The History of the Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Diaz del Castillo

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The History of the Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Diaz del Castillo, a new abridgement of Diaz del Castillo's classic Historia verdadera de la conquista de Nueva España, offers a unique contribution to our understanding of the political and religious forces that drove the great cultural encounter between Spain and the Americas known as the "conquest of Mexico." Besides containing important passages, scenes, and events excluded from other abridgements, this edition includes eight useful interpretive essays that address indigenous religions and cultural practices, sexuality during the early colonial period, the roles of women in indigenous cultures, and analysis of the political and economic purposes behind Diaz del Castillo's narrative. A series of maps illuminate the routes of the conquistadors, the organization of indigenous settlements, the struggle for the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, as well as the disastrous Spanish journey to Honduras. The information compiled for this volume offers increased accessibility to the original text, places it in a wider social and narrative context, and encourages further learning, research, and understanding.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826342874
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 503
  • Sales rank: 1,486,219
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Davíd Carrasco is Neil L. Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America with a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology and the Divinity School at Harvard University. He was recently awarded the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments x

Introduction: The Dream of the Conquistador and a Book of Desire and Destruction David Carrasco xi

Preface by Bernal Diaz del Castillo xxviii

The Expedition under Cordova 1

The Expedition under Grijalva 14

Expedition under Cortes Begins: Intrigues in Cuba 17

Cortes Finds an Interpreter 28

Cortes Attacks the Ceiba Tree 40

Enter Dona Marina 48

Signs of Empire 52

Spaniards Viewed as Gods 64

Cortes Destroys the Ships 84

War in Tlaxcala 90

The Spaniards' Plea for Peace and Alliance 98

Ambassadors from Montezuma Arrive 110

Baptizing Tlaxcalan Women 119

The Massacre at Cholula 131

The March to Mexico 147

Arrival in the Splendid City of Tenochtitlan 156

Montezuma in Captivity 184

Games with Montezuma 193

Cortes Struggles with Narvaez 209

Spanish Massacre of the Dancers 211

Spanish Defeat and the Noche Triste 225

The Return to the Valley and the Alliance with Texcoco 239

The Siege Begins from Texcoco 263

Indian Allies and Spanish Disasters 277

Dismal Drums and Human Sacrifices 287

The Fall of Mexico and the Surrender of Guatemoc 296

The City as a Wasteland: Taking Women 303

Torturing Guatemoc for Treasure: Malicious Graffiti 311

Zapotec Fury 326

Pedro de Alvarado Attacks in Guatemala 329

Turmoil in Chiapas 342

The Arrival of the Twelve Franciscans 354

Mexico City Becomes a Roman Circus 362

Maps 373


Bernal Diaz del Castillo: Soldier, Eyewitness, Polemicist Rolena Adorno 389

Cortes and the Sacred Ceiba: A Maya Axis Mundi David Carrasco 399

Colonial Sexuality: Of Women, Men, and Mestizaje Karen Vieira Powers 405

La Malinche as Palimpsest II Sandra Messinger Cypess418

The Exaggerations of Human Sacrifice David Carrasco 439

Tenochtitlan as a Political Capital and World Symbol David Carrasco 448

Human Sacrifice/Debt Payments from the Aztec Point of View David Carrasco 458

Spaniards as Gods: The Return of Quetzalcoatl David Carrasco 466

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Just what I expected

    This was exactly what I excpected it to be. This history was written in the 16th century and was an attempt to glorify and legitamize the Spaniards actions in Mexico. It was interesting to read first hand accounts of the events, but many times the reader has no clue whether the information provided is true or not.
    I recommend this book for anybody conducting research on this topic for two reasons: 1. There is plenty of info to reference from a primary source, and 2. the editor has included 7 or essays at the end of the book. I actually enjoyed reading the essays more than the book. These essays are sociological and anthropological reviews of particular topics pertaining to the Aztec world.

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