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 Hernán Cortés, Cartas y relaciones de Hernan Cortés al emperador Carlos V, second letter, 63–64.

During the time I was at war with this province, Most Catholic Sire, and while I was yet in camp, there came to me six lords, the principal vassals, of Moctezuma, with about two hundred men in their train and assured me that he desired to become a subject of your Highness, and my friend; and to satisfy me of the sincerity of his professions, he would yield to your Highness every year a tribute of gold and silver, precious stones, slaves, and cotton cloth, and such other things as he had; that he would give all this, but that he desired I would not visit his dominions, because the country was very barren and destitute of the necessaries of life, and he should regret the privations that I and those who came with me would have to endure. He sent to me by the same persons almost a thousand pesos of gold, and large pieces of cotton cloth of the kind they wore. They remained with me during a great part of the war, until its close, and saw what the Spaniards were capable of doing; they also knew the terms on which this province made peace with us, and the professions of allegiance to your Majesty on the part of the nobles and the whole land, as it appeared; but they showed no signs of pleasure at these things and labored in every possible way to prejudice me against this people, saying that there was no confidence to be placed in what they told me, nor any sincerity in their professions of friendship, which were only made to lull me into security, so that they could betray me with impunity.