What did nations do in order to become even more powerful? They colonized.
Such was the case during the 15th to 17th centuries. An emerging Spain partook on a conquest to seize the world by imposition of their beliefs and lifestyles to different tribes. The film La Otra Conquista features the effects of this cultural imposition on the Aztec civilization and how colonialism was able to shape them into the people that they are today.
Before continuing on, it is worth to note that there are certain similarities between the Aztec civilization and the pre-colonial Philippines, which were both Spanish colonies at one point in time. They both worshipped deities from nature, and were seen as barbarians by the Spanish conquistadores. The methods used by the Spaniards in conquering the Aztecs were pretty much similar to how they conquered us as well. Thus, this analysis also applies to us Filpinos and I will be applying my review from time to time in our own local context.
One of the ways that the conquistadores imposed their own culture was by eradicating the intrinsic beliefs and lifestyles of the natives and swapping them with their own. The objective behind this was to make it easier to subject the natives into their rule if their old tradition was erased to take in new customs instead. There are two questions that this analysis aims to answer: Were the Spaniards successful in completely replacing the native culture with their own? Was it right for them to impose their own culture on a people?
I believe the answer to both questions is no. To completely replace one’s tradition (furthermore for an entire nation) is incredibly difficult and close to impossible. It is also hard to distinguish whether the motive behind the cultural imposition of the Spanish is justifiable, especially since the conquistadores saw the Aztecs as barbaric and inhumane. In order to support my analysis, I will be mentioning some theoretical concepts that will be covered and contextualized into my research.
National identity is a significant marker in the film, especially for the Spanish. They saw themselves as powerful rulers that were destined to spread their dominion all throughout the land. They dichotomized all other nations as inferior. Hence, in order to expand their empire, they had to impose their language and religion, among other things, to their captives. This led to the oppression of the Aztec civilization.
Part of national identity was the traditions that both the Aztecs and the Spaniards practiced. The Aztecs firmly believe in the existence of a Mother Goddess and also partake in sacrificial rituals. On the other hand, the Spanish came into Mexico with their Catholic faith and doctrines, which involved the sacraments and teachings from the Bible. These identity markers played a big role in defining cultural traditions of each society.
It can be seen clearly that a power struggle emerged from the concept of national identity. Due to differences in lifestyle and beliefs, the Aztecs were labeled as savages and barbarians. They were powerless and were subjected to the Spanish authority that imposed new rules upon them. The Aztecs had no choice but to follow these new orders or risk their lives.
The idea of language was also a predominant theme. In the film, language was used as a symbolism of identity and belonging. This is why language was one of the first things that the Spanish conquistadores tried to get rid of. The Aztec mother tongue was banned in order to restrict the freedom of the natives. The locals were taught Spanish, and were also forced to speak this language as much as possible. This enabled the Spaniards to gain more control over their captives.
Another reason behind the imposition of Spanish language is the unsuitability of the Aztec language to be compatible with Catholic teaching. Aztec religion is carried within their own vocabulary; hence the only way to make the natives embrace Christianity was by...
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