La Malinche (also known as Doña Marina or Malintzin) has a complicated legacy in Mexico today. Enslaved and given to Cortés by a friendly tribe, the native woman became the conquistador’s mistress (bearing a son, Martín Cortés, allegedly the first mixed-race Spanish and Indian person born in Mexico) and translator. It is through her that Cortés was able to recruit native allies who had chafed under Aztec rule—most notably the Tlaxcala, who contributed 70,000 native warriors to the final siege of Tenochtitlan in 1521. With these alliances, it was possible for a few hundred Spaniards to topple the greatest empire of Mesoamerica. La Malinche’s role in facilitating Cortés’ success has made her a lightning rod for controversy, being celebrated as the symbolic mother of Mexico, or vilified as a traitor to her people (or somewhere in between) by both scholars and ordinary Mexicans.
For this discussion, we will enter this debate surrounding La Malinche’s legacy.
Please reply to the following prompt in an initial post of around 275 words, and at least one reference to a piece of original research (i.e. not using the assigned readings):
What do you believe is the legacy of La Malinche, and how do you think she should be remembered?
Taking into account your position on La Malinche’s legacy, how should we regard people who collaborate with foreign occupiers more generally? Is La Malinche’s situation comparable to other historical or contemporary examples of collaborators?
Please be direct and answer the prompt directly.