The True History of the Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Díaz del Castillo

Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España (The True History of the Conquest of New Spain) is the first-person narrative written in 1576 by Bernal Díaz del Castillo (1492–1581), the military adventurer, conquistador, and colonist settler who served in three Mexican expeditions; those of Francisco Hernández de Córdoba (1517) to the Yucatán peninsula; the expedition of Juan de Grijalva (1518), and the expedition of Hernán Cortés (1519) in the Valley of Mexico; the history relates his participation in the fall of Emperor Moctezuma II, and the subsequent defeat of the Aztec Empire. In the colonial history of Latin America, it is a vivid, military account that establishes Bernal Díaz del Castillo “among chroniclers what Daniel Defoe is among novelists”. Late in life, when Díaz del Castillo was 84 years old and living in his encomienda estates in Guatemala, he wrote The True History of the Conquest of New Spain to defend the story of the common-soldier conquistador within the histories about the Spanish conquest of Mexico. He presents his narrative as an alternative to the critical writings of Bartolomé de Las Casas, whose Indian-native histories emphasized the cruelty of the conquest, as well as the histories of the hagiographic biographers of Hernán Cortés (specifically that of Francisco López de Gómara, who Díaz del Castillo believed minimized the role of the 700 enlisted soldiers instrumental to conquering the Aztec Empire). That said, Díaz del Castillo strongly defended the actions of the conquistadors, whilst emphasising their humanity and honesty in his eyewitness narrative, which he summarised as this: "We went there to serve God, and also to get rich." The history is occasionally uncharitable about Cortés; like other professional soldiers who participated in the Conquest of New Spain, Díaz del Castillo found himself among the ruins of Tenochtitlán only slightly wealthier than when he arrived to Mexico. That was common to many soldiers, who accused Cortés of taking more loot than his agreed fifth of the Aztec treasury. Certainly, the land and gold compensation paid to many of the conquistadores proved a poor return for their investment of months of soldiering and fighting across Mexico and the Anahuac Valley. Another interpretation of the book is that the author was one of several family relatives of Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, the governor of Cuba and a mortal enemy of Cortés; many of whom later plotted against the conquistador Captain. Although the narrative minimizes the Cortés–Díaz del Castillo relationship, the author's complex relationship with Cortés and the lower captains suggests that although he represented the faction of Governor Velázquez de Cuéllar in the expedition, Díaz del Castillo fully honoured Cortés's personal and military loyalty.

The 315th greatest nonfiction book of all time


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  1. - 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (The Book)

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Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
The True History of the Conquest of New Spain: Unabridged Edition Vol.1-2 Kindle Edition 976677 $1.99 2020
The True History of the Conquest of New Spain Kindle Edition 1344231 $8.99 2020
The true history of the conquest of New Spain Kindle Edition 1377577 2014
The True History of The Conquest of New Spain (Hackett Classics) by Bernal Diaz del Castillo (2012-03-15) Paperback 7088517 $22.60 $18.51
The True History of the Conquest of New Spain, Volume 3 Paperback 19823437 $7.00 $6.99 2009
The True History of The Conquest of New Spain (Hackett Classics) Paperback 332537 $4.89 $11.00 2012
Bernal Diaz Del Castillo: Being Some Account of Him, Taken From His True History of the Conquest of New Spain (Classic Reprint) Paperback 6223426 $869.56 2018
The True History of the Conquest of New Spain. By Bernal Diaz del Castillo, One of its Conquerors: From the Exact Copy made of the Original ... Volume I (Hakluyt Society, Second Series) Hardcover 6313290 $55.37 $64.79 2010
Historia verdadera de la conquista de Nueva Espana/ True History of the New Spain's Conquest (Alianza universidad) (Spanish Edition) Paperback 7924410 $196.00 $687.15 2007
The True History Of The Conquest Of New Spain, Volume 1 Hardcover 9308908 $29.95 2015
The True History of The Conquest of New Spain (Hackett Classics) Kindle Edition 682370 2011
The True History of the Conquest of New Spain 5 Volume Set in 4 Pieces (Cambridge Library Collection - Archaeology) Paperback 3376590 $156.00 $183.68
Bernal Diaz del Castillo Being Some Account of Him, Taken, from His True History of the Conquest of New Spain (Classic Reprint) Paperback 10541402 $13.03 2012
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The True History of the Conquest of New Spain. By Bernal Diaz del Castillo, One of its Conquerors: From the Exact Copy made of the Original ... Volume V (Hakluyt Society, Second Series) Hardcover 9429634 $55.59 $82.58 2010
Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España (Spanish Edition) Paperback 268843 $12.99 2018
Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España. Selección (Spanish Edition) Kindle Edition 455091 2010
Historia verdadera de la conquista de la nueva Espana, II (Cronicas de America) (Spanish Edition) Hardcover 10555106 $675.56 2003
The True History of the Conquest of New Spain, Volume 1 Kindle Edition 3326115 2011
Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva Espana. Prologo con resena critica de la obra, vida y obra del autor, y marco historico. (Spanish Edition) Paperback 779696 $3.24 $11.00 2013
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Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España Hardcover 11160630 $762.71 2012
The True History of the Conquest of New Spain Paperback 17273986 $31.99 2012
Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España Hardcover 12104876 $92.87 $64.87 2012
The True History of the Conquest of New Spain, Volume 3 Kindle Edition 4197378 2011
The True History of the Conquest of New Spain Volume 1 Paperback 11179217 $11.43 $22.73 2013
The True History of the Conquest of New Spain (Classic Reprint) Paperback 4027909 $16.34 $66.68 2018
The True History of the Conquest of New Spain (Cambridge Library Collection - Archaeology) Paperback 7027067 $39.05 $35.95 2010
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The True History of the Conquest of New Spain (Cambridge Library Collection - Latin American Studies) Paperback 7831939 $37.63 $24.92 2010
The True History of the Conquest of New Spain (Cambridge Library Collection - Archaeology) Paperback 10655691 $42.19 $24.92 2010
The True History of The Conquest of New Spain (Hackett Classics) by Diaz del Castillo, Bernal (2012) Paperback Paperback 11774882 $23.18 $18.57