Sample History Paper on Aztec Account of the Spanish

The primary source is a report by the Aztec empire. It is based on the reports of messengers that Montezuma II sent into the woods to bear words of welcome and gifts from him. It reports the king’s reaction to the messengers’ reports and gives an account of the terrifying aspects of the report. A thesis is presented stating that, “An Aztec account of the conquest begins with the king’s reaction to the messenger’s report (Leon–Portilla 30).”

In this report, the author presents the text in a manner that gives the reader a direct account of the occurrences at the time. To achieve this, the author uses direct quotations from the messenger’s reports giving the reader word by word account of what the messengers said to the king. The author starts by giving the king’s reaction stating that “[Montezuma] was also terrified to learn how the cannon roared, how its noise resounded, how it caused one to faint and grow deaf (Leon–Portilla 30)” defining the effect before going to broadly explain the cause through the first-hand accounts. This defines the author’s rhetorical approach. However, the author fails to highlight the response following Montezuma II being terrified. This is however presumed to be part of other text.

It is presumed that the events refer to the arrival of whites who would then colonize Mexico. The writings present a semblance of truth as it matches historical accounts that reflected on the arrival and consequent conquering of colonies by the whites. Indeed, historical texts have reported the arrival of colonialists as having been accompanied by guns and explosives that not only awed the natives but subjected to immediate surrender. It presents a time when guns and explosives were considered miraculous unlike in these modern times when they are a new normal. This renders credence to the report.


Work Cited

Leon–Portilla, Miguel, The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico. Boston: Beacon Press, 1962, pp. 30–31.