Mexico City celebrates 500 years since the battle for conquest began

Mexico City (AP) — There are two ways to remember the fall of Tenochtitlan in Spain, the capital of the Aztecs, now known as Mexico City. It is the painful birth of modern Mexico, or the beginning of centuries of virtual enslavement.

The battle to change the world began on May 22, 1521, and lasted for several months until the city finally fell to the conqueror on August 13. This is because organized indigenous troops under local command fought European colonists for months, and the final defeat set many templates for the conquest and colonization that followed. It was useful.

“The collapse of Tenochtitlan opened up modern Western history,” said historian Salvador Rueda, director of the city’s Chapultepec Museum.

One way to remember the event is symbolized by the plaques on the “Square of the Three Cultures”, a city honoring the “modern” mixed-race Mexico born of indigenous Mexico, Spanish colonialism and conquest.

The three cultures are represented by three buildings: the abandoned Aztec temple, the Spanish colonial church built on top of the ruins, and the modern government building built in the 1960s. “It was neither a victory nor a defeat. Today it was the painful birth of Mestizo (mixed-race) Mexico,” Plaque reads.

That sentiment, preached by the government since the 1920s, is that Mexico is a non-racist, non-racist, unified country, everyone is mixed-race, and sheds both conquerors and conquerors. The feeling of being is as old as the office in the 1960s. building.

Most are tied up with ropes, as pieces of marble regularly fall off and hit the ground, and indigenous peoples and dark-skinned Mexicans continue to face discrimination from their light-skinned compatriots.

A few blocks away from the wall of the small church in Tekipukan, where the Aztec Nahuatl name summarizes everything, there is a much more permanent and perhaps accurate message.

“Tequipeuhcan:” The place where slavery began. ” Here, Emperor Cuauhtémoc was taken prisoner on the afternoon of August 13, 1521, “reads the plaque on the wall of the church.

Claudia Sheinbaum, the current mayor of Mexico City, said: “The collapse of Mexico-Tenochtitlan has begun a story of epidemics, abuse and 300 years of colonial rule in Mexico.”

It was to become a rule for the entire hemisphere over the next three centuries. The colonists stole land from the indigenous people, worked it on them, and withdrew wealth for the benefit of the colonists.

“The Spaniards seemed convinced that this model would work, and (Lt. Pedro of Cortez) Dear Ballard invaded China from the port of Acapulco when he died in another battle in western Mexico. Was set to begin, “said David M. Carbalo, a professor of archeology, anthropology, and Latin American studies at the University of Boston and author of the book The Clash of the World.

He said the Mexican conquest “really globalized the world because it connected the world beyond the Atlantic and beyond the Pacific Ocean with all the continents of residence.” This started what is now called globalization. “

Cortez, his 900 Spaniards, and thousands of allies of Aztec-repressed indigenous groups began siege on May 22, 1521. They entered Mexico City in 1520, but suffered significant losses a few months later, leaving most of them. Of their looted gold behind them.

However, the Spaniards were independently prepared for the war of conquest. They have fought war for much of the last seven centuries to conquer Spain from the Moors. Surprisingly, they were able to use their experience of naval battles in the Mediterranean to withstand the battle over the Aztec capital in an alpine valley over 7,000 feet above sea level and hundreds of miles from the sea.

Tenochtitlan was completely surrounded by a shallow lake where narrow causeways intersect, so the Spaniards built an attack ship called the Brigantine to fight the Aztecs in a canoe.

It stalled in a series of brutal, months-long battles to rule the elevated causeway leading to the city.

This campaign was not a pre-determined defeat for the Aztecs. They won many victories, robbed dozens of Spanish prisoners and used captured Spanish weapons against the conquerors.

At some point, they took about 60 captured Spaniards, perhaps on the battlement or temple platform, with a complete view of the rest of the Spaniards by tearing the still beating heart from the battlement. I sacrificed one by one. Even the conquerors admitted that the effect was horrifying.

However, the Spaniards were able to take advantage of the siege experience during the recently signed Muslim Spanish Christian Reconquista. They cut off the supply of fresh water and food to the city. Equally important, most of their troops were indigenous allies tired of paying compliments under Aztec rule.

The most powerful weapons in their arsenal were not their horses, war dogs, or primitive muskets. It was not even the deception used to capture Moctezuma II of the Aztec Triple Alliance, who died in 1520, or Atahualpa of the Inca Empire afterwards. The most effective weapon for Europeans was smallpox.

When Cortez stayed in Mexico City for a short time in 1520, the Aztecs began to become infected with smallpox. Smallpox is said to have been carried by African slaves brought by the Spaniards.

Carlo Bieska, a medical historian at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said that perhaps at least 150,000 of the city’s 300,000 inhabitants had died before the Spaniards re-entered the city, when they re-entered the city. Said one Spaniard said: cadaver. “

In the end, Viesca said that Cuauhtémoc, the last emperor of the Aztec Triple Alliance, “had little army left to fight.”

Medical anthropologist Sandra Gebara said that smallpox is very toxic among Indians who have never been exposed to smallpox and probably even those who survived because of the lack of immunological protection. He said he was blind or had gangrene in his legs, nose, and mouth.

By the time the city collapsed, there were numerous corpses that the Spaniards were unable to completely occupy the city for months. The only way to get rid of the stench was to demolish the Aztec house and bury the dead in rubble.

Cuitláhuac, the successor to Moctezuma and the respected leader of Cuauhtémoc, died of smallpox in late 1520, before the siege began.

“If Cuitlahuac hadn’t died, Mexico’s history would have been different,” Guevara said.

Emperor Cuauhtémoc — Cuauhtémoc to Aztecs — took over, fought, and skillfully led the Aztec resistance in the siege of 1521.

However, in August, chased by the eastern end of the city, he surrendered or was captured. He was tortured because he wanted to find the gold that the Spaniards had temporarily looted, but had to abandon it in 1520. Stoic to the end, Quautemok handed the Spaniard a dagger and asked him to kill him.

He remains a very tragic yet respected person, and Mexicans have been encouraged to repeat his useless self-sacrifice for centuries. During the 1847 invasion, six lightly armed Army officer candidates died by throwing themselves off the battlement instead of surrendering when surrounded by U.S. forces at the Army Academy on a hill in Mexico City. It is reported that. They too remain national heroes.

The unsuccessful battle to defend Tenochtitlan set the template for the ultimate uselessness of a huge standing army, a fixed position, and an indigenous group trying to fight Europeans in a siege. Apart from the battle between the Spanish and Inca forces when Francisco Pizarro conquered Peru in 1536, resistance from the Americas and many of the world’s indigenous peoples was guerrilla tactics, regular raids, remote areas and access. Will be greatly reduced to withdrawal to difficult areas. ..

Some of the last armed indigenous resistances in both Mexico and the United States were not defeated until the early 1900s.

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