The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire occurred between 1519 and 1521.


A new social hierarchy was imposed known as the  Casta system. Spanish rule set up a complex system of classification of people based on physical features in which to be of mixed-blood a Mestizo meant you were excluded from full rights as citizens and protection by the law.


Historical Note: La Malinche and Hernan Cortez had the first Mestizo in Nueva España formerly the Aztec Empire. (Paz discusses this in Sons of La Malinche chapter.  






The Spanish conquest left many legacies, one of which was the social; in how definitions, attitudes changed towards different groups in particular the new group: Mestizo (someone of mixed blood, indigenous and Spanish.)


Observe your family at home and take notes on whether or not this social legacy of viewing others who look different Mestizo either European or indigenous features is favored socially  or culturally in your family and or community.  

Discuss your findings in 2-3 pages, MLA format



Upload in pdf format (save as pdf in word )



Background Reading:


“By the fifteenth century, a new power had emerged in the Valley of Mexico: the Aztec Empire. Under the ruler Ahuitzotl, the Aztecs expanded south to dominate Cholula, the Valley of Oaxaca and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The conquest of these Mixtec and Zapotec kingdoms threatened regional alliances; however, the confederacies’ military acumen and deft negotiating enabled them to retain their trading networks.


Further Aztec conquest ended with the arrival of Hernán Cortés and the Spanish army in 1519. This date corresponds to the year 1 Reed in the Mexican calendar, the year associated with Quetzalcoatl’s mythic birth.  Ahuitzotl’s successor, Motecuhzoma II, interpreted the news of the Spaniards’ arrival as the return of Quetzalcoatl and sent gifts to Cortés.


Local communities, resentful of Aztec imperialism, readily forged alliances with the Spaniards and soon brought down the Aztec Empire. The southern kingdoms reconstituted their confederacies and trading networks under the new regime and emerged as an integral part of the new economy. Native ruling lords, orcaciques, allied themselves with Spanish clergy and acted as intermediaries between the indigenous past and colonial present. Today, descendants of the Children of the Plumed Serpent continue to thrive in southern Mexico.”  




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