Wednesday, August 8, 2012

La Malinche - Heroine or Temptress

A small army of Spaniards left Cuba in February 1519 on eleven ships headed for the Mainland. The expedition was led by Hernán Cortés who had been Secretary for the Spanish invasion of Cuba led by Diego Velasquez Cuellar. Velazquez had massacred the native warriors, burned their leader, Chief Hatuey, alive, and secured the island and its people as a Spanish colony. 

The point of the expedition led by Cortés, therefore, was to accumulate as much gold as possible, by trade or otherwise, and to capture slaves. After a resounding Spanish victory over the native warriors of Tobasco, the local High Chief told Cortés of the golden city called "Culua." There, he said, a river of gold ran into Montezuma's beautiful City In A Lake Near the Sky. 

To speed Cortés and his soldiers on their way, the huey tlatolani also handed over a number of slave girls to the Spaniards. One of these, baptized as "Marina", had her own reasons for invading the capital of the Aztecs. This woman, now known as "La Malinche", used her great intelligence, her quick mastery of Spanish, and Cortés and his soldiers to conquer Mexico.

Non-Fictional Accounts of La Malinche:
Feminism, Nation & Myth: La Malinche edited by Amanda Nolacea Harris
La Malinche: The Mistress of Hernan Cortes, From Slave to Goddess by Rodrigue Levesque
La Malinche in Mexican Literature: From History to Myth by Sandra Messing Cypress

Fictional Accounts of La Malinche:
The Treasure of La Malinche (Vols 1 & 2) by Jeffry S Hepple
Feathered Serpent: A Novel of the Mexican Conquest by Colin Falconer
Malinche: A Novel by Laura Esquivel

For more on La Malinche see:
La Malinche from Wikipedia

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