A Gringo Guide to Mexican History – First Excerpt

22 Mar
Download your copy from Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; or Kobo.com. Search William J. Conaway.

Download your copy from Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; or Kobo.com. Search William J. Conaway.

Excerpts from my, “Gringo Guide to Mexican History”.

Chapter Two

In the 13th century, using religion for political purposes, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella identified service to the monarchy with the cause of Catholicism, and made Spain into a unified church state.

With the expulsion of the Jews and the conversion of the Moors the Spanish warriors found themselves ready for a new grand adventure. They became convinced that by seeking wealth and glory for themselves they were also serving their God, and their king.

Christopher Columbus, filled with dreams of discovery, conquest, and wealth approached the court of Spain to petition the King and Queen for a commission to sail across the Atlantic to the Indies. After years of considering his proposal they sent him westward in 1492. He sailed in three small ships with 120 men, and was charged as Viceroy, second only to the King, who granted him a 10 percent commission in all that he found.

When news of Columbus’ discovery of the Indies reached Spain it electrified the country. Everyone who wanted adventure or a short cut to a fortune went in search of the glittering prizes he promised.
After the debacle the conquistadores moved to Coyoacan for a few months in fear of the pestilence they had left behind in Tenochtitlán. But soon they began to build their fortresses on the foundations of the Aztec buildings, reusing the same material. Cortés divided the standing buildings around the main plaza, El Zócalo, amongst his captains, and he took Moctezuma’s palace for himself. Several square blocks of the city were rebuilt. The Zócalo was surrounded by government buildings and a church. In the atrium of this first church stood a gallows and a garrote to punish any rebellious Indians. (You can be sure the conquerors made examples of quite a few.)

Labor and material for building these fortress palaces was provided by Indians who worked, as they always had, at the tasks assigned to them. That had, after all, been their lot for generations. The only change in their lives was the color of their master’s skin.

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