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Chapter 3

HIS 315K Chapter 3: May03


Department
History
Course Code
HIS 315K
Professor
M Seaholm
Chapter
3

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A. Reflection (20 points)
Townsend uses pictures, both original and reproduced, as well as accounts from Spanish
conquistadors, descendants of Native Latin Americans, and secondary research from multiple
authors and professors.
1
Even though none of the sources came directly from Malintzin, with all
the others combined, she is able to give a detailed description with minimal guessing of
Malintzin’s life and conquest.
Malintzin had been cast for so long as a traitor by Latin Americans because she helped
Cortes to conquer pre-existing societies. Later, she was portrayed as a “mythical figure” or a
complete victim.
2
However, Townsend uses all her sources to give a realistic account of who
Matlintzin truly was – a girl who made the best of her unfortunate circumstances – and her life
traveling with and helping the Spanish. Townsend chose her sources deliberately. She
references both primary and secondary sources from all points of view to put together a
detailed and accurate story.
3
While I find the disclaimers within the story to be disruptive, I do
agree with her reasoning for needing them and her certain sources. This story is challenging to
write and if Townsend was not careful, she could quickly become another storyteller who cast
Malintzin in a false light.
The sources help me to understand the true importance of Malintzin and how influential
and important she was during this period. For example, 1) Townsend includes all four scenes of
the “Texas Fragnant” in her book.
4
Despite rarely being written about by the Spanish, she is
portrayed as a very important figure to both sides in the pictures. These scenes are helpful to
understand her life and influence in negotiations and peace offerings. 2) When discussing the
origin of Malintzin, Townsend indicates that she is most likely from a Nahuatl-speaking region
and was sold to a Chontal Maya family.
5
This is incredibly important to understand how helpful
Malintzin was to the Spanish. Since she was young enough to quickly learn languages, she could
communicate with most any Latin Americans they came across. She also quickly learned
Spanish and became the most important interpreter to Cortes.
6
3) Lastly, Townsend includes
1
Camilla Townsend, Malintzin’s Choices: And Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Albequerque: University of
New Mexico Press, 2006), 237-242.
2
Camilla Townsend, Malintzin’s Choices: And Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Albequerque: University of
New Mexico Press, 2006), 4-6.
3
Camilla Townsend, Malintzin’s Choices: And Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Albequerque: University of
New Mexico Press, 2006), 8-9.
4
Camilla Townsend, Malintzin’s Choices: And Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Albequerque: University of
New Mexico Press, 2006), 68-74.
5
Camilla Townsend, Malintzin’s Choices: And Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Albequerque: University of
New Mexico Press, 2006), 13 & 25.
6
Camilla Townsend, Malintzin’s Choices: And Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Albequerque: University of
New Mexico Press, 2006), 58-59.

Only pages 1-3 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

multiple references about Malintzin being able to observe and understand the Spanish. Not
only could she do that, but she could eloquently explain it to the Natives. Because she was so
intuitive and bright, she was able to bring peace in multiple battles and aid the Spanish is
conquering much of Latin America.
7
B. Identification (40 points)
1. As a reward to successful Conquistadors, they were granted encomiendas. Encomiendas
were lands given to the Spanish settlers that gave the Spanish the right to demand
tributes and labor from the Natives.
8
Despite the fact that encomiendas were typically
failures, the Spanish insisted on implementing them in all the new lands they journeyed
to. These allocated land and labor forces were used in Latin America during the early
1500’s and later in the Philippines in the 1570’s.
9
However, with the help of Las Casas,
the Spanish crown initiated a ban on Indian slavery when they noticed the Native
population begin to sharply decline.
10
2. The Spanish Conquistadors could be considered entrepreneurs. Their reasons for
coming to Latin America were not just religious, although that played a part – mainly
just for Spain’s King. The Conquistadors wanted wealth, power and social status. Coming
from little in Spain, they sailed across the ocean in hopes of being able to lift their
status. Most were teenagers or in their twenties, but there were a few who sought a
new life that were even in their sixties.
11
However, because they did not seek their new
status peacefully, they were armed entrepreneurs.
3. Sebastian Toral was a black African who was brought to Latin America as a slave. He
fought alongside the Spanish Conquistadors against the Maya and ultimately gained his
freedom. After establishing a family in Yucatan, he wrote a letter to the King of Spain,
King Phillip II, asking to be waived of the need to pay tribute. After no response,
Sebastian sailed to Spain to speak to King Phillip and was rewarded with the favors he
asked. He no longer had to pay tribute and neither did his family. Sebastian Toral was
labeled a Conquistador but was never given the higher honor of being called a “Spanish
7
Camilla Townsend, Malintzin’s Choices: And Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Albequerque: University of
New Mexico Press, 2006), 113-115.
8
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
86-87.
9
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
86-87.
10
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
85-86.
11
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
97-99.

Only pages 1-3 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Conquistador” because he was from Africa. Toral died in the 1580’s in Yucatan with his
family.
4. Hernando Cortes and Francisco Pizarro were Spanish Conquistadors who successful
conquered the biggest Native Latin American empires. With similar strategies, both men
managed to meet with the Native Kings and eventually overthrow them. Cortes, after
much struggling, allied with the Tlaxcalans and took Moctezuma hostage in his own
palace.
12
Likewise, Pizarro allied with the Inca rebels, took Atawallpa hostage in his own
palace.
13
Then, Cortes and Pizarro executed the Kings. Both men were given great fame
and riches because of their successes. Cortes founded his own city, Vera Cruz, to defy
Governor Velazquez’s orders. By doing this he was able to legally conquer and venture
further inland in Latin America. Pizarro, on the other hand set out to do exactly what he
planned and was allowed to do. He managed to not lose a single Spaniard in his battle in
Cajamarca and his accomplishment was the most successful
5. Tenochtitlan was the capital of the Aztec Empire. Located in the Valley of Mexico,
Tenochtitlan had villages built on water and enormous temples.
14
For years, Hernando
Cortes and his army and allies tried to take the city and defeat the Aztecs but were
unsuccessful. After executing Moctezuma and attempting to escape on La Noche Triste,
the survivors came up with a new plan and finally took the city one year later in 2521.
15
6. The Tlaxcalans were Native Latin Americans who originally fought with the Spanish and
ultimately gave in and formed a kinship with them.
16
Lead by Xicotencatl, the Tlaxcalans
conducted raids on the Spanish until finally giving in and meeting with Cortes. As a
peace offering, Xicotencatl gave the Conquistadors three different types of girls;
princesses, the daughters of lords, and commoners, as well as different food and
precious metals. This kinship formed a bond between the two opposing sides and an
alliance against the Mexica.
17
12
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
89.
13
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
95-96.
14
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
55.
15
Camilla Townsend, Malintzin’s Choices: And Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Albequerque: University
of New Mexico Press, 2006), 107-108.
16
Camilla Townsend, Malintzin’s Choices: And Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Albequerque: University
of New Mexico Press, 2006), 60-74.
17
Camilla Townsend, Malintzin’s Choices: And Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Albequerque: University
of New Mexico Press, 2006), 98-106.
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