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Title Carta de relacion [manuscript]; Carta tercera de relacion; Memorial dado a la Magestad del Cesar dn. Carlos Quinto
Author Cortés, Hernán (1485-1547)
Document Type Correspondence; Manuscript
Description From the Newberry Library Catalogue: Copies made around 1700 of Cortés’ second and third cartas de relación to the Spanish king, Carlos V, with a copy of a memorandum from Cortés to the king in which he seeks to preserve those powers and privileges granted to him for services rendered. The second letter, dated October 30, 1520, is an account of Cortés’ efforts to conquer the Aztecs by capturing their ruler Montezuma and occupying the capital city of Temixtitan. Despite an initial victory over the Indians, Cortés and his men are defeated during "la noche triste," with many Spaniards and Indian allies killed and treasure lost. Cortés also includes many details on the customs, religion, and dwellings of the Aztecs, and describes the great marketplace, aqueducts, and sacrificial pyramids of Temixtitan. The third letter, from May 15, 1522, continues Cortés’ narration of the conquest and recovery of Temixtitan. Capitalizing on the dissension among the various Indian lords, Cortés succeeds in re-taking the city and subjugating rivals Texcoco, Tacuba, and Cuernavaca; and begins to build a new Spanish city on the ruins of the Aztec capital. He also sends some of his men on expeditions to explore and claim possession of the Pacific Ocean. Cortés’ "memorial" to Carlos V is an itemized list of his accomplishments and services performed for the Crown, in which Cortés complains to the king of mistreatment and erosion of his powers, especially by the viceroy Antonio de Mendoza. He asks the king to remember his promises, to restore anything that might be taken from him, and to make restitution for damages suffered. The memorandum is undated, although it was most likely written sometime after 1530, after Cortés’ return to Mexico.
Names Montezuma; Carlos V; Mendoza, Antonio de
Places Mexico City, Mexico; Spain
Keywords Spain, conquistadors, New Spain, battle, alliance, observation, custom, religion, war
Theme Indigenous Peoples of Mexico; Observation, Representation and Cultural Encounters
Tribe / Nation
Culture Area Mesoamerica
Language Spanish
Library The Newberry Library
Copyright The Newberry Library
Collection The Edward E. Ayer Collection
Reference VAULT Ayer MS 1072
Catalogue Link The Newberry Library Catalogue