Published Date

May 1, 2004

Resource Type

Primary Source

This resource was developed in 2004 as part of “The Conquest of Mexico” by Nancy Fitch.

From Bernal Díaz del Castillo, Historia Verdadera, Volume 1, Chapter 46

[The Spaniards are with a group of indigenous people led by a man identified only as “the fat Cacique.” Moctezuma sends messengers to “the fat Cacique” to advise them against dealing with Cortés. Those around “the fat Cacique” became very agitated, since they didn’t know whether to support the Spaniards or Moctezuma.]

At this moment, surprised at what he saw, Cortés asked our interpreters, Doña Marina and Jerónimo de Aguilar, why the Caciques were so agitated since the arrival of those Indians, and who they were. And Doña Marina who understood everything very well, told him what was going on; and then Cortés summoned the fat Cacique and the other chiefs and asked them who these Indians were and why they made such a commotion about them. They replied that they were the tax collectors of the great Moctezuma and that they had come to inquire why they [the fat Cacique and the other chiefs] had received us in their town without the permission of their lord, and that they now demanded twenty men and women to sacrifice to their god, Huitzilopochtli, so that he would give them victory over us, for they said that Moctezuma had declared that he intended to capture us and make us slaves.

Cortés reassured them and told them not to be afraid, for he was here with all of us in his company and that he would punish them [Moctezuma’s tax collectors].