CLIO FINAL - page 17

rived at Tenochtitlan, where Cortes met the Aztec
Emperor Moctezuma. Cortes showed his power by
demanding for extra gifts and gold and ordered
Moctezuma to replace the two large Aztec god
statues outside the palace to be replaced by statues
of St Christopher andVirgin Mary. These demands
were met, showing that Catholicism was defeating
the Aztec culture quite dramatically. However, the
Aztec people chased them out of Tenochtitlan after
Moctezuma was taken hostage. One year later they
returned with their Tlaxcala allies. They carried
out a siege, which was a massive success. The city
was almost destroyed during the many months of
the siege and eventually the leaders surrendered.
Cortes had finally conqueredTenochtitlan and be-
came governor and captain-general of now-called
New Spain.
Due to the devastating abolition of the
Aztec empires and temples, the civilians who were
still Aztec believers had nothing to rebuild and
work from as everything was being replaced with
catholic buildings and influence. This meant that
they had to give in to the new coming religion and
live the rest of their lives following Catholicism. In
order to properly convert the population, Catholic
priests preached about the evil Aztec gods and how
destroying the Aztec temples meant that they were
cleansing the country from the devils from before.
Religious books and native codices were burnt.
These contained lots of information on the cultures
and religions from before the conquest. This was
done to stop younger civilians from learning the old
religions and only know the catholic faith. Aztec
culture was slowly being eradicated and when a few
generations passed, Catholicism was the default
religion and people still supporting Aztec religions
and gods were outcasts, fearing the higher catholic
powers.
The Spanish ruled Mexico for another 300
years until 1823 when they fought for their inde-
pendence and won. This did not mean that Cathol-
icism went with the Spaniards. The Aztec religions
had been wiped fromMexican culture to such an
extent that the people and land had permanently
become catholic. Today, the violent truth behind
howCatholicism was introduced to Mexico has not
been forgotten but has been accepted as being part
of Mexico’s history and not seen as a ruthless attack
from Europe. The Spanish conquest of Mexico
shows that the history of the spread of religion and
how it has influenced all parts of the world often
contradicts the values that the religion preaches
itself. The desire to have a larger following of one’s
religion can cause a group or one person to over-
look what they must replace and destroy that was
once there before. This is shown perfectly in the
Spanish Conquest in 1519.
Sam Sherrington 10D
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