Perhaps the greatest Aztec advantage was their superiority in population and therefore larger fighting force. The Spaniards only had 600 fighting men, and while it is true that they had other tribes as their allies, the Aztec warriors numbered in the thousands. They were also fierce warriors. For example, the author makes reference to the warriors of Otomi rank, which were “ehte warriors bound by oath never to retreat.”
2.How did the Aztec religion and culture contribute to their struggle against the Spaniard? Please discuss whether or not the Aztec religion and culture play a positive role in this struggle? Religion and culture did play an important role in the Aztec’s struggle against the Spaniards. It is important to remember that human sacrifice was a vital aspect of Aztec culture. They often turned not to their own people, but to other tribes to obtain the necessary supply for such ceremonies. This situation along with their request of tributes and labor from neighboring tribes evidently made them many fierce enemies that eventually joined Cortes in the battle against the Aztecs. This alliance was a major cause of the Spaniard success. It is also important to clarify that some of these tribes were defeated by the Spaniards prior to joining them. It is possible that this alliance may have been avoided if the Aztecs had implemented a friendlier policy towards these tribes. But once again, large-scale sacrifices were central to their religion and therefore a large human supply was needed. Also, the book does not mention it, but the Spaniard’s arrival coincided with the expected arrival of Quetzalcoatl, a Mesoamerican deity. The description of Quetzalcoatl matched with the appearance of the Spaniards and this fact certainly played a vital role in favor of the Spaniards. Finally the author mentions that as a last resort, the Aztecs sent a quetzal-owl warrior into battle in order to determine their fate. The Aztecs firmly believed the gods would determine if they ought to keep fighting depending if the quetzal-owl succeeded or failed in battle. In the end, their religious beliefs played against them.