Aztecs & Conquistadores

Is it really true that, during the conflict between Cortez’ conquistadores and the Aztecs, the Aztecs would pour molten gold into the mouths of captured Spaniards? Is there any truth to the rumor that they initially did this with chocolate? Because man, that’d be a great way to go! :eek:

I’ve never heard this, and I took a few classes that exclusively covered Hernán Cortés’ conquest of the Aztecs. That was more than 15 years ago, so maybe new clues have surfaced that support this…

…I tend to doubt it, though, simply b/c I doubt that the Aztecs captured that many Spaniards.

Cortés and his men were first accepted, due to the good fortune if his arrival coinciding with the supposed return of Quetzacoatl, who was supposed to one day return on the exact year in a 52-year cycle. (Lucky, that).

After that, it was basically a slaughter - the Aztecs were no match for men on horseback wielding crossbows, swords and axes, among other weaponry.

(Loosely summarized): He demolished the Tlaxcaltecas, got the remaining soldiers to join forces with him and attack Moctezuma, then went on to slaughter everyone in Cholula, gathered more soldiers, then went on to wipe out Tenochtitlán and receive first Moctezuma’s and later Cuauhtemoc’s surrender. Oh, and in the years after that the small pox and typhus they brought with them decimated an estimated 75% of the Aztec population.

I’d be more inclined to believe that the Spaniards were the ones doing the torturing, but if you were a soldier under Cortés would you really pour gold down someone’s throat, or would you keep it and run off? (That was actually a problem for Cortés - so many of his men tried to leave after obtaining gold that he burned down his own ships, stranding them in Mexico and forcing them to continue fighting).

As for chocolate - I doubt that too. The Aztecs used cocoa grains as currency, and taxed them. Besides, the type of “chocolate” isn’t what you think - they used an unsweetened drink from the cocoa beans and drank it. So it would be an expensive form of torture, and it would be more like pouring unsweetened Ovaltine down your throat.

Right. Think the sauce used in many Mexican dishes—mole—only worse; unsweetened (and otherwise unadorned) chocolate can be quite bitter.

I have heard the story before, but it was not routinely done to prisoners. It was done to one particular conquistador who had an exceptional reputation for greed. He hungered for gold; they filled that hunger, permanently :slight_smile: . Offhand, I can’t remember the guy’s name.

I have heard versions in which it was Indians who did it to a Spaniard, and I have heard versions in which it was Spaniards who did it to one of their own. The tales I heard were not about Aztecs, though. They were about Coronado’s expedition to what is now New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma.

I can shed some light, but not make a definitive SDGQ Answer

The story is that it was the Jibaro Indians in 1599.

It was in Logrono, Ecuador. Under the leadership of Anirula a force estimated by many at 20,000 warriors stormed Logrono in a night attack, killing every male inhabitant (some say the the number was 12,000), excepting the young women, and burning the city to the ground. The governor, Aldarete was killed by pouring molten gold down his throat “in order that he might have his fill of gold”.

2 cites

However, according to this site the story is apocryphal, and can “be traced to the pen and imagination of one Juan de Velasco in 1789.

So who are you gonna believe? I trust the Catholic Encyclopdia more as a source. However, the debunking sounds plausible and disquietingly specific - but is uncited.

The story itself must predate 1599, since this image of Indians pouring molten gold down a Spaniard’s throat (while a lurid cannibal feast goes on the the background) dates to Theodor de Bry’s Great Voyages of 1590. The Indians depicted do look much more like Jivaro than Aztecs, however,

I looked at that image, then thought to myself “How do you know it was molten gold they were pouring down his throat?”

Then I read the title. :smack: :slight_smile:

From this page:

Which pushes the story a bit further back. See also this account from the early 17th century that includes:

They captured a number of them during the sieg of Tenochlitan (it was the spaniards who were besieged by the Aztecs, and they barely escaped, only to return later).
I’ve heard the story about gold poured in conquistador’s throats (“you wanted gold? Here it is!”) but I’ve no clue if it’s true (I absolutely can’t remember the source and whether it was a reputable one or not) and I don’t even remember if the story refered to the Aztecs or the Incas.

Do you know if that’s a recent piece of information that’s been gleaned? As in, sometime in the last 15 years? That version of events certainly wasn’t taught to me way back when. If possible, can you give me more details? How were the Aztecs able to besiege them? It must have been sheer numbers - but then how did Cortés return and conquer - since all of his men were stranded, he must have gathered more opposing Aztec forces from other cities…

Hundreds of Spaniards were killed or captured during the Noche Triste during Cortez’s retreat from Tenochtitlan, and most of those who were captured were sacrificed by the Aztecs at their temples shortly thereafter.

This has been very well known since the earliest chronicles. Read any detailed account of the conquest.

I should once again have read the whole thread before responding and avoid writing such an uninformed comment after the previous detailled answers. :smack:

Huh. I must have had a bad professor. The only other conslusion I can draw is that my 15 year-old memory is faulty.

Yep - bad professor.


Bolding mine.

That’s the ticket. :wink: