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QINGDAO TODAY
在线翻译:
szdaily -> Speak Shenzhen -> 
The Siege of Tenochtitlan
    2019-01-15  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

James Baquet

The site of today’s Mexican capital, Mexico City, was once the capital of another country — in fact, a thriving empire, that of the Aztecs. Beginning around 1428 as a coalition of three city-states, by the arrival of the Spanish the Aztec Empire had expanded to its greatest extent, covering some 220,000 square kilometers, a bit smaller than modern Laos. They had created an integrated economic network that incorporated diverse cultures, stretching all the way to Central America.

The Spanish, of course, had been in the area for a quarter of a century, since Columbus’ landing in 1492. But the Aztec Empire came crashing down when the Spanish conquistadores, or conquerors, under Hernan Cortes landed on their shores in 1519. By August of 1521, it was all over. Though the Spaniards were few in number, they had swelled their ranks by forming a coalition with some of the Aztecs’ indigenous vassals, enemies and rivals, and conquered the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan.

In addition to the native warriors who assisted them, Cortes’ troops were aided by an unusual ally. She was a native slave woman who had been given (along with 19 others) to the Spaniards by the natives of Tabasco, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. As Cortes’ companion and, by some accounts, a traitor to her people, she is best known as La Malinche.

She it was who served not only as interpreter for Cortes, but seemed to be something of an ambassadress, persuading native leaders to band with Cortes.

So important was she to Cortes personally that she became the mother of his first son, thought by some to be one of the first mestizo (mixed native and European) children born in Mexico.

More important than La Malinche in the conquest of Mexico, however, was a silent helper: the smallpox virus.

It wiped out much of the native leadership, leaving the immune Spaniards untouched.

The ability to travel across Mexico unimpeded at last brought within reach the original goal of the Spanish: to reach the Asian markets by traveling west.

Vocabulary:

Which word above means:

1. female representative of a nation or other power

2. eliminated, killed

3. one who betrays his or her people or country

4. without being stopped

5. one who provides oral translations

6. well coordinated

7. a highly contagious deadly disease

8. booming, extremely successful

9. different, having variety

10. not able to catch a disease

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