Essay on Broken Spears

This essay has a total of 855 words and 4 pages.

Broken Spears


The author argues that the Spanish were completely at fault for the total destruction of
the Aztec Empire. In Broken spears, the author explains how many factors other than
Spanish power contributed to the downfall of the Aztecs. Not only did the Spanish have
many advantages over the Aztecs, but also they also exploited them and took advantage of
the cultural difference. The main key aspects to the Spanish victory, is that the Spanish
were viewed as gods at first because of their appearance, the Aztecs welcomed the Spanish
with gifts and festivities, which showed the Spanish had total control of people. The
Aztecs also held a ritual ceremony for the arrival of the "god" that included a human
sacrifice, which was seen by the Spanish as a disgusting act, this trigged Spanish hatred
for the Aztecs. When the Spanish saw the resources that the Aztecs had, they quickly
started taking advantage of the Aztecs weaknesses. The Spanish had more power; they were
better equipped than the Aztecs and more advanced. The Aztecs' leader Montecuhzoma was a
weak leader, he was more of a coward, more concerned with his well being and safety than
the safety of his people and kingdom so he quickly surrendered under pressure. The Spanish
used surrounding enemy tribes to take over the Aztec lands, then began to massacre men,
women and children. When the Aztec became angry and started to fight back, they were
quickly wrecked by the diseases the Spanish brought with them such as small pox and
measles. The Spanish were immune to these diseases because they were well known in Europe
and they had been exposed to them for years, but the Aztecs weren't so entire villages
were wiped out in just few weeks which cleared the way for the Spanish to entirely conquer
and destroy the Aztec empire.

Leon-Portilla based the stories told in this book upon old writings of actual Aztec people
who survived the Spanish massacres. The actual authors of the stories told in this book
are priests, wise men and regular people who survived the killings. These stories
represent the more realistic view of what really happened during the Spanish conquest.
Most of the history about the Aztec Empire was based on Spanish accounts of events, but
Leon-Portilla used writings from actual survivors to illustrate the true history from the
Indians' point of view.

The book focuses on how the Spanish slowly exploited the Aztec resources to the point
where they started killing people for no reason but to exterminate them. One of the
turning events during the Spanish conquest is the massacre in the main temple during the
fiesta Toxcatl. The Aztecs begged their king to hold festivities in honor of the god
Huitzilopochtli. After they got permission, they very carefully prepared for festivities
and sworn to do their best dancing at the festivities to show the Spanish the beauty of
their rituals. The Spanish showed that they are interested to learn more about the
festivities, but they were planning to murder all the celebrants. When the celebrations
began, the Spanish showed up in their armors and carried weapons. Soon after, they sealed
off all entrances to the palace so that no one can leave, and then they engaged in massive
killing of everyone that participated. They brutally murdered every living person they
could find. This event was very important, because it triggered the anger of the Aztecs,
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