Talk:Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire

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Former good article nominee Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
July 15, 2006 Good article nominee Not listed


This title used to redirect to History of Mexico. However, we found that the article on Hernan Cortés was getting too long so we moved the section on the Conquest of Mexico here. Please do NOT redirect this to History of Mexico again. I am going to put a link in History of Mexico to this article. Richard 23:12, 26 March 2006 (PST)

Name swapped with redirect[edit]

The article was moved from (swapped with) Spanish Conquest of Mexico per request. -- Rick Block (talk) 16:09, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Copyright violations removed by rewriting offending sections[edit]

I have rewritten the first half of the article which is where the copyright violations were. The rewritten version of the article is in Spanish conquest of Mexico/Temp. Richard 19:06, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

I have reviewed Richard's revamping, and I could no longer find any copyvio. I have taken his work in Temp and copied it here, and removed the copyvio notice. I see that a couple of folks have edited the file after the copyvio notice was added (the one which says "Please do not edit this page for the time being."). Sorry to overwrite the changes. Madman 02:05, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Source of problems with spelling, grammar and diction[edit]

This article, like many on Wikipedia, has been edited by many authors. Over time, issues with spelling, grammar and diction have been fixed but, as the article is expanded upon, new errors are introduced. A major reason for this is that at least one of the authors is a Mexican who, although quite knowlegeable about the Aztecs and the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire, has a less than proficient command of the English language. Those editors who are fluent in the English language are asked to be patient and diligent in finding and correcting any errors which may arise.

An alternative approach would be to have our expert write in Spanish and then have the Spanish text translated into English. I suspect that doing things that way would slow down the development of this article considerably.

Richard 03:56, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

"Spanish" vs. "Spaniard"[edit]

you Please see Talk:Aztec for an unresolved discussion over the use of "Spanish" vs. "Spaniard". According to our Mexican expert on the Aztec empire, the term "Spaniard" seems to be more appropriate when speaking of the conquistador era. However, since only three people have "voted", it's hard to say that a consensus has been reached. Richard

As mentioned in my edit comment, I recently changed all 'Spaniard' references to 'Spanish', based on a suggestion by Rockero. I would be happy to change them all to 'Spaniard' if that becomes the consensus. Certainly 'Spaniard' has a nice historical conquistador-like ring to it. Madman 15:35, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
I fail to see why it should matter. Spanish is the adjective, Spaniard the noun, much like swede/swedish, briton/british, frechman/french. Academic discussion. (unsigned, apparently by User:Bistor92
Sorry, it's not academic. You would say "Jean-Luc is a Frenchman" but you would "say the French lost the battle of Waterloo" (not the Frenchmen). For Sweden, you could say "the Swedes" or "the Swedish". Same for "the Britons" or "the British".
Some of us believe that, when speaking of conquistadors, you would say "the Spaniards" not "the Spanish". Others believe that "the Spaniards" is antiquated and that all instances of "the Spaniards" should be changed to "the Spanish".
--Richard 21:50, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

My comments are merely the result of grammatical rigour. 'Spaniard' is a noun and refers to an individual from Spain. 'Spanish' can be either a noun or an adjective: a noun when referring to the spanish language, or when referring to the people of Spain ('he speaks spanish', 'the spanish'); an adjective when making reference to an object with a spanish quality ('spanish guitar', 'spanish wine').

One can certainly say 'the frenchmen lost the battle of waterloo' if you are referring to the group of frenchmen that took part in the battle of Waterloo. If you are referring to France as a nation, the french people, losing the battle of Waterloo, then 'the french lost the battle of waterloo' is the way to go.

What is undoubtedly incorrect is using 'spaniard' as an adjective ('the spaniard guitar', 'the spaniard wine').

This is not very difficult. A quick look at your dictionary will quickly dissipate any doubts you have. --Bistor92 18:17, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

This is, perhaps, the best explanation of the distinction between the two words that I've seen. It fits my understanding but I hadn't focused on it as the central issue in this debate.
OK, let me see if I understand. "Spaniard" refers to an individual from Spain. That is helpful. This argues then that we should say things like "the Spaniards conquered Tenochtitlan thus overthrowing the Aztec empire". After all, the Spanish nation didn't do it, a group of Spaniards under the command of Hernan Cortes did.
However, would we say "the Spaniards instituted a system called encomienda which effectively enslaved the native Indian tribes"? or would we say "the Spanish instituted....etc.". I think we could use both and it gets to be a pain to pay attention to when you can only use Spaniards and when you can use either Spaniards or Spanish so we might as well use Spaniards throughout and be safe except in cases when only "the Spanish" will do. For example, "the Spanish (people) were astonished and excited by the riches flowing from the New World".
Am I getting this right?
--Richard 18:53, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

I believe we're seeing eye to eye.

The correctness of the examples you mention depend on whether the the actions being described where the result of a group of people that happened to be spanish (spaniards), or were the product of the state policy of Spain.

Thus, who overtook Tenochtitlan? Was it the spanish state or a group of spaniards led by Cortés? I would argue the latter, even though the Cortés expedition eventually came under state control and scrutiny. Initially, Cortés acted largely on his own, without the consent of the local spanish authorities (Velázquez). Although he always maintained his loyalty to the emperor Charles V, sending him tribute, this was not a state organized expedition.

Other phases of the conquest of New Spain were certainly the result of state policy, under the leadership of officers appointed by the king of Spain, equipped and funded by the crown.

In the particular case of the encomienda system, I would be inclined to speak of 'the spanish', since it was a system designed by the crown. Individual spaniards were the 'encomenderos', but the system was instituted by the state.

As a side note, 'effectively enslaved' does not sound like NPOV to me, largely because the encomienda system was designed to save souls, not enslave natives. Christians could not be slaves. But that is another debate...:)--Bistor92 00:18, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree, the encomienda system originally was not designed to enslave natives... but eventually it was used for that... maybe this need to be explained. Under the encomienda system, natives were legally considered as minors, with little legal rights, but it took some time to evolve that way. As the aztec article comments. The situation inmediatly after the conquest did not seems to be so bad for most mesoamerican people, but a mixture of colonialims and disease (not all was the fault of the conquistadores) eventually destroyed the mesoamerican cultures. Nanahuatzin 02:27, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
You are absolutely right that abuses were commited. My concern is the language used. The term 'slave' implies a legal status that natives in New Spain simply did not have.
Many people have been exploited throughout history. Are the hundreds of thousands of modern-day mexican workers that work twelve hour shifts, for a few dollars a day, slaves? The estimated one million child workers in Mexico, today. Are they slaves?
Few would doubt they are exploited. Few would doubt they are effectively, slaves. But are they slaves, legally? The answer is, of course, no.
Lets avoid the inaccurate language, and stick to what is correct. Natives in New Spain were not slaves.

--Bistor92 01:07, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Did Cortes convince four Tlaxcala leaders to be baptized?[edit]

The article text says "Legends say that he convinced the four leaders of Tlaxcala to become baptized." The source is Hugh Tomas, "Conquest of Mexico" 1991. My question is "Why is this attributed to legend?" What is the source for this assertion and why do we attribute it to legend rather than say "according to Cortes" or "according to Bernal Diaz" or "according to Sahagun"?

Richard 07:25, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

that is because that is what Hugh Tomas coments... Probably he does not trust his source on this. As i recall, he took form the "History of Tlaxcala" by muños camargo. A tlaxtalteca who wrote after the conquest. but not all his writting is trutsworthy.. Nanahuatzin 16:03, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
I think i found the original source. An inscription in one off the oldest churchs in Mexico "El Exconvento de San Francisco ". . But from the tone of some schollars (in the magazine "Arqueologia mexicana" ) they don´t see it as an historical truth, since the paintings look more like propaganda.. but maybe we should not bother the readers with this last detail... Nanahuatzin 02:17, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Need to get our terminology straight[edit]

I rewrote the intro paragraph to help make it clear that the Conquest of Mexico did not end with the defeat of the Mexica at Tenochtitlan. At that point, the Aztec Empire began to disintegrate but it took another 60 years before the Spanish conquered all the parts of the empire.

Hopefully, the new text will keep people from editing it back to that implication. I may edit it further to try to get the idea across.

However, on reflection, I'm not sure that we (I!) have been using the right terminology in these Aztec-related articles. What I'm looking for is a good explanation of how to use the words Aztec, Mexica, Nahua, Mexico, Mesoamerica and Maya to accurately communicate the interrelationships of all these.

We often use "Mesoamerican" to refer to the cultures under Aztec-domination. However, if you look at the definition of Mesoamerica, the Maya are included in the definition.

Mesoamerica does not just refer to the Aztec. It is much broader geographically and deeper historically (e.g. back to Olmecs and earlier). Madman 15:41, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

My impression is that the Maya were not under Aztec domination which is why we say that the Conquest of Mexico took another 60 years while the Conquest of Yucatan took another 170 years.

No, the Maya were not under Aztec domination.

In particular, I think the Aztec Empire encompasses all of Mesoamerica except for the Maya. However, the Mexica are specifically the Nahua people who lived in Tenochtitlan and a few neighboring cities. The Aztec Empire (a misnomer created by Humboldt, I know) consisted of the people who were under domination by the Mexica. The Conquest of Mexico then is really the story of the conquest of the Aztec (Mexica) Empire and the Conquest of Yucatan is the story of the conquest of the Maya. The Conquest of Mesoamerica encompasses both Conquest of Mexico and the Conquest of Yucatan.

Did I get that right? If not, please tell me where I got it wrong.

I am not an expert, but I would have to say that there were more cultures around than the Aztec and Maya. They were certainly the largest groups in Mesoamerica at the time of the Spanish conquest, but not the only ones. Madman 15:41, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Let's get this story right here on this Talk page and then we can go fix it in all the relevant articles. --Richard 09:40, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Hi. many thanks for reviewing all this (and the star..). My own used of the term is not always consistent. And multiple editing somtimes make it more confusing.. so:
Mesoamerica, it´s a geographic area , where several cultures existed, like Maya, Chontal, Mixteca, Nahua, Teotihuacan, Tajin, Cuicuilco, Chicimeca, Tolteca etc. somehow they can be considered linked, because this geographic zone is isolated from the cultures of south america. The conquest of Mesoamerica, would consists on the independent episodes of the conquest of Maya, Mexica, (and Nahua), Mixteca, Chontal, Quiche, Cachixtel, Chichimeca. Some other cultures just... dissapear. but they should be mentioned somwhere... That of course is a lot of work.. but i think it´s good time to start...
I want to start an article about the nahua, that should redirect to the diferent nahua people: Mexica, Tenochca Tlaxcalteca, Tepaneca, Xochimilca, Huexotzinga, to name a few. There is very litle about them on the net, so it will be very rewarding:) .
another thing.. I thing we should make clear the article about the aztec refers mainly to the mexica.. this means that most of the mentions to aztec should be replace by Mexica. Of course i would like your opinions. Although i have been thinking on this.. I just found that .. Huitzilopochtli himself order them to not to use the name Aztec, but Mexica.. and maybe we should comply. Nanahuatzin 16:00, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Nanahuatzin, please capitalize all proper nouns, including Maya, Mexica, Aztec, etc. Also, please check your spelling and your typing before saving. I realize that English is not your primary language, so perhaps some of your spelling mistakes can be excused, but nonethless there are quite a number of typos just in your message above (shoudl, it,s, Of coures i, and Mesaomerica). Madman 17:00, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Ok, i promised i will do it. I have become to much careless in my typing. Also a few explanations... In spanish we don´t capitalize proper nonus... so ussually forgot to do it in english. I will be more carefull. And,in my spanish keyboard i have trouble locating the symbol ' so I have the bad habit of using the coma instead... I understand your concern, and do not hesitate to call my attention when i became slopier than ussual. Nanahuatzin 01:59, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
On the matter of Aztec and Mexica, the term Aztec is understood in the English speaking world (19 million hits on Google), while the term Mexica is not (2 million hits, about 10% of the number), so I think it is critical for clarity that we use the term Aztec in our articles. Madman 17:00, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Ok, i will comply. But i wish to streess the point to our readers. If you go to the "Museo nacional de arqueologia e historia" (1963), you will not find an Aztec room, but a Mexica room ( Nanahuatzin 01:59, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Madman about using Aztec over Mexica throughout all Aztec-related articles although we should help the reader understand the Aztec-Mexica issue at the beginning of every major Aztec article. I'll start a separate thread on that soon or at least review Talk:Aztec/Usage to make sure it is documented.
As for Madman's comments about Nanahuatzin's English, I disagree vehemently. As I commented earlier, the English typos can be caught readily by the many English editors who have the Aztec articles on their watchlists. I would prefer that Nanahuatzin's time be spent providing content which many of us (me, at least) could not provide because we do not have his expertise.
We already have one comment that suggests that the Aztec article is too narrow in content. Nanahuatzin is one of the few people who have the time, interest and experise to expand the content. I am happy to play cleanup behind him.
--Richard 17:13, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
It is important that every editor be conscientious. It is sheer carelessness when an editor apparently randomly capitalizes only some of the proper names in a list (as above), or chooses to ignore the typo in it,s -- neither Spanish nor English contain commas in the middle of words. Again, I am willing to give a bit more license to a non-native speaker in terms of grammar or spelling, but that doesn't mean that he can treat Wikipedia with disregard for the basics.
And it is unrealistic to think that you will run around after him and clean up. His input may be valuable, but there are standards for every contributor. Madman 17:27, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
OK.. i get the point.. I promise  :) Nanahuatzin 01:59, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Regarding the term Mesoamerica: the definition Wikipedia uses is "the region extending from central Mexico south to the northwestern border of Costa Rica that gave rise to a group of stratified, culturally related agrarian civilizations spanning an approximately 3,000-year period before the European discovery of the New World by Columbus." This is consistent with most of the literature out there. According to this site[1], which although it is a commercial tourist site, has some good info and a map, Mesoamerica does not include the north of Mexico. That means that the Chichimeca would not be included, although they certainly had contact with Mesoamerican peoples.

Also, I noticed that there has been some consolidation of discussion (since the same questions are brought up about many articles), but it seems to be incomplete. Can I suggest moving all terminology discussions to the subpage of Talk:Aztec? Then we can leave a note on each talkpage affected saying something like, "Discussion of the term ... has been moved to Talk:Aztec/Usage." Richard, you up to it?--Rockero 21:31, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

That is a good definition. the only problem are the Chichimeca. This was a term used very loosely by the Nahua. For example the city of Tula (Tollan xicotitlan) was considered "tolteca chichimeca" by the nauha and Nezahualcoyotl sometimes was called Chichimeca. Manuelpr is making a good work on the article, but so far it, mentions only the nomadic groups also called chichimeca. There still a lot to do  :) Nanahuatzin 06:08, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Internal contradiction in article?[edit]

In the Cortés as Quetzalcoatl section, we find the following:

"In his letters to Charles V, Cortés claims to have learned at this point that he was considered by the Aztecs to be either an emissary of Quetzalcoatl or Quetzalcoatl himself."


"Ironically, Cortes does not mention the alleged "god worship" episode in his letters to King Charles V of Spain. He may not even have known about it."

I am unfamiliar with the letters, but to me these seem contradictory. Can someone straighten this out? Madman 14:10, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

I have the letters, so let me check.. But if i remember well, Cortez did not mention the Quetzalcoatl cult in the known letters (two of them had been lost). But it was mentioned by Gomara. But the point to considered is that some historians question that Cortez was considered a god, putting some doubts on the spanish writtings. Curiously the mexican historians did not question it, pointing that there are enough native narrations to corroborate this. Nanahuatzin 01:53, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Copyright violation[edit]

The following text from the artice (under Cortés orders his fleet scuttled) is swiped directly from the PBS website:

Those of his men still loyal to the Governor of Cuba conspired to seize a ship and escape to Cuba, but Cortés moved swiftly to quash their plans. To make sure such a mutiny did not happen again, he decided to sink his ships, on the pretext that they were not seaworthy.

I'm not sure what to do about this; do I just take out the text, or do I need to re-write it in different words?  –Benjamin  (talk)  19:47, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

A rewrite is better, but if you don't have time, just remove it.--Rockero 20:48, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

GA on hold[edit]

GA on hold because the lead section doesn't comply with GA criterion (see WP:LEAD).
The article will also need to have its citations in accordance with the Cite.php guideline. Lincher 15:18, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

comment: The lead section can presumably be expanded, however I'm not sure about the requirement to follow the cite.php convention, is that really what is meant? My understanding is that cite.php is but one of several acceptable citation styles (and it is really a footnoting convention, in particular), and that per WIAGA 2(b) inline citations are "desirable, although not mandatory". Perhaps WP:CITE is the more relevant guideline, and the article does list sources (but these are not specifically footnoted, it's more of an informal Harvard-type scheme in use here). Agree that the references need some tidying up, though.
There are a couple of other accuracy and misc. spelling errors which (to my mind, at least) need correcting before proceeding with the GA assessment.--cjllw | TALK 00:57, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

As the points that were mentioned above weren't changed in the 7 day-on hold duration period for articles to become good, the article still lacked in some areas to meet the GA criteria. As for the progression of the article, more comments have been gathered altough they aren't needed for GA status, they will for the FA status. The other concerns are :

  • The line Perceiving this to be the opportunity of a lifetime, Cortés embarked on this enterprise zealously and energetically. has a POV connotation since it is not cited.
  • Is this line Velázquez himself must have been keenly aware that whoever conquered the mainland for Spain would gain fame, glory and fortune to eclipse anything that could be achieved in Cuba. of common knowledge or is it purely speculative. I think with reference it would be les ambiguous.
  • The name Cortes should stick to only one spelling which is Cortés. Same thing for the word Yucatan.
  • The sentence La Malinche was later made legendary through depictions in book and film. should be blended into the prose or remove as it is almost trivia.
  • Ironically, Velásquez had used this same legal mechanism to free himself from Columbus' authority in Cuba. seems not to be related to the article.
  • This paragraph needs referencing : When the Spaniards saw the island city for the first time, from the ring of volcanoes around the Valley of Mexico, they asked each other if they were dreaming. Surely it was the most magnificent city in the world. How could God allow heathens such splendor?
  • In the quote : That you would came to ask for your thone,..., is the verb conjugated properly?
mhhh... I translated it from the spanish version of the Florentine Codex. This is the original in spanish :
"Y tú has venido entre nubes, entre nieblas.
Como que esto era lo que nos habían dejado dicho los reyes, los que rigieron, los que gobernaron tu ciudad:
Que habras de instalarte en tu asiento, en tu sitial, que habrías de venir acá...
Pues ahora, se ha realizado: ya tú llegaste, con gran fatiga, con afán viniste.
Llega a la tierra: ven y descansa; toma posesión de tus casas reales; da refrigerio a tu cuerpo.
¡Llegad a vuestra tierra, señores nuestros!". Nanahuatzin 06:44, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Could there be more information given on why was it called New Spain? When was it called that and by whom?
The name was sugested by Hernan Cortés, and made official by Antonio de Mendoza, who organized the goverment and became the first viceroy of the "nueva España". Nanahuatzin 06:44, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Were the towns destroyed after the conquest ... were they rebuilt?
  • Are there ruins of that remind us of the conquest ... where are they situated?
Tenochtitlan was demolished after the conquest. It´s remains are under the Modern Mexico city. The ruins of th Main temple are now exposed in the "El museo del templo mayor". In the other prehispanic cities, temples were destroyed and churches built on the top of them, and after most of the population died (mostly by disease) most of the prehispanic towns were abandoned and forgoten. Nanahuatzin 06:44, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

This article is really good to read, has a nice prose and is well-documented ... if the inline citations would conform to only one guideline, it would probably reach GA status ... please come by GA once this is done. Lincher 15:58, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Hi, Lincher. Thanks for taking the time to review this article and to provide a critique. I (and apparently other editors) have been busy doing other stuff and so have not had time to address the criticisms that you made. I plan to work on a better lead section soon and will also address the specific passages that you provided above. We'll be back once these issues have been addressed. Thanks once again.

--Richard 16:04, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Re: smallpox - any input regarding the recent scientific american article opining that it was not in fact smallpox but a plague borne by rats returning to cities after a drought, and that smallpox was known in Mexico prior to the arrival of Cortes? I've tried to look up more about this without much success... -kengwen Oct 16 2006 12:17 (PST)

Cortés as Quetzalcoatl?[edit]

I have in front of me a copy of "The Aztecs" by Michael E. Smith (1996). In it, he says that "Motecuhzoma's actions so puzzled and troubled the Nahua nobility that, after the conquest, they contrived a story to account for them." (283) This story includes the prophecies about the return of Quetzalcoatl, the signs leading to his coming, and the belief that Motecuhzoma actually thought Cortés was the god.

His footnote for this paragraph points to a note saying "Many modern authors apparently believe this story, which is repeated in numerous accounts of the Spanish conquest. Gillespie (1989:173-201) provides a detailed historiographic analysis showing it to be a sixteenth century fabrication, created in the attempt to make sense out of the cataclysm of the Spanish conquest."

His source in the bibliography is as follows:

Gillespie, Susan D.

1989. The Aztec Kings: The Constitution of Rulership in Mexica History. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

If this is the case, shouldn't all of these references in Wikipedia be corrected?

Does this comment belong on a different Talk page, or is this the right place? I'm working on a research project for an Anthropology class, and this was the page I had open that seemed most appropriate for this discussion.

semifamous 00:58, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Hi Semifamous. This talk page is as good as any to comment on this topic, there are a few other associated articles where this surfaces but this would probably be the main one.
Quite agree with you that the prose and references where this is covered in this (and other) articles can be improved upon, and you would be most welcome to do so yourself. Unfortunately there is quite a bit of confusion in even quite reputable and well-known sources about this, and even the primary 16thC sources do a lot of conflating of legendary tales, revisionism, and generally fail to delineate the historical from the mythological. This confusion is reflected somewhat in the article(s) which over time have been added to by a variety of contributors who may be relying upon the popular accounts which repeat it. It can be a bit of a job to put it all into perspective and maintain it. --cjllw | TALK 02:44, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree that it can be a "bit of a job". Nonetheless, it is a worthwhile project if you (Semifamous) are game for it. However, unless you are sure that Smith's view based on Gillespie's work is the mainstream opinion, I would suggest that you couch the text in a way that suggests that this is an alternative view. Even if you are confident that the Smith/Gillespie perspective is the mainstream view, you should couch the text in a way that indicates that the Cortes as Quetzalcoatl legend is widely accepted as true by the public.
--Richard 08:06, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Name of Article[edit]

The name of the article doenst make much sense because technically before the Spanish arrived, there was NO such thing as Mexico, Spanish rebels(a few centuries later ) are the ones that created the country Mexico. Before that, there was only individual tribes all around the area, but no "Mexico" to be found. Kortiz 14:05, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

Mexico was the name the aztecs used for their city. So yes it makes sense. Any way if we have to pick nits like that there also were no spanish at that point in time because Castile, Navarre and Aragon were only parts of the Habsburgian Empire. WOuld you prefer a title such as "The Colonization of the Geographical area now known as Mexico by forces of the Habsburgian empire composed mainly of Iberians"? Maunus 15:10, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
I think User:Kortiz has a valid point and we should consider whether a change in titles is in order. The problem, of course, is that there are difficulties no matter which way we decide to go. I think the current naming scheme is in place because there is no obvious better alternative. Let's discuss it a bit and see whether we want to make a change.
The word Mexico is used here to describe the portion of the Aztec empire that was dominated by the Mexica. For better or worse, the article more or less ends with the fall of Tenochtitlan with a short epilogue that does not provide much detail.
It is important to note that the title Spanish conquest of Mexico is used to differentiate this article from the Spanish conquest of the Yucatan. Thus, this article is definitely NOT talking about the Spanish conquest of the country that is now known as Mexico. The title of the Spanish conquest of the Yucatan article could be changed to Spanish conquest of the Maya and the title of this article could be changed to Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire or Spanish conquest of the Mexica. There is also an article entitled Spanish conquest of Peru. The title of that could be changed to Spanish conquest of the Inca or Spanish conquest of the Inca empire.
I have no strong opinion on the naming scheme as long as we keep all the titles of all three articles consistent.
--Richard 01:52, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't think the point is valid at all, publications since Prescott has used the title "Conquest of Mexico" to change that would only cause confusion and rightful accusations of political correctness and making of neologisms. Maunus 05:24, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
I think Maunus is correct on all counts. Nearly any reader will understand the present title and all other options are bad. Changing it to Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire would be less exact than Spanish conquest of Mexico and Spanish conquest of the Mexica is less clear and more pendantic. I vote Keep. Madman 15:00, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes! User:Richardshusr you are completely right, "Spanish Conquest of the Aztecs" is way more correct. Wikipedia is meant to be correct and this sometimes means breaking the popular (mis)conceptions Kortiz 21:43, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree with the general proposition that terms associated with modern-day nations should not be used anachronistically (eg, calling Tecun Uman a "Guatemalan"). However in this instance and context I think the use of "Mexico" is not necessarily one such case. As Maunus points out the general use of "Mexico" to refer to the former territories of Aztec expanse is so entrenched in the historical and archaeological literature that it almost acquires its own meaning, as recognised shorthand for 'the central Mexican plateaux and outlying regions'. Likewise, "Spanish" is understood as referring to the particular configuration of the "Spanish Empire" at that time, not the modern EU-member state.
Before determining whether another title would be more appropriate, it might be best to first decide what is the proper scope for this article, and the others mentioned. Presently this article mainly concerns itself with Cortes' campaign, yet there were other campaigns and Spanish incursions into other areas which followed. We probably need, and there would be ample scope for, a series of articles on the events and impacts of conquistador forces over the Mesoamerican region, ie a history leading to the formation of New Spain in the region. There are several significant campaigns, such as in the Guatemalan highlands or in the southern Mesoamerican periphery, which are not as yet separately covered. I guess some more thought and effort needs to go into working out how to break the conquest-era history up for the region.
The alternative naming scheme of Spanish conquest of X culture has its merits, but also its problems- the tale now outlined here also touches on conquistador exploits involving native polities which would not strictly be "Aztec" ones, for example.
All of the main terms- Mexico, Spain, New Spain, Aztec, Mexica, Maya, etc -which might appear in an article's title have varying scope depending on the context. I think we'd be better off using the articles' texts to explain the nuances of meaning to the reader, rather than being too convoluted in the articles' titles.
Still, would be open to further suggestions, but think it would be better to consider as part of an overall scheme to document the conquest- and colonial-era history of the region as a whole.--cjllw | TALK 01:29, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
I just re-read CJLL Wright's comment. How about Spanish conquest of Mesoamerica as the overarching article with Spanish conquest of Mexico and Spanish conquest of the Yucatan as subsidiary articles? --Richard 06:54, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Not a good idea in my opinion. Firstly because that would require many more separate articles to be written for the conquest of all the other non-mesoamerican areas colonized by Spain, plus sub articles for all the different areas within mesoamerica. The right article name for an overarching article would be Spanish colonization of the Americas. If renaming the present article I would vote for Colonization of New Spain or similar, but that wouldn't change the fact that everybody will be searching for "Conquest of Mexico". ·Maunus· ·ƛ· 07:46, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
I still think "...of Mexico" is the best compromise title we've come up with for this present article's scope; "New Spain" can be used to include all the territorial possessions at one time or another, eg the Spanish East Indies. Some other, long-term future project could possibly treat the conquest/colonial era history of Mesoamerican peoples as a whole, maybe in some History of.. series we are yet to compile. And yes, there are still quite a few regions and episodes of the Spanish colonisation of the Americas not really documented in wikipedia at the moment, but probably deserve to be.--cjllw ʘ TALK 04:50, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Classifying this article as "Start" rather than as "B-class"[edit]

Clearly different editors will have different standards for rating articles. User:Kyriakos just recently demoted this article from "B-class" to "Start". It would be nice if he would provide some explanation of what his standards are and what specific areas need to the most immediate attention. Thanks. --Richard 17:11, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Historical accuracy and the title[edit]

[QUOTE] I don't think the point is valid at all, publications since Prescott has used the title "Conquest of Mexico" to change that would only cause confusion and rightful accusations of political correctness and making of neologisms [/QUOTE]

It's not about political correctness, it's about historical accuracy. Merely calling it the SPANISH CONQUEST is highly erroneous in itself because it grossly ignores the fact that the bulk of the army that defeated the Aztecs was made up of other indigenous people, lead of course by the newly arrived foreigners. The popular version of this historical event in Western circles is the simplistic and flippant one that gives full credit (or almost) to europeans from the lowest rung of iberian society. Myths created specifically to make us believe that it was inevitable that a few hundred criminals (which most of the so-called "conquistadors" were, a misnomer if there ever was one) were destined to defeat an "inferior" primitive savage people. I highly recommend Matthew Restall's book "Seven's Myths" for a more balanced approach to recalling the events of this period in history.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 5 May 2007.

I think we're all for historical accuracy; however, there is only so much information that the article title is able to convey, by itself. It would require absurd lengths to comprehensively describe and include all of the influences, participants and machinations in the title, which after all only needs to be a brief but recognisable label. The article's text is the place to describe the detail and subtlety, and this article does not neglect the roles played by Tlaxcala and others, or the internecine struggles and animosities. No doubt there is room for improving depth of coverage here, yet I'd not call the treatment here simplistic or flippant. And neither does this or any of the other Aztec articles seek to characterise them as inferior, primitive or savages.--cjllw ʘ TALK 13:40, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
I think is arguing that the title should be changed to Conquest of Mexico or Conquest of the Aztec Empire or something like that. Leaving off the word "Spanish" would probably go a long way to address his complaint. --Richard 05:23, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Europian and Asian Diseases[edit]

I'm positive it didn't mention diseases where I edited. Diseases were a very large factor in the general loss of life attributed to the European conquest of the Americas. I may be wrong, but I sincerely doubt it. [2]

De Vaca, Alvar Nuñez Cabeza, and Fanny Bandelier, trans.(1905). The Journey of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza De Vaca(1542). From PBS website. - User:InternetHero 17:33, 15 April, 2007 (UTC)

Map of Cortés path[edit]

Hello, for your information, here's a SVG map from Commons: Image:Conquest of Mexico 1519-1521.svg. Historicair 15:34, 12 September 2007 (UTC)


"In his letters to Charles V, Cortés claims to have learned at this point that he was considered by the Aztecs to be either an emissary of Quetzalcoatl or Quetzalcoatl himself."


"Ironically, Cortés does not mention the alleged "god worship" episode in his letters to King Charles V of Spain. He may not even have known about it."

--frotht 23:34, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

To quote Matthew Restall's Seven Myths (p.113), "In his letters to the king Cortés makes no claims to having been taken either as Huitzilopochtli or Quetzalcoatl (whom he never mentions at all)".
So the first statement would be incorrect, or at the very least misrepresents Cortés version (called by Restall an 'improbable' one) of Moctezuma's welcome to him. According to Cortés, this was as someone sent by a lord descended from the Mexica's original ruler, but not a god nor representative of one, per se. The second statement is better aligned with the contents of Cortés' letters AFAIK, but it and the rest of the section could do with an overhaul.--cjllw ʘ TALK 13:16, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I commented out the first sentence which states Cortes' claims... and changed the conflict tag to clean-up. If anyone disagrees with this action, please feel free to reverse it and discuss it further. It does seem as if that particular section does need some addition re-writing and/or cleanup. Thanks so much for all the hard work on this article. Ya'all are doing wonderfully. Kjnelan (talk) 01:12, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Cortes as Quetzalcoatl contribs[edit]

Hello all. My name is Andrew and I am an undergraduate at the University of Toronto. Currently I am taking a course called "History of the Americas: Interaction and Inequality." My main interests are the conquests of the Aztecs and the Incas, and have been reviewing this topic and other Latin American topics in history. I made this contribution because I believe that the Indigenous account of the conquest is often overlooked. Soon, I hope to include more primary Indigenous accounts of the Spanish conquest.--Vandrew (talk) 23:36, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Hi everyone. I made another contribution under the Cortés as Quetzalcoatl subheading. It includes both Aztec and Spanish primary accounts of Cortes as Quetzalcoatl. Please have a read and let me know what you all think. --Vandrew (talk) 15:20, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Opening para comment[edit]

Currently the opening paragraph reads: "The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire was one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of America. The most important conquistador in this conquest was Hernán Cortés." If the article were truly balanced, there would also be something that read, "The fall of the Aztec Empire to Spanish conquest of the was one of the most largest slaughters under Spanish colonization of America. The most important resistance fighters were..." History gets to be wrtten by its victors. Wikipedia, we've got a long way to go. Morganfitzp (talk) 07:59, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Map size[edit]

The article contained a thumbnail of a map with its width set at 800 pixels wide, which is too much because it makes the article difficult to use for people on low resolutions or those who want to make a print copy. I set it at default width, but someone reverted me, so as a compromise I set it at 400 pixels wide, although I believe that we should make it again to be at default width. Users who want to see the map can click on it. Moreover, logged-in users can change their preferences to make thumbnails look bigger than the default value, but if we decide a hardcoded width for them we deny them the opportunity to do so. If no one disagrees I will change the map to default width in a few hours, but feel free to raise your views. Keep in mind that many people read Wikipedia with devices that have as low resolutions as 640x480 (PDAs) or 800x480 (netbooks), and that not everyone likes to have their browser window maximised to the whole screen. NerdyNSK (talk) 10:45, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

I think it is a very bad solution. It drastically lowers the usefulness of illustrations such as maps if they are so small that the information they contain can only be accessed by clicking on them. The usefulness of maps and diagrams in articles is exatly that they can give overviews of large bodies of information at a glance instead of through reading. The proposal to have so small maps will make people less likely to achieve the full benefit of this because they will have to read the information to even know what the illustration is illustrating and whether they want to click on it to get the maps full information. I don't think we can be obliged to make wikipedia accesible to people with such small monitors - indeed many people use wikipedia on their cellphone with a 1,5 inch display, how could we cater to that audience? Users who chose to browse wikipedia with pda's know full well that they will have a slight disadvantage to those who have larger monitors. Making illustrations smaller will only serve to put those who use large monitors at a disavantage instead.·Maunus·ƛ· 12:30, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
I completely agree with the esteemed Maunus. Setting the map at a small size is pretty useless to the casual readers of the article. You might as well just put a link to the map, for all the insight that a tiny map will provide.
As Maunus indicates, setting the map at a tiny size will force the reader to move to a different screen to view it. This is comparable, in print terms, to putting all maps and images at the back of the book.
Finally, as Maunus indicates, we can't be tailoring our articles to use the lowest common denominator. We should take advantage of all the wonderful options that a full page will provide. Thanks, Madman (talk) 13:05, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
According to Wikipedia's policy found at Wikipedia:Image_use_policy#Displayed_image_size: "Images should generally not be set to a fixed size (i.e. one that overrides the preferences settings of the individual users" and "Where size forcing is appropriate, larger images should generally be a maximum of 550 pixels wide, so that they can comfortably be displayed on 800x600 monitors." and according to Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#Images "Some users need to configure their systems to display large text; forced large thumbnails can leave little width for text, making reading difficult." and "If an image displays satisfactorily at the default size, it is recommended that no explicit size be specified. Examples of images which typically need more than the default size include lead images (see above) and detailed maps." so this shows that the previous size (800px) was really overkill and against the policy, as well as that I should probably check the current policy before making suggestions :) However, it looks like previous Wikipedia editors who have discussed the issue have found that detailed maps do need to be set a bit larger than the default, but in any case never exheeding 550px in order to cater for people with 800x600 monitors. I think this is ok for netbook owners, as netbooks typically have a resolution of 800x480, albeit on PDAs it may not look good enough. I will currently leave the map at 400px, but per the policy it could be set up to 550px if it can be shown that there is a need to do so. NerdyNSK (talk) 18:39, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Another thing is that I think the image is not very good. It looks like a yellowed scan from a very old book and a lot of the information is lost anyway due to its low quality. Maybe someone with a flair for creating stunning svg graphics could make a new version of Cortés' route to Tenochtitlan..*nudge nudge, wink wink*...·Maunus·ƛ· 17:53, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Cortés finds Veracruz[edit]

I suppose this should be "founds Veracruz". I changed it. Campolongo (talk) 20:17, 13 February 2011 (UTC)


I notice that we have a red link to one Hernan Cortese, and he is also later refered to as Cortes. Should we change Hernan Cortese to Hernan Cortes and link it to the Wikipedia Article w/ the same name? That is who we are talking about, correct?