Your assigned copy of The Human Record – Vol. I to complete the following: Instructions: Start by reading the introduction to Chapter 13, Transoceanic Encounters 1500-1700; Europeans in the Americas

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Units 9 and 10 Connections Across Land and Water The Battle for Tenochtitlán: An Aztec Perspective

Name: ________________________________________________________ Date: _________________ Period: ____________

You will need to use your assigned copy of The Human Record – Vol. I to complete the following:

Instructions: Start by reading the introduction to Chapter 13, Transoceanic Encounters 1500-1700; Europeans in the Americas (pp. 457 – 459), Then read the introduction to the following source document and the document itself: The Battle for Tenochtitlán: An Aztec Perspective (pp. 460-465). DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME – YOU MUST FINISH THIS IN CLASS TODAY. Answer the following questions FULLY --- however, it is not required that you answer in complete sentences. Before answering questions about the source document itself, answer the following questions (info found in the introductions).


1. According to the introduction, what became the single most important factor in the breakdown of regional isolation around the world and the creation of a true global community in the years after 1500?

Europe’s push across wide expanses of ocean

2. Where were Westerns Europeans “gaining ground” in the world (1500-1700)?

the Americas

3. Where were Western Europeans “losing ground” in the world (1500-1700)?

Ottoman (Turkish) controlled territory
East Asia

4. Who was the Western European’s strongest “threat” during this period (1500-1700)—and how much of a threat were they?
The Ottoman Turks – who had destroyed the Hungarian army (Hungary was Christian) and besieged Vienna, Austria which did eventually fail.

5. Why was China considered a “threat” to the Western Europeans bent on expanding their influence around the world?
China was expanding its own territory and had established friendly border relations with Russia.

6. What (vast) country began to be regarded along with many Western Europeans as being intent on expanding its frontiers during this period?


7. When did various Western European nations begin to explore (and later exploit) the Americas?

15th and 16th centuries

8. What were the two major Western European countries that explored (and exploited) the Americas? -- and what particular areas did they come to control in the Americas?

Spain and Portugal -- Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and the southern portions of North America

England, France, the Netherlands--northern portions of North America’s Atlantic coast and the St. Lawrence River Basin (southeastern Canada)

9. According to the introduction, historians do not believe that the Europeans who traveled to the Americas had the intent of decimating the native population there – what reason(s) is given in support of this claim?

It was inconsistent with the world view and aims of the European colonizers who sought to convert these people to Christianity.

10. Even if the Europeans did not intend to decimate the native American population– they did—explain how (general info will suffice—more specific info should be related for questions 11, 12).
They passed on diseases to them – smallpox, measles, diphtheria, chicken pox, whooping cough, influenza, malaria, yellow fever and in doing so, killed off millions of native Americans (due to their isolation in the Western Hemisphere – the native Americans had not encountered these diseases before which made them more susceptible to them).

11. How were the Tainos affected by Columbus’s visit to their island?
Their population went from 1 million in 1492 to a few thousand by 1530.

12. How was Mexico affected by Cortés and other Spaniards?

Mexico pre-conquest: 21.5 million (1519)
Mexico post-conquest: 16 million (1532) AND 2.5 million after the epidemic of 1545-1548.

13. How were the Mississippians (mound builders) of North America affected?

They seem to have disappeared by the mid-16th century due to European diseases spread along the native trade routes (Europeans never had contact with these people).

Bernardino de Sahagún, General History of Things of New Spain – pp. 460-465 and answer FULLY the following questions (be prepared to discuss them in class tomorrow).

14. What does the source reveal about the motives of the Spaniards and their allies for their attack on the Aztecs?
15. What was Moctezuma’s strategy to deal with the Spaniards, and why did it fail?
to welcome them and offer them riches them in hopes of keeping them friendly

they also hoped to create conditions whereby the Spaniards would return from where they came (rainmakers – witches – priests….. to cast spells on them to prevent them from attacking them as they had done the other Indian tribes).

The strategy failed because the Spaniards were intent on conquering the Aztecs.

16. What impression did Spanish firearms and cannons have on the Aztecs?

they didn’t seem to be terribly impressed or frightened by them

17. What evidence is there that the Aztecs adjusted their strategy to counter the Spanish weapons?

they quickly learned to adapt --

they “bunched” together after having been outfitted with shields and arrows (barbed darts, spears, and tridents)—also, they used their knowledge of the canals in the city to out-smart the Spaniards

18. Aside from their firearms, what other military advantages did the Spaniards have over their opponents?

metal shields, swords, horses, and disease (smallpox) ALSO, the fact that they had allied themselves with some of the Aztecs’ enemies

19. How decisive do these other advantages (q. 5) seem to have been?

disease and the alliances with the Aztec enemies

20. On several occasions, the Aztecs routed the Spaniards. What explains these Aztec victories?

the element of surprise – perhaps inexperience of the Spanish commander (when Cortes was away), and – the Aztecs had a larger army and …. luck

21. How did the Aztec view of war differ from that of the Spaniards?

war was “defensive” for the Aztecs in this case --- war for the Aztecs was almost a religious experience – the Aztec people seemed unified in their desire to protect their nation from the Spanish

war for the Spanish was “offensive” -- a way of obtaining their goals – acquiring riches and converting people to Christianity

22. What does the source reveal about Aztec religious beliefs, values, and practices?

they implored the gods to assist them – believed that they would decide their fate—they tried to appease their gods and to act in their behalf

23. Who was Bernardino de Sahagún, and why was his writings about Mexican culture confiscated by royal decree in 1578?
A member of the Franciscan Order – “priest”/missionary who arrived in Mexico in 1529 who developed a keen interest in the culture of the Mexican native – he wrote about their culture to preserve memory of it. Spanish rulers opposed his work because it threatened their policy of exploiting and Christianizing the natives.


Consider these questions…….

How reliable to do you think this account of this event is?

If you do believe it is reliable, what makes you think it is so?

If you don’t, what makes you doubt it relates the “true” story?

How do you think the Spanish account of this event would differ?

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