Talk:La Malinche

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To the author of the original article (The Epop?)--- didn't mean to rewrite so much when I started, merely to correct or dispute a few things. Been almost living with Cortes and Marina, lately, and I guess I got carried away.

If you have sources on some of what I took out, for example that Marina was given to "Tlaxalteca" (sic?) in Tabasco or about her age, I'd really love to know about it.



Just wondering if there's any idea as to how old she was when she was initially married. From my understanding she was among a group of converted trophy women offered to Cortez by the conquered natives among other "young women"? I could not find how young they were, though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:34, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

modern myths[edit]

I know La Malinche is still an important myth in modern Mexico- could there be a link to important myths in the modern world? It is a great tool to compare cultures with, the stories a nation keeps telling says a lot about what they themselves value.

it is important to note that la malinche is not a myth, no one disputes that she was real; however, she has become a mythical archetype. so, a comparison like you suggest perhaps should be to other real figures who have gone on to become archetypes. uri budnik 03:14, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

Origin of the name "La Malinche"[edit]

I think we ought to mention that the word 'mal' is Spanish for 'bad' or 'evil', and therefore always creates a negative connotation in the mind of a native Spanish speaker, even if the word in question has nothing to do with 'badness' or evil. The prefix 'mal-' is used the same way as 'mis-' or 'mal-' in English, so when it occurs at the beginning of a word also carries a negative connotation. That la Malinche's name features the word 'mal' so prominently, and may possibly be a factor in the adherence of this name to this personality, ought to be mentioned as a factor concerning her in the Mexican national consciousness. However it is interesting to note that there is no such negative impression from that sound in indigneous languages. Makes me wonder how much the linguistics of the matter has influenced the perception of this historic personage. Rockero 21:59, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

"Malinche", according Bernal, was Cortés[edit]

The name "Malinche" is explained in page 202 of the book "Historia
verdadera de la conquista de la nueva España" by Bernal Diaz del 
Castillo, one of Hernán Cortés' men. 

"Malinche" was not Doña Marina, but Cortés himself. Marina, her Spanish 
name, was "Malin" for the aboriginals, and "Malinche" meant just 
something like "Malin's captain".  
telmo 19:47, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
What telmo says is true. It's on page 121 in my Díaz. Now we'll have to figure out who began using it in reference to Malintzín...--Rockero 07:07, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Bernal Díaz is not noted for his understanding of the intricacies of the nahuatl language, indeed he seems to have misunderstood most of it and gives many notoriously false etymologies and translations of nahuatl words throughout his account. There are two possible ways that Malinche received her name. One is that her name was malinalli "grass" in nahuatl and that the reason the spaniards gace her the name Marina was the resemblance of this spanish name to her original name. The other possibility is that they just named her randomly Marina. Anyway Since nahuatl has no /r/ sound they quite consistently exchanged r with l in their pronunciations thus making her malina. When speaking to someone respected as she definitely were judging from all accounts it would be unthinkable not to use the honorific suffix -tzin with the name. Nahuatl speakers would thus have called her malintzin. This word was then misheard by spaniards and rendered "malinche" (just like the other suffix -tli was always rendered -te in the hispanicized versions of nahuatl words (e.g. tecolotl > tecolote etc.)). When Bernal Diaz says this it is unfounded or based on a misunderstanding on his part. Maunus 19:20, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Addendum to "The Malinche" or "La Malinche" article[edit]

I have recently placed this request for addendum in the wrong location of the Mesoamerica project, and have been directed to this talks page.

 I apologize if I am utilizing inappropriate structure/design or etiquette in my contributions to the talks page, but I
 was unable to find relevant easily-accessible material to guide me.  My specific request/request-for-contribution is some of
 the modern day usage of the name "Malinche."  It is true that she has been referred to as "La Chingada" or the damned or 
 the one that has been violated (in essence, a victem).  But it is also true within many off-shoots of the Mexican population 
 as well as its culture, that there is multiple different meaning.

 IMHO, I believe that a 1 or 2 lines on Malinche's role (or usage of her name) in todays Mexican or Mexican-American society 
 or culture, is insufficient given that an entire population of a continent has been affected by her interactions with
 history, and certainly as it continues today.  I have no literary reference to provide, no research to validate my 
 assertions, and certainly am no Mesoamerican scholar.  I however am a Mexican-American born in southern Texas where the
 population there is pre-dominantly hispanic, much as southern Los Angeles is.  While this contribution or assertion may be
 nothing more than folk-lore, it none-the-less can be traced through multiple communities throughout Texas, California, New-
 York, Chicago-Illinois or any other place that Mexicans/Mexican-Americans have chosen to plant themselves.  Among many of
 these communities and people that I have lived with, including aunts, uncles, friends, acquaintances and contacts, the
 name "Malinche" is used as a term in a very colloquial sense.  It's used commonly in North America by many
 Mexican-Americans as a state of being.  Specifically, referencing that a person can be "malinche" if they are
 unusually cruel, mean or sinister.  It has also been used in many occassion to reference a person as a traitor much in
 the same way that Americans and the English use the term "Benedict Arnold" to describe a person as being
 traitorous or treacherous.  I realize that the term "malinchismo" is cited in the "Malinche" section, 
 but its use as an adverb isn't really the only grammatical usage of the name, from my personal experiences.  And yes 
 I have heard and used the term Malinchismo.  This having been said, I conclude with my original disclaimer, that I have 
 no project research, no statistical nor analytic nor descriptive data to reference. I simply have first hand experience
 through interaction with multiple generational usage of the term in various communities throughout the North American
 continent north of the Mexican border.  My hope is that this request for contribution will be reviewed, some portion 
 atleast, be included with the original Malinche" Project Page, and/or that those actively engaged in the project will
 contact me and give me feed-back, disclaim my assertions, educate me in appropriate submissions for request on a talk page
 and just a general "Hello we got your information."

Jerry.zambrano 09:41, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Hi. You are certainly right that "malinchismo" has been used to refer to people "betray" their indigenous roots. I think it was first used in the thirties when the indigenista movement was being born. I would recommend the book "The Aztec Image in Western Thought" if you want to read a discussion about how the indigenista movement was born in the thirties and how the view of the aztecs and malinche has changed over time. ·Maunus· ·ƛ· 12:41, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Really? Its shortsighted to consider her a traitor to her people? I guess the indians (according to this article) should be thankful that they were almost, but not completely, wiped out!So i guess they werent forbidden to talk their own language and practice their own culture? Not to mention that the survivors spent their lives as slaves for the spanish after that? Yeah, thanks alot, Malinche - she really did them a fabour there.... Please get rid of this reactionary excuse for genocide and imperialism.(Durrutti68 (talk) 10:55, 5 July 2008 (UTC))

As opposed to total annihilation, yes, this was a considerably better fate. (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 21:40, 5 February 2009 (UTC).

Pretty sure this stuff counts as original research, and so is not allowed. (talk) 21:14, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Merger with Donna Malinche[edit]

I support the merger or alternatively just deleting the "donna malinche" article which is not compettive with the material in this one. The title indeed is wrong, (as most of you probably know "donna" is italian not spanish and not used about Doña Marina)Maunus 19:23, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Good call. The Donna Malinche article has been redirected to here now, and agree that there was nothing worth salvaging from that article which is not already covered better here.--cjllw | TALK 08:32, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

The Picture[edit]

The picture used to illustrate this article is from Lienzo de Tlaxcala and I am fairly sure that the Xaltelolco here is the one near Tlaxcala and not Tlatelolco, which only some sources say was earlier called xaltelolco. The reading of the glyphs also corroborate this interpretation: Citlalpopocatzin is named in other places as a lord of tlaxcalan affiliation, not of Tlatelolcan/Mexica.

Description of the picture from Lienzo de TlaxcalaMaunus 20:23, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Good call, Maunus. Yes, several online resources did say that Tlatelolco was also (or originally) named Xatelolco, but that link you found definitely points to the Tlaxcala town/village. I did not even think that that mound of sand would be a glyph! And I'm going to rush off and update the History of Tlaxcala article with this new information as well. Thanks, Madman 03:54, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

The Name[edit]

Aside from any regular disagreements about hisory, I think it's important to continually refer to La Malinche as Malinche not Marina. This is Latin American history that's being related here and constantly using her Western-given name gives the entire article a completely Western-focused perpsective, i'm not saying that it's offensive (at least certainly not to me) but it does demonstrate to some extent how the author views the world--with a very Western lens. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:07, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

In response to the above comment while I agree that we should not refer to "La Malinche" as Marina for the same above reasons mentioned above I also strongly disagree with the reference to her as La Malinche or as Malinche in general. The term Malinche is negative in connotation, and while she is often viewed as a traitor and sell out of her people, it is important to note that she didn't have much of a choice in being sold as a slave. Hence if we want to be true to Latin American history and tell her story without western lens, we should refer to her by her given indigenous name Malintzin . Unsigned by --2601:240:c401:2d31:c542:a415:7d2a:c6f (talkcontribs) 22:35, 29 November 2015‎ (UTC)
No problem with 'Malinche' being used consistently throughout. Note that, the article is a product of many different folks chipping away at it over a long period of time, and that occasionally dissonant viewpoints are carried through. Not always a bad thing, if it's to describe in NPOV-fashion notable and referenced attitudes to the subject. But in this case we only need to mention the alternative names once (which is done), and settle on the consensus name for the remainder of the article.--cjllw ʘ TALK 02:28, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
Malinche is an equally bastardized name, we simply don't know her original Nahuatl name - but Malinche certainly wasn't it. Theres no need to hold on to that. In fact there is more reason to call her (Doña) Marina since that is the name used for her in the contemporary sources, and since it is the only one of her names that we can be sure she actually ever used. ·Maunus· ·ƛ· 11:25, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree that we should use the name "Marina" when speaking of the girl herself, because "La Malinche" has acquired pejorative connotations, and she herself chose the name "Marina" as her Christian name when she was baptized. Let's distinguish between the legendary figure "Malinche" and the historical figure who called herself Marina. [[[User:Alexpope|Alexpope]] (talk)Alexpope] —Preceding undated comment added 01:47, 29 May 2010 (UTC).

Bernal Diaz del Castillo also writes that her name was Marina, and gives no original nahuatl name. The name Malintzin is an adaptation of her name by the nahuas. The name for Cortés was Malintzin-e, i.e. "he for whom Malintzin speaks". (talk) 23:39, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes that is one interpretation. Not the only or the majority one.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:30, 7 February 2014 (UTC)


how is she mestizo? she is purely indigenious in ancestry. perhaps itd be more appropiate that she was one of the first to know both indigenous languages and spanish, or the first to give birth to mestizos. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:47, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

I don't see where in the article it implies she is mestizo. The article does say (in the lead) that her son (by Cortés) may be considered as one of the first mestizos, so it may be just a misreading...?--cjllw ʘ TALK 03:28, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Malinalli o la Malinche[edit]

In order to have a better knoldge of the origin of la Malinche, it is pertinent to read the first letter of Cortez to the monarch of Spain, he said " The indian which I have which is a Tongue who was given to me in Putunchan" (Putunchan=Champoton, Tabasco)there is a note from Francisco Lorenzana saying that "Dona Marina de Viluta (segun Gomara) was from Xalisco taken as slave to Tabasco and from a very "noble" family. If that is true, she was opposed to the Aztecs because her land was conquered by this people. She was just acting according the human nature. (talk) 01:50, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

please don't refer to her as cortez's mistress[edit]

the whole "malinche being cortez's mistress" statement is not an irrefutable fact. some people like Frances Karttunen, believe that cortes sexually abused her which would make her a sex slave, not a mistress. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Crossovershipper (talkcontribs) 07:34, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

History and references call her Cortes' mistress. It is certain there was a sexual relationship. Your opinion on the balance or morality of that relationship is not relevant. Tarl.Neustaedter (talk) 08:00, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
[forwarded from user talk page] "just because one refernce refers to her as a missitress, doesn't make that statment correct. i've seen relieble sources suggest that she was a sexual abuse victim. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Crossovershipper (talk • contribs) 08:05, 22 February 2013 (UTC)"
See WP:RS to read Wikipedia policy on how to deal with contradictory sources. Among others, unless it's the principal focus of the article, "suggest" doesn't usually make it as a reference. At five centuries remove, we're unlikely to suddenly discover new information on the physical interactions between Cortes' and Marina. Much more likely, you have found someone with an agenda who wishes to apply 21st century morality to 16th century relationships - and since consent for her was by definition not freely given, by current standards the relationship with Cortes constituted sexual harassment, actionable by any human resources department (irony intended). That far back, a woman pursued by a man of higher social class had little ability to reject advances - that doesn't mean relationships known as "mistress" didn't exist. Tarl.Neustaedter (talk) 08:24, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

doesn't the term mistress imply consent, and some power. since malinch had no power in the reltionship, she's not a mistress. if anything, she was more like a concubine(since concubinage isn't always consensual. it can be sometimes, but not always.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Crossovershipper (talkcontribs) 18:13, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

I don't think that is necessarily implied by the word mistress - just extramarital status.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:40, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
At that time, even wives did not always enter the relationship voluntarily. I see nothing inaccurate about using mistress. Plazak (talk) 18:50, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

I would argue that sex slave wouldn't do her position justice - while it may be true that sex was involved in their relationship, her influence stretched far past just sexual services. In fact according to Stephanie Wood in her book "Transcending Conquest: Nahua Views of Spanish Colonial Mexico", Malinche was sometimes used to refer to both La Malinche as well as Cortes as one entity. Her name being used in lieu of Cortes' emphasizes her power as an interpreter and less as a slave or sex slave. While mistress may or may not be the best word to describe her, I do think it fits better than the suggestions so far. Andrewiskang (talk) 15:18, 8 May 2016 (UTC)

what if she was born after 1505[edit]

it is unknown how old she was when given to cortes, but i suspect that she might have been a preteen in 1519 since she didn't get pregnant until a couple years later. cortes probably used her sexually(aka raped/sexually abused her) shortly after alonzo went to Spain. anyways children pick up languages more quickly than adults do. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Crossovershipper (talkcontribs) 22:03, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

In the 1500s, they did not have the rigid laws on age for marriage we see today. The specific ages are a recent development in industrial societies. I don't know why you are fixated on establishing an abusive relationship between Cortes and Marina, the facts of the relationship have been long established (she was sold/given as a slave, she became his mistress and aided in the conquest of Mexico). Suddenly interjecting morality from five centuries after the fact is unlikely to be meaningful. Tarl.Neustaedter (talk) 23:16, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Thinking about this some more. There are a number of known factors which argue against the possibility you raise. The most obvious is that Cortés' history shows no other indications of pedophilia. Most men are not sexually attracted to pre-pubescent girls. We consider those who are (and act on it) to be diseased. Back in the 1500s they didn't have the numerical age limits we do, they went by physical development - and even they regarded carnal relations with a child as horrifying.
The other major factor is that Cortés, whatever his failings, was a superb military commander. He acquired Marina as a military tool. He would have been unlikely to have ruined the usefulness of such a tool by immediately assaulting her. The conventional explanation for the years before she got pregnant is that sexual relations between them didn't start until she learned Spanish and some degree of understanding between them had developed. By the standards of that time and place, Cortés was a gentleman - of noble birth and remarkably faithful to his vows (among others, he stayed loyal to the crown in spite of numerous provocations and opportunities). Given the standards of behavior expected and the nature of human sexual relationships, the conventional explanation is quite plausible. You'd have to have remarkable evidence otherwise before an alternate explanation could be anything but fringe.
Which brings up a last point. This page (Talk:La Malinche) is for talking about the article, what goes in and what doesn't, and resolving disputes. It really isn't for discussing La Malinche herself. That's something which should take place in scholarly journals, not on Wikipedia. Regards, Tarl.Neustaedter (talk) 02:10, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
A few points that should be born in mind. I recall reading (a long time ago) that Cortes ordered two of his men to be hanged for raping indigenous women (Pedro de Alvarado cut them down before they died), so he would not be likely to be a rapist. Secondly, the giving of a young noblewoman to a powerful ruler fell within Mesoamerican cultural practice, and her language skills may have been preparation for that (I've read more about that too, somewhere). Simon Burchell (talk) 02:25, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

doesn't the fact she was given to the spanish as a slave alone indicate that she was raped / abused by the spanish? also we don't know if he was a pedophile or not. also i thought that pedophilia was acceptable back then since children as young as nine-ten yours when they got married since some girls start going through pubrety at that age. i was thinking that maybe she was between the ages 10-12 in 1519, due to what i stated earlier.--Crossovershipper (talk) 03:17, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

She was a slave. She was one of 20 given/sold to alien beings from another continent. That says all we need to know about her status. Yes, slaves were abused. That doesn't say Cortés raped a pre-teen, which is what you are trying to come up with (why?). As an aside, I'm informed their are pictures drawn of on the Lienzo de Tlaxcala, either contemporary or based on contemporary paintings by Tlaxcalan Indians, which show her looking mature. And also wearing shoes, which says something about her status (they're expensive!). Lessee.... here. Note that she belonged to Puertocarrero, the highest-born of the expedition (as this article itself mentions) until they entered Nahua lands, at which point Geronimo de Aguilar needed her help to communicate (that's news to me, I had thought her knowledge of Nahuatl was understood when she was first acquired, I find myself corrected). Supposedly that's when she came to Cortés' specific attention. As for pedophilia being acceptable, no. Child betrothals occurred within the nobility with the full understanding that they would not be consummated until physical maturity had been reached (contemporary example, Arthur Tudor and Catherine of Aragon). But again, this page isn't for discussing Marina, it's for discussing the article. Fringe speculations and discussions about them should take place in forums dedicated to that purpose. Tarl.Neustaedter (talk) 06:17, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
What it comes down to is that if such claims have been published in a reliable source, they can be mentioned in the article. I am unaware of any such claims having been made (as far as I recall, the sources refer to her as a young woman, not a child), so this is all speculation and has no place in the article. She spoke Nahuatl and Maya, Geronimo de Aguilar spoke Maya and Spanish. Communication in Nahuatl was first translated by Marina into Maya, which Geronimo de A. then translated into Spanish, at least in the early stages of conquest. Simon Burchell (talk) 13:24, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Crossoverstripper began this section with what he acknowledged was a purely speculative statement: "... i suspect that she might have been a preteen ..." At best, this is WP:OR. Such speculations by Wiki editors have no place in the article, so there is no need to weigh the pros and cons of this speculative "maybe". Plazak (talk) 15:03, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

yes i am aware that cortes gave her Puertocarrero, but he gave her to him as a sex slave. sexual slavery is all about rape. then when Puertocarrero left, he decieded to malinche his personal sex slave. this is why i consider their relationship to be about rape and sexual abuse. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Crossovershipper (talkcontribs) 16:42, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

I don't know of any sources that state that she was given as a sex slave. That would be an interpretation. Perhaps one that may not be far away from the truth, but unless backed by reliable sources it is just your personal speculation which has no weight. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:32, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

i'll give a few sources. also it's important to mention the coercive nature slavery. for the most part salve owners raped/sexually abused their slaves. considering the power dynamics the cortes/malinche relationship, that alone implies that he raped/sexually abused her,_2000/taylor_j.pdf ---scroll towards bottom to see two part podcast about a lecture on malinche by Frances Karttunen — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:48, 21 June 2013 (UTC)


Greetings. I wonder if the consensus is truly on what the text is currently saying about her origins. Diaz and others appear to point to the Olmecs. Ramires provides a historiographical summary here: " en tierras olutecas." Any ideas? Caballero/Historiador (talk) 16:40, 15 December 2015 (UTC)

film The Woman God Forgot[edit]

The 1917 film The Woman God Forgot, by Cecil B. DeMille, has Montezuma's daughter Tecza help Cortez capture the Aztec capital in order to save her beloved, a Spanish captain, from human sacrifice by Aztec priests. I don't know how close this is to Haggard's novel Montezuma's Daughter, which is already listed in the section on cultural references to La Malinche. The film is newly out on DVD, from Silent Hall of Fame. In the intertitles on the DVD, one of Tecza's slaves is called Marina. In the film this is her Mexican Indian name, not a Spanish name. She is condemned to be sacrificed, escapes with Tecza's help, seeks safety with the Spanish and advises Cortez. This appears to be a reference to La Malinche. In the Wikipedia and IMDB pages on The Woman God Forgot, Olga Grey is listed as playing "Aztec woman." But in the book American Film Institute Catalog: Feature Films, 1911-1920, Grey is credited as "Marina," so the new DVD's intertitle is probably right. I suggest adding the film to the article on La Malinche. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:CC40:D30:C057:206D:F86E:D2B6 (talk) 03:06, 1 May 2016 (UTC)

A slave to Moctezuma's fictional daughter wouldn't be La Malinche even by the standards of Hollywood history. That film has nothing to do with the person in this article. Tarl.Neustaedter (talk) 03:23, 1 May 2016 (UTC)