Cortés Meets Montezuma // Cortés’ letters // 8th November 1519

published on July 31, 2020

haven't asked this bridge we received by that Lord Montezuma with about two hundred Chiefs all barefooted and dressed in a kind of livery very rich according to their customs and some more so than others

They approached in two processions near the walls of the street which is very broad and straight and beautiful and very uniform from one end to the other being about two-thirds of a league long and having on both sides very large

Houses both dwelling places and mosques Montezuma came in the middle of the street with two Lords one on the right side and the other one on the left one of whom was the same great Lord who as I said came in that later to speak with me

And the other was the brother of Montezuma Lord of that city is tap pala pan whence I come that day all dressed in the same manner except the Montezuma was shot and the other lords were barefooted each supported him below his

Arms and as we approached each other I descended from my horse I was about to embrace him but the two lords and attendants prevented me with their hands that I might not touch him and he also made the ceremony of kissing

The ground the standing heel did his brother who came with him to remain with me and take me by the arm and the other attendant walk turns ahead of us after he had spoken to me all the other lords who formed the two processions also

Saluted me one after the other and then returns to the procession when I approached to speak to Montezuma I took off a collar of pearls and cast diamonds that I wore and put it on his neck and after we had gone through some of the

Streets one of his servants came with two collars wrapped in a cloth which were made of coloured shells these they esteem very much and from each of the collars hung eight golden shrimps executed with great perfection and a

Span long when he received them he turned towards me and put them on my neck and again went on through the streets as I've already indicated until we came to a large and handsome house which he had

Prepared for our reception there he took me by the hand and led me into a spacious room in front of the court where we had entered where he made me sit on a very rich platform which had been ordered to be made for him and told

Me to wait there and then he went away after a little while when all the people of my company were distributed to their quarters he returned with many valuables of gold and silver work and five or six thousand pieces of rich cotton stuffs

Woven and embroidered in diverse ways after he had given them to me he sat down on another platform which they immediately prepared near the one I was seated and being seated he spoke in the following manner we have known for a

Long time from The Chronicles of our forefathers that neither I nor those who inhabit this country are descendants from the Aborigines of it but from strangers who came to it from distant parts and we also hold that our race was

Brought to these parts by a lord whose vassals they all were and who returned to his native country after a long time he came back but it was so long that those who remained here were married with the native women of the country and

Had many descendants and had built towns where they were living when therefore he wished to take them away with him they would not go nor still less receive him as their ruler so he departed and we've always held that those who descended

From him would come to subjugate the country and us as his vassals and according to the direction from which you say you come which is where the Sun rises and from what you tell us of your great Lord or king who has sent to you

Here we believe and hold force certain that he is our rightful sovereign especially as you tell us that since many days he has had news of us hence you may be sure that we shall obey you and hold you as the representative

Of this Great Lord of whom you speak and that in this there will be no lack or deception and throughout the whole country you may command at your will I speak of what I possess in my Dominion because you will be obeyed and

Recognized and all we possess is at your disposal since you are in your rightful place and in your own homes rejoice and rest free from all the trouble of the journey and

Wars which you have had and I am well aware of all that has happened to you between Ponton Canon here and I know very well that the people of Campo el and task el TECA have told you many evil things respecting me do not believe more

Than you see with your own eyes especially from those that are my enemies and were my vassals yet rebelled against me on your coming as they say in order to help you I know they have told you that I have houses with walls of

Gold and that the furniture of my halls and other things of my service were also of gold and that I am or make myself a god and many other things the houses you have seen or of lime and stone and earth and then he held up his robes and

Showing me his body he said to me look at me and see that I am flesh and bones the same as you and everybody and that I am mortal and tangible and touching his arms and body with his hands look how they have lied to you

It is indeed true that I have some things of gold which have been left to me by my forefathers who would I possess you may have whenever you wish I shall now go to other houses where I

Live but you will be provided here with everything necessary for you and your people and you should suffer no annoyance for you are in your own house and country I answer to all these said certifying that which seemed to be

Suitable especially in confirming belief that it was your majesty whom they were expecting after this he took his leave and when he had gone we were well provided with chickens and bread and fruits and other necessities especially

Such as were required for the service of our quarters thus I passed six days well provided with everything necessary and visited by many of the Lords

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