Without question one of the most important events in the Age of Exploration, and the Spanish Empire, the Aztec conquest still leaves many questions for debate. How did Cortes and his small Spanish Army defeat a glorious Aztec Empire, a revered group of natives known for their brave and skilled warriors? Of all the possible arguments to justify the Aztec's defeat, it is Aztec religion that ultimately dooms their empire.
When first word of the Spanish ships reached Motecuhzoma, they were described as, "a mountain range or small mountain, floating in the midst of the water and moving here and there without touching the shore." he continues saying, "we have never seen the like of this, although we guard the coast and are always on watch." (16). This unexplained event, along with the numerous omens that have occurred in recent time, make Motecuhzoma believe that the Gods are returning from Heaven. When questioned, the Aztec magicians predict, "The future has already been determined and decreed in heaven, and Motecuhzoma will behold and suffer a great mystery which must come to past in his land." (15). He thought that the Spaniards was, the Aztec God, Quetzalcoatl and his other deities. In the Aztec religion, Quetzalcoatl was characterized by light skin, red hair, and light eyes, and was supposed to return to earth, and rightly take the throne of Mexico. The resemblance between the description of the Quetzalcoatl and the Spaniards was astonishing. He feared that the "gods" were angry at his people and were coming to Tenochtitlan in fury. In reverence to, and hopefully to appease the gods, Motecuhzoma had his finest craftsman make them a plethora of fine gifts of gold and quetzal feathers. When Motecuhzoma's messengers presented the gifts to the Spaniards, Cortes recognized how profitable this land was and, with the native people bowing at his feet, it would be no trouble marching in and claiming the land in the name of... [continues]
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