As The Barbaric Spanish Conquest turns 500, Mexico and Spain see History Differently

As Mexico commemorates 500 years since the Spanish Conquest, Spain missed an important opportunity to strengthen its bond and show a sense of unity or benevolence with the Spanish-speaking country, Mexico. It’s not the first time heads of state have been asked to apologize for past government atrocities. For Spain, a country that doesn’t like to recall its dark history, it was a bridge too far.

List of instances where countries have taken the high road and apologized.

When Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, sent a letter to the Spanish King, a letter that would require the king to ask for forgiveness (be it a gesture) for his country’s past atrocities during the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, also known as the Conquest of Mexico or the Spanish-Aztec War (1519–21). For many in Spain, It was Shocking to think they might have to reconcile with the past.

Mexican President had stated

“There were massacres and oppression. The so-called conquest was waged with the sword and the cross. They built their churches on top of the [indigenous] temples,” he said. “The time has come to reconcile. But let us ask forgiveness first.”

Spain bulked at the idea, stating.

“The Spanish government profoundly regrets the publication of the Mexican president’s letter to his majesty the king on 1 March and completely rejects its content,” a government statement read.

Spain missed it’s Opportunity

The Mexican President’s reasoning for the letter was not one of spite or anger but one of a need for reconciliation of history and a chance to strengthen the bond between Spain and Mexico.

Spain chose its mountain, and thus decided to see things differently than that of the Mexican President. Hastily hitting back at Mexico for being called out for its truths. Member of the conservative right, such as Pablo Casado, commented: “We didn’t colonize, what we did was to make Spain larger.”

For many Spaniards, The barbaric Conquest is portrayed as something positive, even Disney-like, for them, It was a time when Spain maintained a predominance over large swaths of lands and people, The Spanish Empire. Thus all the atrocities are currently washed over and conveniently overlooked. Better to remember it as a grandiose time, than one filled with grotesque atrocities against the indigenous Aztecs, a Mesoamerican culture that flourished in central Mexico.

Yet, even in the face of countless reports of mass rapes and murders committed by the Colonizers, Spain still has apologists on its side. Some of them are even women. example: Rachel Campos-Duffy went full pro-colonizer mode during a tweet.

Mexican President Statement during the 500-year commemoration of the Spanish Conquest

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  1. Spaniards created the encomienda system in Mexico, The encomienda was a Spanish labor system that rewarded conquerors with the labor of particular groups of conquered non-Christian people. The laborers, in theory, were provided with benefits by the conquerors for whom they labored, the Catholic religion being a principal benefit.

  2. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Human Rights calls Spain's invasion of the Americas the first large-scale genocide of the modern era.

    In the land that became Spanish colonies, at least eight million indigenous people were killed by Spanish massacres and European diseases. Across two continents, up to 95 percent of all people were killed.

    The Fall of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire, was a decisive event in the Spanish conquest of the empire. It occurred in 1521 following extensive manipulation of local factions and exploitation of pre-existing political divisions by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés. He was aided by indigenous allies, and his interpreter and companion La Malinche.

    Even after all of this “Rachel Campos-Duffy” thinks it was great!

  3. The-Torture-of-Cuauhtemoc

    “The Torture of Cuauhtémoc”

    Cuauhtémoc (Nahuatl pronunciation: [kʷaːʍˈtemoːk] (About this soundlisten), Spanish pronunciation: [kwawˈtemok] (About this soundlisten)), also known as Cuauhtemotzín, Guatimozín, or Guatémoc, was the Aztec ruler (tlatoani) of Tenochtitlan from 1520 to 1521, making him the last Aztec Emperor.

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