The Spiritual Conquest of Latin America

Sociology / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
A look at the conquest of Mexico by Spain through the eyes of the natives, who often saw the Spaniards as gods.

“The perspective of the Natives during this spiritual conquest was one of godly-fear, as they were confronted with god-like men, who demanded their obedience. There is very little account of the Spanish conquest by Natives, most is found in The Florentine Codex, which tells the story of Moteuccoma’s defeat, and the spiritual slavery the Mexica beheld. In the seventh chapter of T.F.C. messengers report back to Moteuccoma how `at the Spaniard’s command, there were sounds of thunder` (Reader, p. 43). This ability to conjure up different powers was viewed by the Natives as spiritual authority, as the Spaniards soon acquired the status of `sacred beings`. Likewise it was said that the Mexica, `thought Cortes was the God Quetzalcoatl returning across the sea from the east as he had promised`(Text, p.33). The `great rash` (smallpox), acquired by the Natives was also seen as a result of the Spaniards’ sacred power as they were free from the sickness while countless Natives died. One extraordinary case documented by Alonzo Ruiz, shared of a Native who confronted him and stated, “I have been awaiting you for many days, for Pachacamac promised me through dreams and omens that I would not die until a new people should come, who would teach me the true law that we are to have” (Reader, p.99). Ruiz responded by returning days later, and explained the basic knowledge of the Catholic faith, and after acknowledging “the true law” the Native was baptized, becoming a Christian. The overall perspective of the different Native cases depict the Spaniards as higher spiritual beings, able to control nature, and thus implicit for the Natives to follow.”

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