In The Historical and Geographical Background of The Aztecs, V.W.Von Hagen contributes to matrix of power by silencing the past with the ultimate goal of sustaining the never-ending Eurocentric reproduction of history. Von Hagen utilizes less sophisticated diction throughout the readings to discredit the Aztecs and to influence the readers to assent to a one-sided part of history. Von Hagen’s biases are problematic because by employing this kind of language in a scholarly-based research he enables history to be told as it should be— with truth and respect.
Silencing the past is the cold-blooded way to rewrite a bias history book. Even though we cannot fully blame Von Hagen for writing history through a Eurocentric bias, we can hold him accountable for the decisive choice of writing history with an already stated favoritism. From the very beginning, Von Hagen brings into question whether or not the Aztecs where an Empire, suggesting that perhaps they were only a tribute state. The problem with this idea is the fact that Von Hagen is dismissing how the Aztecs were able to gain tribute from geographically extensive groups of people.
To understand the significance of the Aztecs we must first identify how they came to be. The Aztecs did not in fact call themselves “Aztecs.” The Aztecs, who should be more properly called Mexica, were not native of Central Mexico. The Mexicas migrated from the north, from a mythical land they called Aztlan. Historically, the Mexica were many of the last Nahualt speaking tribes (Von Hagen, 54). In the Postclassical period, relatively A.D. 1250, they were able to reached central Mexico and established their capital there. In a few centuries after the establishment of Tenochtitlan (their capital), the Mexicas manage to control almost all Mexico through an extended empire (Von Hagen, 30).
With this in mind, it is absurd to agree with Von Hagen’s statement when he argues that the Aztecs came too late into the Mexican picture that...
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