Letters from Mexico

Letters from Mexico

Hernan Cortes, Anthony Pagden

Language: English

Pages: 640

ISBN: 0300090943

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Written over a seven-year period to Charles V of Spain, Hernan Cortes' letters provide a narrative account of the conquest of Mexico from the founding of the coastal town of Veracruz until Cortes's journey to Honduras in 1525.

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position and because it seemed to him a more profitable journey than the one to Naples on account of the great quantity of gold which had come from there.19 Cortes belonged to an overpopulated social class for whom Spain herself had little to offer. As an hidalgo could only honourably achieve success by arms, there were but two roads open to him: the wars in Italy, or the Indies with their as yet unfulfilled promises of wealth. Cortes, perhaps by force of circumstance, decided on the latter

warriors, marched to Cortes' house. There they presented him with a crown of flowers which bore the inscription, "do not fear to fall for by this act you shall rise higher". Cortes accepted the crown and the "Indians" then dispersed. To the royal judges at Cortes' subsequent trial, the meaning of this charade was clear. The Avila brothers had been 71. Below p. 433. INTRODUCTION [ lxxi re-enacting the donation of Moctezoma to Cortes' father, and the subsequent affirmation of the subject

that if they came to the camp he would forgive them their crime and they would be his friends. That same afternoon there came two Indians who seemed to be persons of importance, and said that they were very grieved by all that had happened, and that those chieftains on whose behalf they came begged him to forgive them and do them no further harm than he had already, nor kill any more of their people, for almost 220 had been killed; the past should be forgotten and henceforth they wished to be

our inten­ tion to send it all to Your Royal Highnesses, they proclaimed pub­ licly that it would be better to send it to Diego Velazquez; and they said other things to prevent it being sent to Your Majesties. For this we had them seized, and they are still in custody awaiting sentence; and when that has been carried out we shall inform Your Majesties of what we have done with them.39 And for what we have seen of the doings of Diego Velazquez and our experience of them, we are afraid that if he

greater quantity. They sell as many colors for painters as may be found in Spain and all of excellent hues. They sell deerskins, with and with­ out the hair, and some are dyed white or in various colors. They sell much earthenware, which for the most part is very good; there are both large and small pitchers, jugs, pots, tiles, and many other sorts of vessel, all of good clay and most of them glazed and painted. They sell maize both as grain and as bread and it is better both in appearance and in

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