Read The True History of The Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Díaz del Castillo Free Online
Book Title: The True History of The Conquest of New Spain|
The author of the book: Bernal Díaz del Castillo
Edition: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
Date of issue: March 15th 2012
ISBN 13: 9781603842914
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 483 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.6
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This rugged new translation--the first entirely new English translation in half a century and the only one based on the most recent critical edition of the Guatemalan MS--allows Diaz to recount, in his own battle-weary and often cynical voice, the achievements, stratagems, and frequent cruelty of Hernando Cortes and his men as they set out to overthrow Moctezuma's Aztec kingdom and establish a Spanish empire in the New World.
The concise contextual introduction to this volume traces the origins, history, and methods of the Spanish enterprise in the Americas; it also discusses the nature of the conflict between the Spanish and the Aztecs in Mexico, and compares Diaz's version of events to those of other contemporary chroniclers. Editorial glosses summarize omitted portions, and substantial footnotes explain those terms, names, and cultural references in Diaz's text that may be unfamiliar to modern readers. A chronology of the Conquest is included, as are a guide to major figures, a select bibliography, and three maps.
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Read information about the authorBernal Díaz del Castillo (1492 – ca. 1580) was a conquistador, who wrote an eyewitness account of the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards under Hernán Cortés, himself serving as a rodelero under Cortés. Born in Medina del Campo (Spain), he came from a family of little wealth and he himself had received only a minimal education. He sailed to Tierra Firme in 1514 to make his fortune, but after two years found few opportunities there. Much of the native population had already been killed by epidemics and there was political unrest. So he sailed to Cuba, where he was promised a grant of Indian slaves. But that promise was never fulfilled, leading Díaz, in 1517, to join an expedition being organized by a group of about 110 fellow settlers from Tierra Firme and similarly disaffected Spaniards. They chose Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, a wealthy Cuban landowner, to lead the expedition. It was a difficult venture, and although they discovered the Yucatán coast, by the time the expedition returned to Cuba they were in disastrous shape.
Nevertheless, Díaz returned to the coast of Yucatán the following year, on an expedition led by Juan de Grijalva, with the intent of exploring the newly discovered lands. Upon returning to Cuba, he enlisted in a new expedition, this one led by Hernán Cortés. In this third effort, Díaz took part in one of the legendary military campaigns of history, bringing an end to the Aztec empire in Mesoamerica. During this campaign, Díaz spoke frequently with his companions in arms about their experiences, collecting them into a coherent narration. The book that resulted from this was Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España (English: The True History of the Conquest of New Spain). In it he describes many of the 119 battles in which he claims to have participated, culminating in the fall of the Aztec Empire in 1521.
As a reward for his service, Díaz was appointed governor of Santiago de los Caballeros, present-day Antigua Guatemala. He began writing his history in 1568, almost fifty years after the events described, in response to an alternative history written by Cortés's chaplain, who had not actually participated in the campaign. He called his book the Historia Verdadera ("True History"), in response to the claims made in the earlier work.
Díaz died in 1585, without seeing his book published. A manuscript was found in a Madrid library in 1632 and finally published, providing an eye-witness account of the events, often told from the perspective of a common soldier. Today it is one of the most important sources in understanding the campaign that led to the collapse of the Aztec Empire and the Spanish conquest of Mexico.
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