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Bill the Cat
03-24-2014, 11:14 AM
Burying the White Gods: New Perspectives on the Conquest of Mexico
CAMILLA TOWNSEND From The American Historical Review Vol. 108, Issue 3.

Excerpts, paragraphs 1 – 25

In 1552, Francisco López de Gómara, who had been chaplain and secretary to Hernando Cortés while he lived out
his old age in Spain, published an account of the conquest of Mexico. López de Gómara himself had never been to
the New World, but he could envision it nonetheless. "Many [Indians] came to gape at the strange men, now so
famous, and at their attire, arms and horses, and they said, 'These men are gods!'" The chaplain was one of the
first to claim in print that the Mexicans had believed the conquistadors to be divine. Among the welter of
statements made in the Old World about inhabitants of the New, this one found particular resonance. It was
repeated with enthusiasm, and soon a specific version gained credence: the Mexicans had apparently believed in a
god named Quetzalcoatl, who long ago had disappeared in the east, promising to return from that direction on a
certain date. In an extraordinary coincidence, Cortés appeared off the coast in that very year and was mistaken for
Quetzalcoatl by the devout Indians. Today, most educated persons in the United States, Europe, and Latin America
are fully versed in this account, as readers of this piece can undoubtedly affirm. In fact, however, there is little
evidence that the indigenous people ever seriously believed the newcomers were gods, and there is no meaningful
evidence that any story about Quetzalcoatl's returning from the east ever existed before the conquest. A number of
scholars of early Mexico are aware of this, but few others are. The cherished narrative is alive and well, and in
urgent need of critical attention.



Attached is the remainder of the article. A very interesting read.

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