar O.F.M. (1489-1531) was a Franciscan friar born in Écija, Spain. Aguilar was later involved with the 1519 Spanish conquest of Mexico, and with La Malinche he assisted Hernán Cortés in translating indigenous language to Spanish.

Aguilar wound up at the colony of Santa María la Antigua del Darién, founded in Panama in 1510. Due to ongoing disputes and divisions among the leaders of the colony, in 1511 Aguilar left Panama on a caravel sailing to Santo Domingo. He took with him legal documents for a case against the other faction of the colony, as well as a large sum of gold for the proceedings. The ship sailed with a complement of sixteen men and two women. They were shipwrecked near the Yucatán Peninsula due to hitting a sand bar. The crew and passengers got into a small boat, hoping to reach Cuba or Jamaica. but strong currents brought them in their ship's boat to the coast of the modern-day Mexican state of Quintana Roo.[1]:64-65

Aguilar and 11-12 other survivors[2] were captured by the local Maya and scheduled to be sacrificed to Maya gods. Valdivia and four others met this fate. Others died of disease and, in the case of the women, overwork as slaves. Aguilar and Gonzalo Guerrero (a sailor from Palos de la Frontera in Spain) managed to escape, later to be taken as slaves by another Mayan chief named Xamanzana who was hostile to the first tribe.[3] Here he and Guerrero were able to learn the language of their captors. Aguilar lived as a slave during his eight years with the Maya. His continued fidelity to his religious vows led him to refuse the offers of women made to him by the chief. Guerrero became a war chief for Nachan Kaan, Lord of Chektumal, married a rich Maya woman and fathered the first mestizo children of Mexico.

Hernán Cortés invaded Mexico in 1519. He heard word of there being bearded men among a neighboring tribe. Suspecting that they were fellow Spaniards, he sent word to them. Eventually Aguilar reached them and joined the expedition.[1]:60-64 He demonstrated his fidelity to his faith by correctly identifying the day of week, from a steadfast following of his breviary, which he had been able to keep through all the years of his captivity. Speaking both Maya and Spanish, he, and La Malinche, who could speak Maya and Nahuatl, translated for Cortés during the Conquest of Mexico. His usefulness in that capacity ended once La Malinche had learned Spanish.
- Mayan Players as Rivals
- Part of the Itza Maya
- Last to be conquered by the Spanish in 1697
- Indicative of the on-going colonial ambition of the Spanish
- The site is in the southern Maya lowlands on a small island in Lake Petén Itzá. This island is now part of the Department of Petén in northern Guatemala. Tayasal was the capital of one of the last independent Maya polities to be conquered by the Spanish conquistadores and colonizers, along with Zacpeten (the capital of the Ko'woj Maya) and Eixequil (the Yalnain capital), in 1697.

As an archaeological site, it was heavily damaged by the Spanish after its fall. The capital city of the modern Petén department, Flores, has been built over the island and the nearby shores of the lake.

The Itza left the Yucatán region in the 13th century and built the city later known as Tayasal as their capital. They called it Noh Petén, or literally "City Island". It was also called Tah Itzá, or Place of the Itzá.

In 1541, Hernán Cortés came to the island, on route to Honduras, but needed to move on and did not try to conquer it due to its very good defensive position.

The Spanish were not able to conquer the island until 1697, after several attempts, that begun in 1629, when they marched in, from Corozal in Belize, Yucatán and Alta Verapaz, attacked with boats, and destroyed it. Many Itzá people hid in the jungle for years. The structures of Noh Petén were turned into the Roman Catholic Church and other buildings in the city of Flores.
Life[edit]
La Malinche (also known as Malinalli or Malintzin) was born sometime between 1496 and 1501,[4] in a then "frontier" region between the Aztec-ruled Valley of Mexico and the Maya states of the Yucatán Peninsula. She was named "Malinalli" after the Goddess of Grass, and later "Tenepal" meaning "one who speaks with liveliness."[5]

In her youth, her father, Cacique of Paynala, died and her mother remarried another Cacique, and bore a son. Now an inconvenient stepchild, the girl was sold or given to some people from Xicalango. Bernal Díaz del Castillo claims Malinalli's family faked her death by telling the townspeople that a recently deceased child of a slave was Malinalli. The Xicalango gave the child to the Tobascans.[6]:85

The Conquest of Mexico[edit]

Codex Azcatitlan, Hernán Cortés and Malinche(far right),(early 16th-century indigenous pictorial manuscript of the conquest of Mexico.)
Malinalli was introduced to the Spanish in April 1519, when she was among twenty slave women given by the Chontal Maya of Potonchán (in the present-day state of Tabasco) after the Spaniards defeated them in battle.[6] At this time, she was probably in her late teens or early twenties. Bernal Díaz del Castillo remarked on her beauty and graciousness; she was the only one of the slaves whose name he remembered. (He called her "Marina," the Christian name she took upon being baptized in 1519.) Cortés singled her out as a gift for Alonso Hernandez Puertocarrero, perhaps the most well-born member of the expedition.[6]:82 Soon, however, Puertocarrero was on his way to Spain as Cortés' emissary to Charles V, and Cortés kept her by his side for her value as an interpreter who spoke two native languages—Mayan and Nahuatl.

According to Díaz, she spoke to emissaries from Moctezuma in their native tongue Nahuatl and pointed to Cortés as the chief Spaniard to speak for them. Cortés had located a Spanish priest, Gerónimo de Aguilar, who had spent several years in captivity among the Maya peoples in Yucatán following a shipwreck. Thus, he had learned some Mayan, but he did not speak Nahuatl. Cortés used Marina (her Christian name) for translating between the Nahuatl language (the common language of central Mexico of that time) and the Chontal Maya language. Then Aguilar could interpret from Mayan to Spanish,[6]:86 until Marina learned Spanish and could be the sole interpreter.

She accompanied Cortés so closely that Aztec codices always show her picture drawn alongside of Cortés. The natives of Tlaxcala, who formed an alliance with Cortés against Moctezuma, called both Marina and Cortés by the same name: Malintzin. (The -tzin suffix was the Nahuatl equivalent of "sir" or "lady" bestowed on them by the Tlaxcalans.)

According to surviving records, Marina learned of a plan by natives of Cholula to cooperate with the Aztecs to destroy the small Spanish army. She alerted Cortés to the danger and even pretended to be cooperating with her native informants while Cortés foiled their plot to trap his men. Cortés turned the tables on them and instead, slaughtered many Cholulans.[6]

Following the fall of Tenochtitlán in late 1521 and the birth of her son Martín Cortés in 1522, Marina stayed in a house Cortés built for her in the town of Coyoacán, 8 miles south of Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital city, while it was being rebuilt as Mexico City. Cortés took Marina to quell a rebellion in Honduras in 1524-26 when she is seen serving again as interpreter (suggestive of a knowledge of Maya dialects beyond Chontal and Yucatán.) While in the mountain town of Orizaba in central Mexico, she married Juan Jaramillo, a Spanish hidalgo.[7] Historians such as Prescott generally lost track of Marina after her journey to Central America. Some contemporary scholars have estimated that she died less than a decade after the conquest of Mexico-Tenochtitlan at some point in 1529.[8] Historian Sir Hugh Thomas in his book "Conquest" reports the probable date of her death as 1551, deduced from letters he discovered in Spain alluding to her as alive in 1550 and deceased after 1551.[9] She was survived by her son Don Martín, who would be raised primarily by his father's family, and a daughter Doña María who would be raised by Jaramillo and his second wife Doña Beatriz de Andrada.[10]

Role of La Malinche in the Conquest of Mexico[edit]

La Malinche and Hernán Cortés in the city of Xaltelolco, in a drawing from the late 16th century codex History of Tlaxcala.
For the conquistadores, having a reliable interpreter was important enough, but there is evidence that Marina's role and influence were larger still. Bernal Díaz del Castillo, a soldier who, as an old man, produced the most comprehensive of the eye-witness accounts, the Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva España ("True Story of the Conquest of New Spain"), speaks repeatedly and reverentially of the "great lady" Doña Marina (always using the honorific title, "Doña"). "Without the help of Doña Marina," he writes, "we would not have understood the language of New Spain and Mexico." Rodríguez de Ocaña, another conquistador, relates Cortés' assertion that after God, Marina was the main reason for his success.

The evidence from indigenous sources is even more interesting, both in the commentaries about her role, and in her prominence in the codex drawings made of conquest events. In the Lienzo de Tlaxcala (History of Tlaxcala), for example, not only is Cortés rarely portrayed without Marina poised by his side, but she is shown at times on her own, seemingly directing events as an independent authority. If she had been trained for court life, as in Díaz's account, her relationship to Cortés may have followed the familiar pattern of marriage among native elite classes. The role of the Nahua wife acquired through an alliance would have been to assist her husband achieve his military and diplomatic objectives.[11]

Today's historians give great credit to Doña Marina's diplomatic skills, with some "almost tempted to think of her as the real conqueror of Mexico."[12] In contrast with earlier parts of Díaz del Castillo's account, after Doña Marina's diplomacy began assisting Cortés, the Spanish were forced into combat on one more occasion.[13]