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Burying the White Gods: New Perspectives on the Conquest of Mexico

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  • Burying the White Gods: New Perspectives on the Conquest of Mexico

    Burying the White Gods: New Perspectives on the Conquest of Mexico
    CAMILLA TOWNSEND From The American Historical Review Vol. 108, Issue 3.

    Excerpts, paragraphs 1 – 25

    In 1552, Francisco López de Gómara, who had been chaplain and secretary to Hernando Cortés while he lived out
    his old age in Spain, published an account of the conquest of Mexico. López de Gómara himself had never been to
    the New World, but he could envision it nonetheless. "Many [Indians] came to gape at the strange men, now so
    famous, and at their attire, arms and horses, and they said, 'These men are gods!'" The chaplain was one of the
    first to claim in print that the Mexicans had believed the conquistadors to be divine. Among the welter of
    statements made in the Old World about inhabitants of the New, this one found particular resonance. It was
    repeated with enthusiasm, and soon a specific version gained credence: the Mexicans had apparently believed in a
    god named Quetzalcoatl, who long ago had disappeared in the east, promising to return from that direction on a
    certain date. In an extraordinary coincidence, Cortés appeared off the coast in that very year and was mistaken for
    Quetzalcoatl by the devout Indians. Today, most educated persons in the United States, Europe, and Latin America
    are fully versed in this account, as readers of this piece can undoubtedly affirm. In fact, however, there is little
    evidence that the indigenous people ever seriously believed the newcomers were gods, and there is no meaningful
    evidence that any story about Quetzalcoatl's returning from the east ever existed before the conquest. A number of
    scholars of early Mexico are aware of this, but few others are. The cherished narrative is alive and well, and in
    urgent need of critical attention.

    Attached is the remainder of the article. A very interesting read.

    Burying the White
    That's what
    - She

    Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
    - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

    I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
    - Stephen R. Donaldson

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