When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story of the Meeting that Changed History

By Matthew Restall
Read by Steven Crossley

16.10 Hours 01/30/2018 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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A dramatic rethinking of the encounter between Montezuma and Hernando Cortés that completely overturns what we know about the Spanish conquest of the Americas On November 8, 1519, the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortés first met Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, at the entrance to the capital city of Tenochtitlan. This introduction—the prelude to the Spanish seizure of Mexico City and to European colonization of the mainland of the Americas—has long been the symbol of Cortés’ bold and brilliant military genius. Montezuma, on the other hand, is remembered as a coward who gave away a vast empire and touched off a wave of colonial invasions across the hemisphere. But is this really what happened? In a departure from traditional tellings, When Montezuma Met Cortés uses “the Meeting”—as Restall dubs their first encounter—as the entry point into a comprehensive reevaluation of both Cortés and Montezuma. Drawing on rare primary sources and overlooked accounts by conquistadors and Aztecs alike, Restall explores Cortés’ and Montezuma’s posthumous reputations, their achievements and failures, and the worlds in which they lived—leading, step by step, to a dramatic inversion of the old story. As Restall takes us through this sweeping, revisionist account of a pivotal moment in modern civilization, he calls into question our view of the history of the Americas and, indeed, of history itself.

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Summary

Summary

A dramatic rethinking of the encounter between Montezuma and Hernando Cortés that completely overturns what we know about the Spanish conquest of the Americas

On November 8, 1519, the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortés first met Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, at the entrance to the capital city of Tenochtitlan. This introduction—the prelude to the Spanish seizure of Mexico City and to European colonization of the mainland of the Americas—has long been the symbol of Cortés’ bold and brilliant military genius. Montezuma, on the other hand, is remembered as a coward who gave away a vast empire and touched off a wave of colonial invasions across the hemisphere.

But is this really what happened? In a departure from traditional tellings, When Montezuma Met Cortés uses “the Meeting”—as Restall dubs their first encounter—as the entry point into a comprehensive reevaluation of both Cortés and Montezuma. Drawing on rare primary sources and overlooked accounts by conquistadors and Aztecs alike, Restall explores Cortés’ and Montezuma’s posthumous reputations, their achievements and failures, and the worlds in which they lived—leading, step by step, to a dramatic inversion of the old story. As Restall takes us through this sweeping, revisionist account of a pivotal moment in modern civilization, he calls into question our view of the history of the Americas and, indeed, of history itself.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“A new, startlingly persuasive picture of what actually happened during the Spanish Conquest, based on a radical question: What if the tough, canny leaders of these native military empires didn’t suddenly fold up like wet cardboard at the arrival of a couple of hundred bearded oddities from some faraway place?” Charles C. Mann, author of 1491
“Blending erudition with enthusiasm, Restall has achieved a rare kind of work—serious scholarship that is impossible to put down.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“An engaging revisionist exploration of ‘one of human history’s great lies.’” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Matthew Restall

Matthew Restall is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Latin American History and director of Latin American studies at Pennsylvania State University. He is president of the American Society for Ethnohistory, and has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, the John Carter Brown Library, the Library of Congress, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has written twenty books and sixty articles and essays on the histories of the Mayas, of Africans in Spanish America, and of the Spanish Conquest.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 16.10
Audience: Adult
Language: English