Scholarly study of Hernán Cortés’ conquest of the Aztecs has long relied on the accounts of Bernal Diaz del Castillo along with the letters that Cortés himself wrote to Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. Less known is the account kept by Bernal’s younger brother, Esteban, known to the rest of the expedition simply as “Hermanito Diaz.” These are the same people who decided to refer to the fat cacique they met as The Fat Cacique; sophisticated nicknaming was not one of the advances of civilization Spaniards brought to the New World.
Recently, a handful of pages from Hermanito’s account, previously lost, were found in the sock drawer of a dying, 90-year-old Spanish Jesuit, Fr. Javier de Alonso whose last words were, “Oh, yeah, those. I’ve been meaning to do something with them. Had ’em forever. You should probably take them. Urghh.”
The papers were turned over to Dr. James…
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