The Conquest of Mexico

Michel R. Oudijk

in The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195390933
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Conquest of Mexico

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  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology by Region
  • Historical Archaeology



This article focuses on the sources describing the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Historians all have continuously asked the same question: How was it possible for five hundred Spaniards to conquer a Mexican empire? In trying to resolve the question, historians have applied all kinds of methodological instruments but particularly they have critically analyzed the sources. All have recognized the obvious subjectivity of the main sources of Hernán Cortés, López de Gómara, and Díaz del Castillo. The response has been either to verify the information given by these authors with that of archival documents and other accounts by Spanish conquerors, or to confront the Spanish sources with indigenous ones. These have been very useful methods that have clarified many of the doubts and mistakes represented in the main sources, but they have always confirmed the main story line of the Spanish conquest of Mexico.

Keywords: Spain; Spanish conquest; indigenous sources; Mexico

Article.  3929 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology by Region ; Historical Archaeology

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