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Cortes : The Two Face

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Cortes: The Two Face

Don Fernando Cortes was either a misguided religious extremist on a quest to serve his earthly king and immortal god or simply an entrepreneur who wished to achieve great status, power and wealth. Cortes is in love with the idea of conquering new worlds in the name of God to convert their heathen inhabitants into righteous followers of Jesus. The problem is that Cortes is also in love with himself and the future power that he might one day hold. Cortes is largely a hypocrite and shows that very much through his actions. He often tells his men and the king that God undoubtedly on there side. He attempts to prove this through his accounts where describes his small regiments of no more than one thousand men defeating massive armies of forty thousand to two-hundred thousand Indians. Many times it seems though Cortes truly is being helped by God but he quickly contradicts these possibilities with his sinful actions.

Cortes seems to get a large amount of help from God for someone who reacts with merciless vengeance and accepts slave women as gifts. However, one might say that Cortes could be forgiven for his ignorance in accepting human beings as property because in the 1500’s the Catholic Church in Spain lead its followers to believe that the act of slavery was in fact not a sin. Cortes explains that he merely wants to enslave the Indians so that they may better learn the ways of the Catholic Church and of Spanish culture. He figured that it was his duty to enslave these people because it was the only way of turning them away from their horrible sins such cannibalism, sodomy, and their horrific practices of sacrifice. Cortes attributes much of his success and victory to the will of God. “They should observe that God was on our side, and to Him nothing is impossible, for, as they saw, we had won so many victories in which so many of the enemy had died, and none of us.”(Cortes, 63) He feels that God is helping him to punish theses people for their sins and save their souls by helping to enslave them for it’s the only way to lead them towards Jesus Christ.

There is a chance that Cortes truly was a genuinely a religious man believed strongly in the true principles of the Catholic faith but it’s not likely. Most likely Cortes was a man intently focused on acquiring power and status for his own person. The whole time Cortes is carefully manipulating all around him, especially the king, in order to achieve his own private goal which I doubt is that of spreading Catholicism. Sometimes, Cortes’ reasoning just appears ludicrous. He thanks God for his military success against the more hostile empires of New America yet he uses brutal, ungodly tactics like cutting of the hands of spies and slaughtering the women and children of a village in order

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