17 thoughts on “Conquistadors and Border Disruption”

  1. Wonderful discussion about the cultural contexts and tactics of the Aztecs and Spaniards. I ok forward to Sunday afternoon history lesson. These are great sessions.

    1. This should not be an intellectual exercise or a session in geopolitics.
      What will come first? The end of the Biden administration in November 2024, the irreversible end of the United States, or the declaring by Biden of an emergency before the next election to remain in power and abrogate the national election.
      Sure I’m a cynic. But the true issue is whether or not cynicism is warranted?

  2. A few additional notes on today’s wonderful broadcast:

    * Cortes was a relentless womanizer. His trip to the New World was delayed because of an injury he incurred during a tryst with a married woman: he fell off a wall when he tried to climb from a balcony while fleeing from woman’s angry husband.

    * Malinche (whom Mexicans refer to as “la cin…da”, BTW) translated from Nahua (the Aztec language) to Mayan. The Spaniard Geronimo de Aguilar, who was on a previous expedition to Mexico, was captured by the Totonacs and had therefor learned to speak Mayan. So the translation went from Aguilar to Malinche to the Aztecs (and vice versa).

    * I’m not sure I agree about the superiority of the Aztec armor. Most of the Spanish abandoned it in favor of the fortified cotton armor that the Aztecs wore. (this is documented by “Anonymous Conquistador”)

    * Neither the Arguebues nor the crossbow offered significant advantages. I agree with Hans Delbruck that , in the 16th century, both weapons were still inferior to a longbow wielded by an expert bowman.

    * I maintain the number #1 reason Cortes was able to defeat the Aztecs was that the Aztec empire was a fragile multiethnic coalition with little to hold it together.

    * The role of “flower war” tactics is overstated. The Aztecs heavily used projectile weapons, which is entirely inconsistent with flower war tactics. Only a handful of Spaniards were captured live in the entire conquest.

  3. Well, looks like any reports that Uictor is a Desantis man have gone out the window…

    FWIW, Uictor’s take on Cortez was the one I got in Oxford 20 years ago. Course, those guys also didn’t think the Renaissance was a real thing (they saw it as high Medievalism).

    On colonial history: most colonial farmers were more like today’s subsistence farmers or gentlemen farmers than what Uictor and his family were doing. By 1830, the New Englanders were merging small farming with a pre-factory system. Until the late Victorian Era, you couldn’t do mass cash crop agriculture without slaves. In the US, that was only profitable with Ely Whitney’s cotton gin. A rich family in colonial Connecticut might own five slaves and would pool slave resources with the extended family (See Jane Deforest Shelton’s “The Saltbox House”). Rhode Island did some experiments with large slave plantations prior to the State abolishing slavery.

  4. I can listen to Victor talk about history all day. It’s so interesting. I have always wondered why Mexico and South America are so different from North America. This podcast explained it so well. The background information was very helpful to understand the Conquistadors.

    1. Ditto.
      A fascinating discussion of Mexico and Cuba.
      Still, an on-going question: why was it the Natives of what is now (Northern and Southern) Mejico compared to those Natives of North America so different in organization and presentation? Could it be related to Tribes of North America benefited from the emphasis on law in North America while, perhaps, those south of the current (former) border, not so much?
      The difference is striking. It must be a learned trait or (? LOL) is it attributed to capitalism of the European peoples seeing opportunity among the native tribes – there is good evidence of this among in Tulalip Tribe. Is it wide spread?
      In the Greater NW, e.g., we have the Muckleshoots, Tulalips (a conglomeration of smaller tribes), Inuits, Snoqualmies, other areas have Apaches, Navajo, etc. They all now have legal representation in law. Native peoples in Mexico mostly appear to be non-affiliated.
      Whoops. Sorry to wander off trail.

      1. No worries! This is great! Some of it is a numbers game. North America had its own massive indigenous civilizations (mound culture, Mississippians), but they collapsed and did not reconstitute before Europeans arrived. Pace Jered Diamond, the North-South axis of the American continents also inhibit the movement of people, crops, and cultures leaving the cultures of the two continents much more bottled up than Eurasians and North Africans. The rapid pace of conquest and propensity for intermarriage among the Spanish and the slow pace of conquest and active discouragement of intermarriage among the Anglo-Americans also created vastly different conditions for the First Nations.

  5. Professor, please tell me what your definition of a ‘thug’ is.
    Michael Byrd has been accused of being a bully by his fellow employees (as stated in this podcast). He left a loaded weapon in the men’s room (thank you for reminding us of that). So what would you call Michael Byrd? Trump used the word thug and I cannot disagree with that discription of the man.

    Love how you go back to history in all your podcasts. I have learned more listening to these podcasts and reading you books than anything else. Thanks you.

    An avid listener.

  6. I would like to throw in a comment about something I think I heard Victor say during the previous podcast. He seemed to say “the laws were changed” in the battleground states during the 2020 election. Simply not the case. No legislature was consulted and no laws were enacted changing presidential election procedures. All changes were made unconstitutionally by governors and attorneys general. Thus it would seem all votes cast under these provisions were unconstitutional.

  7. I want Trump to win as revenge for the 2020 and 2024 elections. I also think he will do what needs to be done.

    On the border, send in the gun ships.

    1. I did not write the above comment, and I don’t agree.

      I support Trump because he is simply the best candidate.

      What are gun ships?

      I will stop commenting. For whatever is worth, if you see another comment in the future, it’s not me.

      1. I want Trump to win as revenge for the 2020 and 2024 elections. I also think he will do what needs to be done.

        On the boarder, send in the gun ships.

        Sorry, just a different Phil. I’ll use Phil_1 in the future.

        1. What Trump needs to do is persuade those who have never voted for him. The sense that I get from these people is that he is so unacceptable that they would vote for any Democrat to keep him from being elected.

          I feel indignation for how badly Trump has been treated and will vote for him again if he is the Republican nominee. However, I do not know what he can do to improve his electability.

  8. Thomas O'Brien

    “Revenge” or not;’ the simple fact is that Trump has demonstrated that he is very, very capable of enacting meaningful change, domestically and internationally. Furthermore, he was able to do all this under the most disadvantageous circumstances.

    Due to the wrongs that he experienced (Thank you John Durham for finally making it official.), Trump is exponentially more motivated than any other Republican candidate in seeing that such treasonous acts never occur again.

    I do not see such motivation as revenge. I see it as the continuation of his promise to the American people to “drain the swamp”.

  9. I’m looking for a VDH recommended reading list. Is that possible? What’s the best biography on Cortes? As an avid history reader I’m full aware that woke versions of history abound and I’m looking for the antidote to that poison. What say you sir? Can we get a VDH Approved Reading List? Thanks

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