History 2501 course pack readings.docx

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23 Apr 2012
Public Health in Aztec Society
Tenochtitlan: very large city, densely populated
Strong system of public health maintenance
Use of human waste as fertilizer, privies along all the roads, managed disposal service
Disposal of the dead via cremation or buried
Famine control via state run granaries
Focus on native health remedies: botanical gardens, collection of medicinal plants
Ritualistic curing: cause supernatural Treatment empirical
Hippocratic theory of disease causation: classified illness and its treatment into a logical
State’s concern with disease control represents preventative aspect of public health
Rigid code of morality: severe penalties for adultery, reduce spread of venereal infection
Personal hygiene also important: bathing considered a cure
State of health deteriorated following Spanish conquest (small pox, typhus etc), higher mortality
rates and population decline
The Flight from Mexico
Bernal Diaz= last survivor of conquerors of Mexico
Wrote about the overthrow of a great empire by a company of adventurers
He thought success came from miraculous intervention of God and the Saints who wished New
Spain to be added to the realm of Christ and Emperor Charles V
Large force allowed sufficient entry to Mexico (1520)
Cortes wanted to find out the cause of the Mexican revolt (revolted in order to free
Attack on them by the natives
“from the rear and from rooftops”-they also forced their way into the Spanish quarters and set
them on fire
Natives pretended to retreat in order to lure Spanish to follow them thus attacking at less risk
Natives threw rocks from roofs
Fierce battle and intense fighting
Came to the conclusion that they must ask for peace in order to make it out of Mexico alive
Cortes decided that the great Montezuma must speak to them from the roof and tell them that
attacks must cease since Spanish wished to leave the city
Montezuma did not believe he could do anything to stop the attacks since they had “chosen a
new lord and made up their minds not to let Spanish leave alive”
Montezuma went on the roof and began to request the attacks be stopped. Unfortunately the
warriors stated that they must continue and a rain of arrows ensued. Montezuma was killed
Many Spanish died or were wounded while the Mexicans increased in numbers
Cortes decided that they must leave in the night- disaster, Spanish hacked their way through
(swords made of the best metal)
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Spanish were encouraged to be brave, and trust in God
Miracle that any of the Spanish made it out alive
The Difficulties of Settling Buenos Aires
Conquests and colonial settlement in Mexico and Peru were quick, however they had great
difficulty in areas dominated by tropical agriculturalists and hunter gatherers
Less centralized groups of people. Defeating one group had no impact on another
Writer: Ulrich Schmidt (employee of financial underwriter of expedition)
Natives wanted to destroy them all, but God was on the Spaniard’s side (only 30 men slain)
Natives attacked with fiery arrows- straw roofs= town was burnt down
Burnt down 4 great ships
Fight of Christians versus natives
The Indians of Tejupan Want to Raise Silk on Their Own
Colonial mexico’s industries required viceregal license to engage in a new industry
Document regarding the license granted in 1538 to three Marin brothers to raise silk in Mexico
for 5 years
Indians of the town were to provide labour and the Marin brothers were to provide silkworm
eggs and teach the Indians the industry
At the end of the contract, the brothers were to take their original capital of eggs back and leave
everything else to the Indians
Silk would be used as the town’s tribute payment (which they were having great difficulty
meeting)- searching for a substitute to gold dust
The town was paying a tenth of the silk raises as tithe to the church as well as royal tribute
As population decreased, tribute was reduced
Payment in gold dust was eventually changed to silver
Community raising of silk by royal towns characterized these towns until the opening of serous
trade with China. Chinese silk was cheaper and better, so the price fell. In the late 14th century,
the town abandoned silk raising
Wife of My Soul and Heart and All My Solace
Marriage in colonial Latin America
Unhappy spouses could request an annulment for reasons such as a lack of consent of freedom
in selecting a spouse
Case of Ysabel and Diego
Diego was an outsider
Throughout proceedings, Ysabel was held in seclusion for safety reasons (e.g. in the house of an
honourable Spanish female)
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