Project Proposal

Victor Cancino

Prof. Smith

History 305


                       Proposal Assignment

  1. For my project I will be making a map of the course taken by Hernan Cortes and his conquistadors while marching into Mexico during the Spanish conquest. The regions involved in my project will be some of the Caribbean but mostly take place in central Mexico where the Aztec Empire was at its largest. It will start in Cuba where Hernan was told he was not allowed to leave in the first place around 1519. It will follow the journey that he and his men took along the coast of Mexico until he reached the central coast, then from there it will follow the foot path taken to the Aztec Capital. One thing I want to keep in mind is the sheer volume of people that was following Cortes and show the contrast between the number of Europeans and number of natives that marched inland.
  2. The way I will do my research is that I will focus on the manuscripts that dealt with the location and route of the Spanish and work that into the sources that deal with their impact. One big piece of the research will be used with Letters from Mexico which is an assortment of letters that Hernan had sent from Mexico to the king of Spain during the conquest. I will also be focusing on other firsthand accounts by using the Florentine Codex by Bernardino de Sahagun, as well as Historia Verdadera de la conquista by Bernal Diaz de Castillo, and The Broken Spears by Miguel Portilla. These books will be very useful as primary sources since they are some of the few remaining firsthand accounts of the conquest. One question I will keep in mind would be how faithful are these sources when it comes to how they capture the conquest? As well as how useful are the native sources since there are not many around to view? Not to mention who the native sources where written for, because Broken Spears and the Florentine Codex are have different views from native witnesses. In terms of secondary sources the main one will be When Montezuma met Cortes by Matthew Restall because it is the newest book with much emphasis on native viewpoints. I will also be using the “my maps” as a simple starter point for the viewer to get a good understanding of the landscape. This will also require me to have some program that can trace a specific trail, something like this is key to making the history feel tangible.
  3. The reason I want to do this project is actually a personal reason, I never really knew much about how the conquest looked like in terms of space and numbers of people. I want to use this map as a way to illustrate how the conquest looked, as well as look into the treaties made along the way that allowed Hernan to accomplish this outrageous journey. As well I feel that the maps I found on the internet to be binary with no interaction to properly show the numbers of people marching towards the Aztec Capital. Also, there wasn’t a good map that showed off the trail and what happened at each city they stopped in, such as a massacre that happened or a treaty that was made. These two things should be followed by one another but to get the full picture of the conquest one would have to have multiple sites opened.


  • Burkholder, Mark A., and Lyman L. Johnson. Colonial Latin America, 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press, 1994.
  • Cortes, Hernan. Letters from Mexico. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1971.
  • Leon Portilla, Miguel. The Broken Spears: The Aztec Accounnt of the Conquest of Mexico. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992.
  • Restall, Matthew. Seven Myhts of the Spanish Conquest. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • ———. When Montezuma Met Cortes: The True Story of the Meeting That Changed History. HarperCollins, 2018.
  • Schwartz, Stuart. Victors and Vanquished: Spanish and Nahua Views of the Conquest of Mexico. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2000.
  • Todorov, Tzvetan. The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999.

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