Ross Hassig's Mexico And The Spanish Conquest

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Ashleigh Studdard HI 346 Prof. Franklin September 21, 2014 An Analysis of Mexico and the Spanish Conquest Ross Hassig’s Mexico and the Spanish Conquest is a close study of the Spanish’s efforts to conquer the natives of what is now Mexico. His interpretation of events emphasizes the work of the Indian population and somewhat dismisses the idea of Cortés as the tie that brought the native populations together against the Aztecs. Hassig states that his attempt in this work is to show both the perspective of both the Spanish and the natives, despite the issues involved in finding reliable native sources (5). The result of this is that Mexico and the Spanish Conquest seems more sympathetic toward the Spanish in one of the many cases in history…show more content…
The Spanish Reconquista had already been a success in taking Spain back from the Moors, then spreading to other areas. The Spanish used the lessons learned in the Reconquista in order to take over Mexico, Hassig says, but while they may have claimed religious reasons, they were largely motivated by politics and the hope of finding great wealth (9). Much more time is spent on the introduction of the Aztec empire and their way of life. Their strategy in systematically overtaking their neighbors is discussed, naming the Tlaxcallan and Tarascan groups as two of the only ones who had so far held off an Aztec takeover. Hassig says this could not have lasted, and made them attractive for those who may have wished to damage the Aztec empire (43). Further, the hegemonic empire that the Aztecs had built via war could be considered unstable, and without the right leadership could leave open a large vulnerability to other groups in the area…show more content…
He uses Cortés’s unfamiliarity with the Mexican political system as one reason why most of the credit - (or blame, depending on one’s point of view - cannot be laid at the feet of the Spanish. One example is that of the Cholollan massacre. Hassig believes that despite the account told by Cortés in his own writings, it was more likely that the Tlaxcaltecs convinced him to act against them (97). Later, he writes that all possible explanations for the destruction and murder in Tenochtitlan by Indian allies meant that Cortés had no real power as a leader (175). This argument may conceivably have some merit, but perhaps not so much in regards to his ability to conquer the

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