The Downfall Of The Spanish Conquistadors

1075 Words 5 Pages
Intro
In 1522, the Aztecs was a Mesoamerican civilisation at the height of its power, atop its pedestal conquering neighbouring territories back and forth. A far cry from the downfall they would experience soon after. Despite the fact that they were at the height of their power, more than a few factors were already leading to the culmination of their demise even before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. The ever so-popular ‘tradition’ of human sacrifice with Mesoamerican civilizations due to religion was one of the many catalysts of their downfall. As the sacrifices rose in an alarming rate, friendships were tested, allegiances were made and trust is re-discovered and lost. The arrival of the Spanish conquistadors led by Hernan Cortes
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Religion played a key role in their downfall because it correlates highly with the act of human sacrifice. No other people practiced human sacrifice on such a scale, or with such variety and pomp. Ritual killing permeated them and their predecessors. Thousands of people were decapitated, stoned, drowned, burned, crushed to death or cut open to have their living hearts removed as part and parcel of religious festivals.We can see this from numerous factors such as the sculptures of their gods on their temple. A significant one would be, the Large sculpture of the dismembered corpse of the Moon goddess, which stood in front of the Aztecs ' Great Temple in today 's Mexico City. Each severed limb is shown as a Divine, wearing a God mask. Many Aztec sculptures and illustrations depicted the shattered or sacrificed bodies of the gods. In their defence, the Aztecs thought they were feeding the sun so that it would not stay stationary. The arrival of the conquistadors also coincided with the religious connotation of the prophecy of Quetzacoatl’s possible comeback and so it is without a doubt that Hernan Cortes used this to his benefit. This idea is supported by Montezuma’s translated speech, “Of what avail is resistance,when the gods have declared themselves against us? Yet I …show more content…
One of Cortés’ men contracted smallpox from a member of the force from Cuba. That soldier died during the Aztec rebellion, and when his body was looted, an Aztec caught the disease, which spread like wildfire because the Aztec people had no immunity to it; One Spanish death constituted the death of thousands of Aztecs. Disease became widespread at an alarming rate, killing off thousands upon thousands of Aztecs; therefore becoming another catalyst to their demise. These diseases such as smallpox which were introduced by the Europeans helped Cortes’ mission by killing thousands of natives. Blankets infected with small-pox were circulated throughout the capital, weakening moral and killing huge numbers of warriors and civilians. “...first there came to be prevalent a great sickness, a plague...spread over the people a great destruction of men... many indeed died of it. There was death from hunger; there was no one to take care of another; there was no one to attend to another.” An excerpt from the Historia General de las Cosas de la Nueva Españia written by the Franciscan friar Berdardino de Sahagún in 1529 portraying the conditions and consequences Aztecs had to face due to the epidemic.. This idea is further proven through an illustration from the Florentine codex depicting patients with smallpox being consulted by a

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