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American History To 1700 Essay

1004 words - 5 pages

The writings of Columbus, Castillo, and de la Casas represented vastly different points of view of the Spanish conquests of the Americas. In his first letter, Christopher Columbus mostly focused on the political victory of the voyage and arriving in the Indies (p. 32), and the splendor of the landscape including palm trees, mountains, and beautiful birds (p. 33). In the subsequent letter to King Ferdinand of Spain, Columbus seems selfish and one-sided (somewhat understandable considering that he was begging Ferdinand for forgiveness of his crimes (p. 35). Bernal Diaz del Castillo's account, however, was not clouded by much bias or opinions at all. Because Castillo was just a simple foot ...view middle of the document...

33). After having been plotting against by his own men (p. 34), and being unsuccessful in governing, the weary explorer pleads with the King to let him leave the lands in America and perform a pilgrimage to Rome to convey his forgiveness (p. 35). Christopher Columbus once a confident man ready to take up the task and explore the New World, became downtrodden with the inability govern and carry out his personal wishes and those of the country he was serving.

Cortes and Montezuma experienced moments of tension in their interactions with each other. Before they even met, Cortes was sent many gifts of gold and silver by one of Montezuma's men, Quintalbor (Castillo p. 43). Montezuma specifically chose to send Quintalbar because his body and facial features closely resembled those of Cortes (Castillo p. 43). Both of these actions show that Montezuma was all ready becoming fearful that these strange men were going to threaten his land. Unfortunately, his gift-giving was counterproductive because it made Cortes and his men excited that the land was plentiful with gold. This ultimately became the reason that they attacked Tenochtitlan (Castillo pp. 43-44). The first time Cortes and Montezuma met face to face, Montezuma made a grand entrance, most likely to show Cortes how powerful he was. He was sitting atop a richly decorated canopy that was being carried by his men, and when he got down, his men had to put cloaks on the ground so Montezuma's feet wouldn't touch the dirt (Castillo p. 46). Not long after arriving in Tenochtitlan, Cortes was notified that Montezuma's priests had a message from the gods about the Spaniards. The message was that the Mexicans were commanded to go to war with Cortes and his men. Montezuma told them to avoid this, they would have to leave and return to Spain (Castillo p. 48). He hoped that this warning would scare them so Montezuma's land and people would be saved. This obviously shows the...

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