Hernan Cortes

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Hernan Cortes

European History Document Based Question

Directions: The following question is based on the accompanying Documents 1-11. The documents have been edited for the purpose of this exercise.

This question is designed to test your ability to work with and understand historical documents. Write an essay that: * Provides an appropriate, explicitly stated thesis that directly addresses all parts of the question and does not simply restate the question. * Discusses a majority of the documents individually and specifically. * Demonstrates understanding of the basic meaning of a majority of the documents. * Supports the thesis with appropriate interpretations of a majority of the documents. * Analyzes point of view or bias in at least three documents. * Analyzes the documents by explicitly grouping them in at least three appropriate ways.

1. Analyze how Hernan Cortes and his men helped impact the decline of the Aztec Empire upon their arrival.

Historical Background: In 1519, Hernan Cortes arrived in Mexico with less than 600 men. Upon reaching Mexico he burned his ships so that his men had no option but to press on that he found the area under control of the Aztec Empire. Through alliances with smaller states that were under the domination of the Aztecs, Cortes soon controlled most of the central Mexico.

Document 1 Source: Miguel Leon-Portilla, "The Spaniards See the Objects of Gold", Broken Spears, 1962.They gave the "gods" ensigns of gold, and ensigns of quetzal feathers, and golden necklaces. And when they were given these presents, the Spaniards burst into smiles; their eyes shone with pleasure; they were delighted by them. They picked up the gold and fingered it like monkeys; they seemed to be transported by joy, as if their hearts were illuminated and made new. The truth is that they longed and lusted for gold. Their bodies swelled with greed, and their hunger was ravenous;

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