When Montezuma Met Cortés

When Montezuma Met Cortés

The True Story of the Meeting That Changed History

Book - 2018 | First edition.
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A dramatic rethinking of the encounter between Montezuma and Hernando Cortés that completely overturns what we know about the Spanish conquest of the Americas

On November 8, 1519, the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortés first met Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, at the entrance to the capital city of Tenochtitlan. This introduction--the prelude to the Spanish seizure of Mexico City and to European colonization of the mainland of the Americas--has long been the symbol of Cortés's bold and brilliant military genius. Montezuma, on the other hand, is remembered as a coward who gave away a vast empire and touched off a wave of colonial invasions across the hemisphere.

But is this really what happened? In a departure from traditional tellings, When Montezuma Met Cortés uses "the Meeting"--as Restall dubs their first encounter--as the entry point into a comprehensive reevaluation of both Cortés and Montezuma. Drawing on rare primary sources and overlooked accounts by conquistadors and Aztecs alike, Restall explores Cortés's and Montezuma's posthumous reputations, their achievements and failures, and the worlds in which they lived--leading, step by step, to a dramatic inversion of the old story. As Restall takes us through this sweeping, revisionist account of a pivotal moment in modern civilization, he calls into question our view of the history of the Americas, and, indeed, of history itself.

Publisher: New York, NY :, Ecco,, [2018]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780062427267
Characteristics: xxxiii, 526 pages : illustrations (some colour), map


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May 01, 2018

Restall presents an interesting thesis on the fabricated "surrender" of Montezuma to the infamous Conquistador Hernando Cortés. Although I've been looking forward to reading this for weeks now, I found myself zoning out through certain chapters as the text can be a bit dense and meandering. Despite some lulls in the writing, the research is impressive (that bibliography!) and I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in a modern analysis of the colonization of Mexico.

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