Returning god or blood sacrifice: What were Moctezuma's intentions toward Cortes?

by Kile, Lora L., M.A., UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI - COLUMBIA, 2011, 126 pages; 1521007


In my thesis I will be exploring why Moctezuma Xocoytl, the leader of the Aztecs when they were conquered by the Spanish, sent Hernán Cortés, the leader of the invading Spanish, the sacred garments of three Aztec gods. Traditionally, the answer to this question has been that Moctezuma Xocoytl thought Cortés was the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl returning to claim his empire. However, using the theoretical meanings of sacrifice and the dynamics of imperialism, I will examine the Aztec culture and their religious practices when the Spanish arrived to illustrate that this was not Moctezuma’s intention. By examining the sixteenth century documents of the conquistadors and the Spanish priests as well as the surviving Aztec texts, I will present an alternative view of Moctezuma’s intentions. I propose that Moctezuma did not think Cortés was Quetzalcoatl but intended to turn Cortés into a special sacrificial victim, a deity impersonator, to be sacrificed to Quetzalcoatl. This new view of Moctezuma, and how I arrived at it, can impact many academic fields: from the historical study of the Spanish Conquest of the New World and the examination of the literary trends found in historical documents to the study of cultural conflicts, imperialism and religious practices among indigenous people. v

AdviserRobert Baum
Source TypeThesis
SubjectsLatin American history; Latin American studies; Native American studies
Publication Number1521007

About ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
With nearly 4 million records, the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) Global database is the most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses in the world. It is the database of record for graduate research.

PQDT Global combines content from a range of the world's premier universities - from the Ivy League to the Russell Group. Of the nearly 4 million graduate works included in the database, ProQuest offers more than 2.5 million in full text formats. Of those, over 1.7 million are available in PDF format. More than 90,000 dissertations and theses are added to the database each year.

If you have questions, please feel free to visit the ProQuest Web site - - or contact ProQuest Support.