Broken Spears the Spanish Defeat of the Aztec Empire

Topics: Aztec, Mesoamerica, Miguel León-Portilla Pages: 4 (1433 words) Published: February 27, 2006
The Broken Spears is a book written by Miguel Leon-Portilla that gives accounts of the fall of the Aztec Empire to the Spanish in the early 16th century. The book is much different from others written about the defeat of the empire because it was written from the vantage point of the Aztecs rather then the Spanish. Portilla describes in-depth many different reasons why the Spanish were successful in the defeat of such a strong Empire. Portilla starts out by giving a thorough background of the culture and religious beliefs. The reader can draw many theories on how this carried over to the Aztecs way of thinking and fighting. In addition to the religion and culture, Portilla shows the technology advantages the Spanish had over the Aztecs. He also goes on to describe the poor leadership of Motecuhzoma. Motecuhzoma will be portrayed as a coward. Portilla also writes about the strategy that worked rather well for the Spanish as they made alliances with the Tlaxcalatecas and other cities. He finally talks about plague that wiped out much of the Aztecs. This may have been the greatest factor in the fall of the Aztecs Empire. All of these factors combined effectively show how the Spaniards prevailed over this great Aztec Empire of the 15th and early 16th century.

The religion and culture of the Aztecs played a role in the way the way they thought and fought. They worshiped the war-god Huitzilopochtli. He was identified with the sun and was called "the Giver of life" and "the Preserver of Life" (xxxix). The religion carried some ridiculous rituals such as human sacrifice along with using magicians and wizards to cast spells. In war conditions, human sacrifice played a big role because the Aztecs would not fight to kill, but fight to capture. The reasoning was so that they could sacrifice the people to their god Huitzilopochtli. Because of this thinking, I feel the Aztecs never made technological advancements to bigger and better weapons which would...
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