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According to one popular image, the Aztec army was a ruthless and efficient war machine, that established an empire by convincingly overwhelming its neighbors, sacrificing thousands to bloodthirsty gods along the way. From a contrasting perspective, its native warriors were no match for the modern warring methods of Cortés' greatly outnumbered Spaniards, who decisively defeated them. The reality of the Aztec warrior's ability and effectiveness lies somewhere between those two extremes, as this title makes clear. By examining the experiences of a hypothetical individual, Cuauhtli, this meticulously researched book shows that the history of Aztec warfare is much richer and far more complex than previously understood, and reveals the close relationship between social and military matters in Aztec society.
Many accounts portray the conquest of the New World as a remarkable military achievement, with Cortés' vastly outnumbered but better armed Spaniards defeating hordes of superstitious savages. However, the reality of these events is far more complex and no less significant. The first Conquistadors who had sailed in search of prosperity, inspired by dreams of unlimited riches, soon became disillusioned and restless. With disease rampant, resources exhausted, and the Caribbean populations dwindling, they had little alternative but to find new territories and peoples to exploit. This title shows how, bolstered by influxes of war-hardened veterans from Europe and an army of over 30,000 allied Indian troops, they came to rely on and perfect what they knew best - killing for profit, and without mercy.
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