Cortes and Montezuma

Overview

The convergence of Cortés and Montezuma is the most emblematic event in the birth of what would come to be called "America."
Landing on the Mexican coast on Good Friday, 1519, Hernán Cortés felt himself the bearer of a divine burden to conquer and convert the first advanced civilization Europeans had yet encountered in the West. For Montezuma, leader of the Mexicans, April 21, 1519 (known in their sophisticated astronomical system as 9 Wind Day) was the precise date of a dire ...

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Overview

The convergence of Cortés and Montezuma is the most emblematic event in the birth of what would come to be called "America."
Landing on the Mexican coast on Good Friday, 1519, Hernán Cortés felt himself the bearer of a divine burden to conquer and convert the first advanced civilization Europeans had yet encountered in the West. For Montezuma, leader of the Mexicans, April 21, 1519 (known in their sophisticated astronomical system as 9 Wind Day) was the precise date of a dire prophesy: the return of Quetzalcoatl, a fearsome god predicted to arrive by ship, from the East, with light skin, a black beard, robed in black—exactly as Cortés would. The ensuing drama is described by eminent historian Maurice Collis in a style that is equal parts story and scholarship. Though its consequences have been treated by writers as diverse as D.H. Lawrence and Charles Olson, never before have the facts of this event been rendered with such extraordinary clarity and elegance.

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Editorial Reviews

David Garnett - New Statesman
“A fascinating piece of history...Maurice Collis tells an extremely intricate story with perfect clarity, and he writes also with obvious delight at having such a good story to tell.”
Michael Swan - Time and Tide
“Collis has set out not merely to retell the fabulous story of the conquest of Mexico, but to study in some detail the characters of Montezuma and Cortés.... Written excitingly, [it is] a book that was needed and could hardly have done better.”
Harold Nicolson - Daily Telegraph
“Collis's books give nothing but pleasure to those who enjoy elegant writing.”
David Garnett
A fascinating piece of history…Maurice Collis tells an extremely intricate story with perfect clarity, and he writes also with obvious delight at having such a good story to tell.
New Statesman
Michael Swan
Mr. Collis has set out not merely to retell the fabulous story of the conquest of Mexico, but to study in some detail the characters of Montezuma, and Cortéz….Written excitingly [it is] a book that was needed and could hardly have done better.
Time and Tide
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811214230
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Series: Classics Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,233,027
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 11
1 Cortes in the West Indies 21
2 The Discovery of Mexico 25
3 Cortes Sets Out 33
4 Cortes Arrives in Mexico 40
5 Montezuma 48
6 The Landing of Cortes-Quetzalcoatl 61
7 Cortes Tricks Velazquez 69
8 Cortes Prepares 79
9 Cortes Marches on Mexico 86
10 Cortes at Tlaxcala 102
11 Cortes at Cholula 107
12 Montezuma and Cortes Meet 113
13 Montezuma Converses with Cortes 126
14 Cortes Confines Montezuma 136
15 Montezuma Bows to His Fate 144
16 Montezuma's Treasure 149
17 The Installation of the Virgin 158
18 The Smoking Mirror Demands Cortes' Death 162
19 Velazquez's Counterstroke is Defeated 166
20 The Mexicans Rise Against Cortes 178
21 The Death of Montezuma 182
22 Cortes Flees from Mexico City 193
23 The Magical Battle of Otumba 198
24 Cortes Recuperates at Tlaxcala 205
25 Cortes Beleaguers Mexico City 210
26 Cortes Storms Mexico City 223
Postscript 230
Table of Dates 243
Index 246
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