Impact of the Spanish Conquest on the Aztecs.

Topics: Aztec, Mexico, Nahuatl Pages: 4 (1434 words) Published: November 13, 2008
The Aztecs, part of modern day Mexico, were once the epitome of fine culture. They began their rule of southern and central Mexico during the 14th century and practiced an incredibly wealthy lifestyle. Nonetheless, this rule began to deteriorate when Spanish explorers disembarked at Tabasco and Vera Cruz on April 21st 1519. When the Spanish voyagers first arrived, they were welcomed warmly, respectfully and received Godlike treatment. Montezuma, the ruler at that time, believed that the Spanish military leader, Hernán Cortés, was the great god Quetzalcoatl. The Spanish took advantage of this Aztec belief and conquered Mexico within two years. By 1521, the Aztec culture was officially eradicated and a new culture, consisting of a combination of Aztec and Spanish elements, emerged. Hence, the Aztecs and the Spanish acclimatized to each other’s way of life, which resulted in significant changes in both cultures. Although the original system of government was kept, a new concept of hierarchy was implemented. The conquest allowed for both cultures to adopt new foods, animals and linguistics. Christianity however, became a stipulation and the very foundation of the way of life in Mexico.

Government is one of the most significant elements required to create a truly organized civilization. Consequently, the government is the first to change when another nation attempts to overthrow society. This however, was not the case for the Aztecs even after the empire was conquered by the Spanish. The government system that was originally adopted by the Aztecs was preserved, although the Spanish did make some minute changes to the system. Hernán Cortés, when asked, denied King Charles V of Spain authority to form an Aztec government similar to that of Spain. Instead, Cortés allowed the Aztecs to continue with their encomienda government system, as it was based on tribute towards the nobles. Now that Cortés was considered a noble, he took complete advantage of the...

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Kandell, Jonathan. La Capital - Biography of Mexico City. Toronto: Yale University Press, 1988.
Koeller, David W. "The Conquest of the Aztecs." Central and South American Chronology. 27 Feb 1997. (2 Mar 2008).
LeonPortilla, Miguel. "Speeches of Motecuhzoma and Cortés." Modern History Sourcebook. Aug 1997. Fordham Education . (2 Mar 2008).
Manchip Whit, Jon. Cortes and the Downfall of the Aztec Empire. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers Inc, 1971.
Smith, Michael E. "Legacy of the Aztecs." General Reference Center Gold. Dec 2005 (2 Mar 2008).
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