Nahuatl love poem
Moxiptli tescaco, quetzali xochicuicatl,
Auh otia isiucalli, ixiptli poliui.
Moxiptli nitlamian "Nimitztlazohtla".
→ Poem the mirror ←
Aztec woman & Cortes
Poem translated into Nahuatl, the language of the Nahua peoples, descendants of the Aztecs and Pipils. This agglutinating and predicative language of Mexico (Uto-Aztecan), is spoken by 1.5 million speakers. This language of the Nahua group is the language of Aztec literature. A word that we used very often come from the nahuatlt... the word "chocolate". At the time of the Spanish conquest Aztec writing was entirely pictographic. The Spanish introduced the Roman alphabet and soon recorded a large body of Aztec prose and poetry. The full text of prayer to Tlaloc, the god of rain, runs to about 200 lines.
April 21, 1519, Cortes, with ten caravels, come from Cuba that the Spaniards have already colonized, arrives on the coast of the present-day, Mexico (future new Spain), he founds Vera Cruz. If he lands with gunpowder, that the natives do not know, he only lands with 518 soldiers, 16 horses and some dogs.
Like the conquistators, who preceded him, and those who will succeed him, it is not the king who sends them. Their expeditions, are individual enterprises. If the first explorator (Christopher Colombus), had the authorization of the kings, that is not the case of the conquistadors. The king of spain who want not let the power in the hands of his vassals, will even send an expedition to the Mexican coast, in pursuit of Cortes
When Cortes arrives, wedged between the King of Spain and the Aztecs, he dismantles his ships, to have only one solution, succeed! He divides his men, into two groups. The first remains on the coast, to wait for the army, that the king sends against him, and with the second, he marchs towards Tenochtitlan.
During this first meeting with the Aztecs, Cortes will be saved by two of his men, and could join the other group, stayed near the coast, and defeat, the Spanish pursuers. When he returns, with his allies to Tenochtitlán, the Aztecs will resist, only 3 months. Cortes, practicing the politics of scorched earth, sets the city on fire, and in ruins. In front of him, he had, millions of men, an empire, a complex, and well structured society. And yet, in two years (1521), the Aztec empire will come under the Spanish rule.
There are many reasons:
(1) The Aztec empire had already lost its splendor, and began to become decadent. This federative empire, of three city states, which lived on the tribute of dominated peoples, knew many dissensions, dissensions which will profit to Cortes. His first indigenous contact, will be with the Tlaxcaltecas, a dominated and rival people, of the Aztecs.
(2) With them, especially because of "the Malinche", one of the slaves, the indians gave to him, a devoted slave, who will act as a translator, he will learn all the riches, the dissensions, and the structure of the empire. A knowledge that will allow him, associated with Totonacas and Tlaxcaltecas, to collapse like a house of cards, this powerful civilization.
Other important reasons will also help him:
(3) Smallpox, brought from Europe by the Spaniards, a disease hitherto unknown to the Indians, will wreak havoc, more devastating than decimating the natives, these one will see divine signs, negative for them!
(4) Besides, a different armament, and horses, even in very small numbers, which the Aztecs took for dragons, Indians and Europeans do not make war in the same way. The Spaniards want to kill, the Aztecs themselves, want to make prisoners, for future human sacrifices.
(5) The Aztecs live on omens, and their beliefs make them fatalistic. They were waiting for the return of one of their gods, and the Spaniards arrive the same year.
The Nahuas, the most numerous Amerindians in Mexico, are the descendants of the great Toltec and Aztec civilizations. They were also called Mēxihcatl, origin of Mexico and Mexico City, Tenochtitlán being the capital of their empire.
They are distributed on territories demarcated on both sides by the sierra Madre occidentale and the sierra Madre orientale, more particularly located in Mesa Central. Cultivation on burnings is at the root of their subsistence economy, which, often precarious, forces them to labor in coffee plantations. Weaving and pottery are also practiced. The socio-political organization is based on village unity, hierarchized in classes, and on the existence of a municipal house around which community life is organized.