The Day of the Spaniards Arrival
I will remember this day for all my life. The day when Spaniards entered the city of Tenochtitlan changed the history of the Aztecs. Our ruler Motecuhzoma believed that the leader of white people was the god Quetzalcoatl, who returned to reclaim the throne of the empire (Carrasco & Sessions, 2011, p. 229). However, Quetzalcoatl came to conquer and destroy the Aztecs. The strangers were different, their culture and behavior were unknown, and their impact on the Aztec civilization was colossal.
The arrival of the conquistadors was a fascinating event for me. The white people entered the city riding on the backs of strange animals. Those were neither deer nor stags. The animals were making a loud noise while galloping, and the ground was left pitted where they passed with their hooves (Portilla, 2011, p. 14). Later, we found out that those animals were called horses. What had impressed me even more were the Spanish pikes. I am a warrior, but I have never seen such shiny, sharp lances and narrow swords. They called the material from which their weapons were made steel. Conquistadors brought their spears in their hands, and their swords hung down from the horses necks. The first day of the arrival of white people deeply lodged in my memory.
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Strangers from the other side of the hemisphere shared with us their advanced military technologies. For me as a warrior, guns, cannons, and harquebuses were absolute miracles (Watson, 1917, p. 146). These formidable mechanisms were powered by a strange powder that allowed them to strike targets. Hardly any Aztec warrior survived after the use of these arms. Spanish technologies would help us to hunt more efficiently! Conquistadors have also shown us a plow, an object similar to a cannon. It was farming equipment that helped to cultivate vast areas of lands. The plow could increase the crop capacity. I must say that their civilization was more developed than ours.
However, I must admit that Spaniards have also brought dangerous times to our community. After approximately five months of their stay, many people started suffering from an unknown disease. They were weak and looked bad. Their bodies were covered with rashes, which later turned into blisters. The strangers spirit has poisoned the water and food. Smallpox, as the strangers called the disease, took the lives of my relatives and hundreds of people across the city (Carrasco & Sessions, 2011, p. 231). Furthermore, because of the native population decrease, conquistadors brought black people to mine gold and silver (Rietbergen, 2015, p. 278). They were crazy about the shiny metals and stones! Our civilization was collapsing from inside because of black strangers and Spaniards.
I felt sad because of what white people, who Motecuhzoma believed to be gods, brought to our city. Conquistadors slowly destroyed our habitual way of life. They challenged our culture and won. Many Aztecs died because of diseases. Spaniards changed the way we fought wars, brought black people, and became our rulers. Besides, they took away all our gold and silver. Spaniards rebuilt and renamed our capital; they destroyed our templates and ceremonial places. In less than twenty years, I saw with my own eyes the rise and the fall of the Aztec Empire. I feel sorrow and pain because of what we have become.
The day when Spaniard arrived was one of the most notorious in our history. Strangers deeply affected our culture and the way of life. They showed us new weapons, technologies, and introduced strange animals. However, in the end, conquistadors seized power and turned us into their property. I wish I could forget this day as a nightmare, the day of the beginning of the end of the Aztec Empire.
Figure 1. Cortez arriving in the New World (Kleiner, 2015, p. 1091)
Figure 2. Smallpox devastating the Aztecs (Carrasco & Sessions, 2011, p. 236).