CLIO FINAL - page 16

In the world today, religion is not geograph-
ically confined and one can almost always encoun-
ter the same religion in all the different continents
of the world. This is because a series of historical
events have led to the spread and introduction of
various religions to different cultures and areas of
the world, be it through peaceful or violent means.
Lots of religions introduced to different areas of the
world were interpreted and expressed differently
due to the indigenous and pre-existing cultures and
religions that were in place before. An example of
this is Catholicism in Latin America and in particular
Mexico, where the population is 81% catholic. The
Catholicism seen in Mexico is broadly like Catholi-
cism in Europe but it has its differences, which are
shown through the architecture of religious build-
ings, certain beliefs that have been told over many
centuries and special holidays, The Day of the Dead
for example, which was originally a Mexican and
Aztec tradition for around 2500 years but now has
been associated with Catholicism by many people
who create catholic shrines respecting God, Jesus
and dead relatives. But how did Catholic conquerors
help to spread their religion to South America?
To understand howCatholicism has spread
to Mexico and how it is by far the most popular
religion in the country, we need to go back to when
the Spanish Conquest of the Aztec Empire began in
1519. The person most associated with carrying out
the conquest is Hernan Cortes, a Spanish explorer
and military commander who led several hundred
soldiers and sailors to Mexico. He had the author-
ity from his homeland the catholic authorities to
conquest Latin America starting at Mexico and to
spread the catholic faith. Cortes spent months col-
onising coastal villages with intimidation and force
and eventually moved inland toTlaxcalteca in the
September of 1519, where he formed an alliance
with the leaders and their army. He then moved to
Cholula, the second largest in Mesoamerica and
known to be the most sacred but was met with
hostility and rumours of assassination plans against
him. He decided to burn the city down and claimed
that within 3 hours, the city had been destroyed
and his men had killed at least 3,000 Aztec civilians
although this figure has been claimed by some
people to actually be up to 30,000. This massa-
cre warned the other Mesoamerican cultures and
Mexican cities of the ominous Spanish threat and
inclined the cities that Cortes met on the way to the
capital, Tenochtitlan, to comply with his demands
and accept their fate. The actions of Cortes and his
men at Cholula were seen as ruthless and unjust by
the leaders and civilians and gave Catholicism in
Mexico a bad name afterwards.
Three months later, The Spanish army ar-
The Spanish Conquest
The Spread of Roman
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