Deadly Baggage

What Cortés Brought to Mexico and How It Destroyed the Aztec Civilization


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About the Book

In 1519, a few hundred Europeans led by Hernán Cortés sailed from Cuba to the Mexican mainland, where they encountered representatives of the Aztec Empire. Their Iberian history, culture and religion, and their experience in the Greater Antilles made conquest and riches the aim of these adventurers. They regarded themselves as heroes in a romantic crusade of good against evil. Each member of the expedition sought to acquire precious metals and to become a lord of enslaved native labor. Their horses and steel swords, aided by native disunity and susceptibility to Old World diseases, ensured their success.
This analysis of the conquest of Mexico stands in contrast to previous narratives that either reduce the conquest to a contest between Cortés and Montezuma, or describe a near miraculous victory of European ingenuity and Western values over Indian superstition and savagery. The author re-frames the clash of civilizations in New World prehistory that left inhabitants at a disadvantage.

About the Author(s)

Al Sandine, retired from a career of public service and political activism, lives in Kensington, California.

Bibliographic Details

Al Sandine
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9700-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2222-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Introduction 3

1—Guests Without Baggage 11

2—Iberian Voyagers 26

3—Conquest as Romance 39

4—Crusaders in America 51

5—The Sword’s New Cutting Edge 64

6—America’s Gold and Silver Promote Slavery and Boost European Commerce 71

7—The Horse’s New Footing 98

8—Transplanting a Work Ethic 108

9—A New Kind of Savagery 125

10—Hog Heaven 149

11—Micro-Invaders 154

12—Leftover Baggage: The Triumph of an Oxymoron 166

Conclusion 189

Chapter Notes 195

Bibliography 218

Index 229