Rotary Club of San Miguel de Allende
– Rotario Midday, A.C. –
“Myths of the Spanish Conquest of Mexico”
Dr. Gerie Bledsoe
DATE: Tuesday February 23, 2021
TIME: 9:30 AM CST
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The Conquest of Mexico, one of the most significant events in world history, is an epic story of drama and sorrow surrounded by myths and legends that remain controversial today. These violent events and 300 years of Spanish colonial rule still impact modern Mexico.
On Tuesday, February 23 at 9:30 AM, Rotary Midday will welcome Dr. Gerie Bledsoe, who will help us better understand the Conquest with insights gained from Aztec survivors’ writings and their view of the events.
On April 19, 1519, a Spanish expedition, commanded by Hernán Cortés, anchored near the modern city of Veracruz. Two years and three months later, on August 13, 1521, the last Aztec Emperor, Cuauhtémoc, surrendered the ruins of his capital, Tenochtitlán, and the Aztec Empire.
When the news reached Europe, Cortés and his “conquistadores” became a legend. Myths, manipulated by church and state, persist over centuries:
> The conquistadores were “exceptional men.”
> It was a small “king’s army.”
> Cortés burned his ships.
> Cortés was a diplomatic and military genius.
> Aztecs thought the Spaniards were gods.
> Moctezuma and the Aztecs misunderstood the Spaniards’ intentions.
> Spaniards were morally superior to the Aztecs.
> The Aztec Empire collapsed because it was pagan.
> The Aztecs could not adjust their battle tactics.
> Malinche, the young enslaved Indian woman and interpreter for Cortés, was a “whore and traitor to her people.”
The only first-hand account of the “conquest” is five lengthy letters Cortés sent to his king. They were highly descriptive but self-serving. In his reports, Cortes minimized the help from Indian tribes opposed to Aztec domination and said little about his Indian interpreter, Malinche, who bore him a son in 1522.
Dr. Gerie Bledsoe, Ph.D. in European History from Florida State University, taught at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia, Michigan State University, and several other educational institutions, including the Instituto Allende in San Miguel.
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Who We Are…We are a multi-cultural English-speaking Rotary Club located in beautiful and historic San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, an UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been named by Conde Nast Traveler as the best city in the world!.Our Vision To be a diverse group of active and enthusiastic members who are recognized as providers of valuable services for local and international communities..
Our Mission To provide assistance to others in order to improve the quality of life and to advance community understanding, goodwill, and peace.