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07/03/2009
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The conquest of Mexico: Indigenous actions, Iberian Influence and hegemony

  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions of the word hegemony
  3. Example of how subordination began even before blood was shed
  4. The Spanish framework of conquest
  5. Concept of the hacienda
  6. Conclusion
  7. Works cited

Throughout history, nations and states sought to dominate subordinate groups under many different circumstances. In the first quarter of the sixteenth century, the Spanish Conquistadors began to conquer and colonize the area that would become Mexico (this essay will primarily discuss the events of the conquest, not colonization. The ultimate result of the conquest was an established hegemony, a term I will describe in more detail as it pertains to this essay. In order to understand the extent to which indigenous actions shaped hegemony during the conquest of Mexico, we must first look what context the word hegemony is used in when discussing colonial Latin America; then, it can be argued that although the actions and interpretations, fear and intimidation from the initial encounter and 'barbarism' that the Indigenous people practiced attracted the Spaniards to take control were important factors, Iberian ideologies and the Spanish attitudes of conquest, however, were also influential in shaping the hegemony that followed the conquest, despite the resistance.

[...] Moreover, going back to Adelman's point of how Latin America "fails to follow the natural course of 'Western' history" shows us that Spanish hegemony in the new world was greatly influenced by the actions of the conquistadors, who were influenced by the Crown and Church in Spain (Adelman 3). As the conquest followed this course, Indigenous people, based on fear, did much to adapt and accommodate the Spaniards, hoping to gain alliances. Many converted to Christianity and allied with them while those who opposed were quickly slaughtered. The hegemony that developed over the course of the conquest of Mexico was a result of various circumstances, reactions, ideologies by both indigenous people and Spaniards. [...]


[...] This represents that there was a sense of fear within the indigenous community; and further reading told of how the emperor Moteuccoma was very fearful of the events to come (Sahagún 96). Moreover, when describing the Cholula massacre, the tone and content of the description clearly establishes the dominance that took place: Their [Spaniards] iron lances and halberds seemed to sparkle, and their iron swords were curved like a stream of water. Their cuirasses and iron helmets seemed to make a clattering sound. [...]

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