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The War of Conquest
How it was Waged Here in Mexico
Arthur J. O. Anderson and Charles E. Dibble
How is it possible that in 1521 five-hundred Spanish soldiers defeated the most powerful military force in Middle America? The answer lies not in western firearms, as we have been taught, but rather in the differences between the Aztec and Spanish cultures. Differing concepts of warfare and diplomacy, reinforced by tensions and stresses within the Aztec political system and its supporting religious beliefs, allowed Cortés to systematically gain and hold the military and diplomatic advantages that gave the Spaniards the day, the war, and the continent.
Charles E. Dibble (1909–2002) was an anthropologist, linguist, and scholar specializing in Mesoamerican cultures. He received his master’s and doctorate degrees from the Universidad Nacional Autónomo de México and taught at the University of Utah from 1939–1978, where he became a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology.
Arthur J. O. Anderson (1907–1996) was an anthropologist specializing in Aztec culture and language. He received his MA from Claremont College and his PhD in anthropology from the University of Southern California. He was a curator of history and director of publications at the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe and taught at a number of institutions, including San Diego State University, from which he retired.
Table of Contents:
To the Reader, by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún
Map of the Route of Cortés and His Allies
1. Prelude of Evil Signs
2. The Landings
3. The March of Mexico
Map of Tenochtitlan and Tlatilulco
4. The Capture and Death of Moctezuma
5. The Escape of the Spaniards
6. The Return of the Spaniards
7. Mexico Under Siege
8. The Beginning of the End
9. The End
Praise and Reviews:
"About twenty-five years after Cortés conquered Mexico, a Franciscan missionary interviewed Aztec survivors to compile this fascinating and affecting narrative. Fray Bernardino’s sources remember that terrifying omens appeared for ten years before the arrival of the Spaniards, in 1518 and 1519. Although the passage of a quarter of a century must have made these Aztecs familiar with men who had horses and firearms and armor, their memories reproduce their panic at the first sight (and sound) of the phenomena. During the months that followed Cortés’ invasion, the Aztecs began to realize that the Spaniards were not gods, and that as men, they surprisingly preferred gold to the feathers and semiprecious stones the Indians valued more highly. The editors and translators have brilliantly put this antique tale into readable English while keeping a sense of its origins. They caution us, however, that this is the Aztec side, not an impartial account; to an impartial reader, both sides look like great fighters and appallingly brutal men. The contemporary illustrations are realistic and engaging."
—The New Yorker