Episode #9 – Did the Aztecs Think Cortés Was a God? (Part I)

Before the Spanish arrived in the early 1500’s, the Aztec, or Mexica, people had built an impressive civilization. Their empire was composed of bustling cities that were larger, cleaner, and more architecturally sophisticated than most cities in Europe at that time. The arrival of Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortés would prove so disastrous for Aztec society that supernatural explanations did not seem out of the question. Did the Aztecs believe that Cortés was in fact the god Quetzalcoatl? Did the myth of a bearded god colour how the Mexica dealt with this gold-hungry pirate? Tune in and find out how hungover deities, a boat built from snakes, and a stick used to support a man’s giant gut all play a role in the story.

Works Cited

Castillo, Bernal Díaz Del, and Alfred Percival M. A. Maudslay. The True History of the Conquest of New Spain. New York: Cambridge UP, 2012. Print.

Cortés, Hernán, and George Folsom. The Despatches of Hernando Cortés, the Conqueror of Mexico: Addressed to the Emperor Charles V, Written during the Conquest, and Containing a Narrative of Its Events. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger, 2005. Print.

Florescano, Enrique. The Myth of Quetzalcoatl. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1999. Print.

León-Portilla, Miguel. The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico. Boston: Beacon, 2009. Print.

Levy, Buddy. Conquistador: Hernán Cortés, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs. New York: Bantam  Trade Paperbacks, 2009. Print.

Press, Berkeley Electronic. “Burying the White Gods: New Perspectives on the Conquest of Mexico” by Camilla Townsend. Web. 17 Aug. 2017.

Restall, Matthew. Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004. Print.

Thomas, Hugh. The Conquest of Mexico. London: Pimlico, 2004. Print.

Townsend, Camilla. Malintzin’s Choices: An Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico, 2007. Print.