History and the Environment 2 “Cortes and Montezuma”


In February of 1519, the famous Spanish explorer, Hernan Cortes arrived on the Yucatan Peninsula ready for “God, Glory, and Gold.”  He showed off his horses and weaponry to a scared populace of indigenous people of the Yucatan whilst starting  the process of completely turning the natives against each other in order to “civilize” Aztec Peoples and other tribes.   The leader of the Aztecs, “Montezuma,” thought that Cortes was a God, and later realized his mistake, but it was too late.  The capital city of the Aztecs, Tenochtitlan (modern-day Mexico City), was held under siege by Cortez, and eventually fell in 1521.  This small history lesson is a precursor to the main idea of this blog, protecting historical places.  Today there are very few remnants of the old city of Tenochtitlan left.  Today Mexico City covers the whole area and is one of the most populated metropolises of the Western Hemisphere.  There are very, very few remains of this once great city.  That the old city  that surely was a sight to behold being covered by a concrete jungle is a travesty.  Did the conquistadors want to erase the Aztec past?  I’m sure they did.  They were disgusted by Aztec religious practices and keeping around the old temples would have probably kept the old religions alive longer.  This is a prime example of how religion can do damage in the worst possible way, it is also an example of how a civilization can be completely eradicated within a few years, while also destroying over 3,000 years of Toltec, Maya, Olmec and Aztec history.  Even though Cortes was trying to create his own history, he erased another culture in his quest for glory.  How nice it would be to visit the Aztec capital if it were preserved today.  I guess we will never know what it feels like to walk the canal that led into the city, or gaze upon the fabulous temples that were built-in Tenochtitlan long ago.  Lets preserve history now, because when its gone, its gone forever.  Brent.

About deadfryday

I dig History and its preservation
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One Response to History and the Environment 2 “Cortes and Montezuma”

  1. Clay Ouzts says:

    What makes the Cortez story so amazing is that Tenochtitlan had a population of one-million people! That there is hardly anything left of a one-million person city is almost too much to believe.

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