Penn Library

CULTURAL READINGS: Colonization & Print in the Americas

New Spain

What most impressed contemporaries about the New World was not its exoticism but the fact of its rapid incorporation into the Spanish empire. For the Spanish, the right to possess that which Columbus had discovered was implicit from the beginning.
The Spanish were quick to diffuse the story of the first major conquest in the New World, Cortés's defeat of the Aztecs in Mexico.
Cortés Manuscript
López de Gómara
Three Spanish accounts of the conquest of Mexico, all retrospective, were printed: that of Cortés himself; that of the historian, López de Gómara; and that of one of Cortés's captains, Bernal Diaz.
Bernal Diaz
Cieza de León
But Mexico and Peru posed more interpretive than military challenges for the Spanish. Cieza de León admired the political achievements of the Incas, even as he chronicled the deterioration of their civilization.

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