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The Spanish Invasion, Instead of the Spanish Conquest

Analysis of 7 Myths of the Spanish Conquest by Mathew Restall

Por Anita y Toby Campion
November 2023
Some wars have two names, which depends on the perception of those who participate in it. The war between Mexico and the United States is called the Mexican-American War in the United States, while in Mexico it is the North American Invasion War. The time has come to call what the Invaders called the Spanish Conquest the Spanish Invasion War. This would also apply to the Invasion of South America, the Caribbean and all of Central America.
The historical myth calling the Spanish Invasion CONQUEST was based mainly on the writings of 3 Characters: Hernán Cortés and his Letters; Bernal Díaz del Castillo and Francisco López de Gómara.

We will analyze H. Cortés 2nd Letter and sent to the Kings of Castile in 1520, the year of his new arrival in Mexican territory:

“And I left that province of Cempoal and all the surrounding land to the town, which will be up to fifty thousand men of war and fifty towns and fortresses, very safe and peaceful and by certain and loyal vassals of your majesty, as until now they have been. Because they were subjects of that Mr. Mutezuma, and as I was informed it was by force and of a short time here. And since they had news from me of your highness and of your very great and royal power, they said that they wanted to be vassals of your majesty and my friends, and that they begged me to defend them from that great lord who had them by force and tyranny, and who took their children to kill and sacrifice to their idols. And they told me many other complaints about him, and with this they have been and are very true and loyal in the service of your highness and I believe that they will always be so because they are free from his tyranny, and because they have always been well treated by me and favored.”

The reader does not require additional information to see how the description of what actually occurred was distorted. The Spanish were interested, above all, in describing their campaigns as conquests and pacifications, as fulfilled contracts, as a providential plan, as accomplished facts. Restall examines two interrelated reasons that explain why the invaders acted in this way.

1st. the contract and reward system. Columbus insisted that he had reached Asia and founded new lands there, fearful of losing the privileges of his contract (as ultimately happened). Compliance with the contract was essential so that he could collect a third of the commercial income obtained in discovered lands, as well as administer them as “Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Viceroy and Governor.” Although the Castilian Monarchy did not send members of a royal army, nor did it contribute to organizing and financing the expeditions, it did exercise some administrative control. The recipient, by signing contracts for exploration or conquest in exchange for titles and privileges after the conquest, had to defray the costs of the expedition, in addition to planning and executing it. The contracts were extremely beneficial to the Crown. The monarchy could sue for breach of contract and impose fines and imprisonment if it did not receive a fifth of the spoils and tributes. Restall says: “The difficult thing was not to be a conqueror, but to convince the crown that one was a victorious conqueror.”

2nd. The ideology of imperial justification. The Franciscans and H. Cortés presented the invasion as a divine design and the Spanish as agents of providence. They resorted to explaining the triumph of civilization over barbarism and reporting that voluntary indigenous submission did occur. The truth is that the conquest was not made until several centuries after the initial Spanish invasions.

Restall reveals the origin of the inaccuracies. His book proves to us, for example, that the American Indians did not confuse the invaders with gods, and that the idea that a few Spaniards conquered large empires with extraordinary speed was not true.

Translated from Spanish by Nohan Meza

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La Voz, Cultura y noticias hispanas del Valle de Hudson



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