Malintzins Choices

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Nick Schweitzer

Malintzin’s Choices

Malintzin had an important role in the ancient history and colonization of Latin America. She would rise from just a simple servant girl and slave, to become one of the key factors of the Spanish colonization of the indigenous natives in the New World. She helped translate for the Spanish conquistadors and even Hernando Cortés himself. Malintzin’s interpreting skills would prove crucial in the dealings between Hernando Cortés and the Aztec emperor Montezuma. Camilla Townsend uses the story of Malintzin to display the conquest of Mexico in a different aspect and first person point of view. It is crucial to focus on translators when it comes to understanding the conquest of Mexico. It shows how much of a cultural difference and language barrier there was between these two sides. Without translators the Spanish would never have been able to conquer Mexico and survive against the natives. They would have had a much harder time trying to trade for supplies and wouldn’t have been able to set up alliances with the natives, such as the Tlaxcala. Translators may have played an important role in the conquest of Mexico, but none more important than that of Malintzin. She translated personally for Hernando Cortés’s and all his dealing between him and emperor Montezuma. She had a great impact in the dealings between the Spanish and the Aztecs. Malintzin a slave is now the only key Cortés has to conquering the Aztecs. For such a prominent figure as Malintzin in history it is very difficult for historians to give an accurate depiction of her. She kept no diaries making it hard for historians to understand her point of view. The Spanish also didn’t keep very many records of her especially Cortés who only mentioned her on seldom occasions. He didn’t want to mention her to the king because it would make him seem like a less of a great conqueror. It would make him seem weaker and more vulnerable that he had to rely on a slave to...
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