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Five Letters of Cortés to the Emperor (1519-1526)

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  214 ratings  ·  17 reviews
These five letters by the Spanish Conqueror Hernando Cortes were written to the Emperor Charles V of Spain between the years 1519 and 1526. They describe the earliest discoveries of the mainland, the perilous trek into hostile country, the capture of the Aztec capital, the extension of Cortes power throughout Mexico, the expedition to Honduras, and the organization and ord ...more
Paperback, 434 pages
Published September 1st 1991 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1555)
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I could as easily give this one star. Cortez's account of his conquest of the Aztec empire is on the one hand utterly horrifying--it's as if the influenza virus were writing its life story. On the other hand, it's a riveting, nail-biting work of what amounts to science fiction, in the old Edgar Rice Burroughs vein. A small band of voyagers lands on an alien planet and takes over. Unique, anyway.
Una verdadera aventura épica...
Hernan Cortes est le conquistador qui a assujetti le Mexique à la couronne d'Espagne. Arrivé avec une poignée d'homme sur le continent, forcé d'aller toujours plus avant, pressé par les inimitiés de certains compatriotes restés à Cuba, il parvient à bousculer l'empire Aztèque, appuyé par leurs anciens vassaux lesquels étaient lassés de porter le joug d'une théocratie cruelle. Le comportement velléitaire de Moctezuma, les prophéties annonçant le retour des dieux, l'avance technologique, tout cons ...more
Es una contradicción para mí, por una parte me aburrió y por otra me pareció fascinante leerlo.
Finalmente fue una tarea en la universidad, pero no me arrepiento de haberlo leído.
Rick Perez
Oct 19, 2009 Rick Perez rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Rick by: found on a bookshelf in a used bookstore
This was a fascinating read, filled with tales of travel, politics, and war. Cortez talks not only of the difficulty in getting to America, but also of the Aztec people, and beauty of the capital, as well as his bloody struggle to gain control of the native empire. These five letters demonstrate, albeit through a filtered and highly manipulated lens, the beginnings of Colonial Latin America, and the creation of Mestizaje.
For anyone interested in the history of Mexico, Latin America, or the colon
Hernan Cortes was not the sort of man you'd want to invite over for dinner. Sure, he'd eat your food, but he'd also rape your wife and burn your house down. In his own words he paints a bestial picture of himself as the architect of the destruction of a civilization.

Yet he was a product of his own culture and time. No doubt another conquistador would have attempted the plunder of the Americas if Cortes had never been born or had developed a conscience like Cabeza De Vaca.
Whatever you read elsewhere the words of a participant who admits to destroying towns and entire populations 'until our arms ached' is a horrifying read. The lack of details adds to the callousness of the beginning of the European destruction of the Americas.One 3 books out of a library of at least tens of thousands survived. The Europeans even banned weaving because it could be used to convey messages and histories.
May 12, 2008 Wendy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all travel writers
Shelves: journals, mexico
What a PR master Hernan Cortes was. So much contemporary travel writing simply reenacts the conquest and the reactions of the conquistadors. If you're going to do that, might as well go back to the source. This is an excellent translation, with good explanatory notes and bibliography.
a highly entertaining, disturbing read. for some reason i regard this to be perhaps the most accurate record of the voyages into hispania, particularly because cortes is so proud of his crimes...
Sep 15, 2007 Brad rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
What an eye-opener! This is a fantastic history written by Cortes himself! Long but worth it.
Read it as an undergrad for class. Interesting enough, but I wouldn't pick it up again.
Aug 07, 2011 Sharon marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
My interest in this book comes from reading Barbara Kingsolver's book - The Lacuna.
Marlen Bodden
Excellent! This is Cortes' account of the conquest of Mexico.
This is one of the best source documents I have ever read.
I read the second "Carta de Relacion", not all of them.
Genocide. Best day of my life.
the notes here are fantastic
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Despatches from Mexico to Charles V edited by A. Grove Fifth Letter of Hernan Cortes to the Emperor Charles V: Containing an Account of His Expedition to Honduras The Four Voyages: Being His Own Log-Book, Letters and Dispatches with Connecting Narratives

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