Aztec children were valued creations. Language used in rituals compared infants to precious stones and feathers, flakes of stone, ornaments, or sprouts of plants. The duty of parents and society, however was not to indulge but to socialize the child, so that they would not become "fruitless trees," as an Aztec proverb stated. According to sources written shortly after the Spanish conquest,... Read More »
Rainsford wrote one of the first favorable accounts of the Haitian Revolution. He blamed the colonists for refusing to alter the slave system. Our excerpts begin with reactions to the revolution in mainland France in 1789 and continue through the death in prison in France of Toussaint L’Ouverture in 1803.
This image was created by an indigenous painter in central Mexico and accompanies a written description of the conquest of Tenochtitlan, penned in both Spanish and Nahuatl in the Florentine Codex. The Florentine Codex is one of the fullest Nahuatl descriptions of the conquest. The scene shows Malintzin in the act of translating. She sits upon a palace roof with Cortés. Her... Read More »
This excerpt from Cortés’s Second Letter, written to Charles V in 1519 and first published in 1522, is one of only two instances in Cortés’s letters to the King that explicitly mentions his indigenous translator. The letters represent eyewitness accounts of the conquistadors’ deeds and experiences. In spite of the close relationship between Cortés and doña Marina, his comments are terse and... Read More »
This chapter from the Florentine Codex, a bilingual encyclopedia of central Mexican life and history, was created by the Franciscan friar, Bernardino de Sahagún and indigenous advisors, painters and scribes. Nahuatl and Spanish texts appear side by side, and are accompanied by an image of Malintzin translating. The Nahuatl version of this text describes indigenous objects, words, and emotions... Read More »
This chapter from the Florentine Codex, a bilingual encyclopedia of central Mexican life and history was created by the Franciscan friar, Bernardino de Sahagún and indigenous advisors, painters and scribes. Nahuatl and Spanish texts appear side by side, and are accompanied by the image of Malintzin translating (described above). The Spanish text represents Sahagún’s translation of the Nahuatl... Read More »
A representation of Malinche painted by a renowned Chicana visual artist and teacher from Texas. It depicts the beautiful, life-giving Malintzin, is a tiny image, crafted on metal, and meant to evoke ex-voto and other devotional images from Mexico. Malinche appears as a beautiful young woman with her gaze turned down so that she does not meet our eyes. Behind her appear references to the... Read More »
Perhaps the most famous 16th-century portrayal of doña Marina, this description is also the most extensive from the period. Díaz del Castillo claims she was beautiful and intelligent, she could speak Nahuatl and Maya. Without doña Marina, he says, the Spaniards could not have understood the language of Mexico. These words, while evocative, were written decades after Díaz del Castillo marched... Read More »