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Malinal to Malinche: The Life of Doa Marina

By Nancy Thatcher
Colonial Latin America History 3620 Dr. Daniel Aragn December 2002

The life of woman who was born as Malinal, who took the name Doa Marina after she was baptized by the Spanish, and would become known to history as Malinche, is one of the most significant and controversial in the history of Mexico. Much of her existence is shrouded in mystery and what little is known about her has become myth and legend. This exceptional womans lifetime was filled with many adventures, adversity, and achievements. Malinal spent much of her early days as a slave although she was born the daughter of a wealthy nobleman. Her life was forever changed when she was given to the conquistador, Hernn Corts, who was embarking upon the conquest of Mexico. The role Doa Marina played in the events of the conquest was crucial, yet she later lived in obscurity. Malinche has been vilified for betraying her people during the conquest, but was treachery her intention? Many factors may have motivated her to help the conquistadors, yet whatever her motivations were, she was by all accounts a remarkable woman who played a critical part in the history of the Americas. Early Life of Malinal Malinal began her life in a world of diverse cultures and rich heritage that was dominated by the Mexicas, also know as the Aztecs. She was born around the year 1505 in a village called Paynal in the region of Coatzacoalco at the north end of the base of the Yucatan peninsula, [1] an area on the border between the lands controlled by the Aztecs and the Mayas. [2] Her father was a rich cacique of Oluta and Xalipa who died when she was young. Malinals mother remarried and had a son by her second husband. The mother wanted this boy to inherit the estate of her late husband and decided to sell Malinal into slavery. She informed the villagers of Paynal that her daughter had died and buried the body of dead slave child. Malinal was taken by merchants to Xicolongo where she became the possession of a Tabascan cacique. [3] Her experiences and intelligence served her well when Corts arrived in Tabasco in 1519. Corts and Doa Marina Hernn Corts was the first conquistador to attempt to invade Mexico. He was born in Medelln, Extremadura Spain in 1485. In 1504, at the age of nineteen, Corts arrived in the New World and quickly became an encomendero, a person who was granted an encomienda, which granted the holder labor and tribute from specific native peoples. [4] He joined an expedition to Cuba and took part in the conquest of that island under the command of Diego Velzquez, who would become its governor. Corts received another encomienda but was enticed to leave his comfortable existence when rumors reached Cuba of a great civilization on the mainland to the west. After several failed attempts to establish a Spanish presence in Mexico, Velzquez appointed Corts to lead a new expedition. Corts gathered many men, including Bernal Daz del Castillo, a soldier who wrote of their adventures, ships and supplies for the voyage, but cut his preparations short when it became clear that Velzquez wanted to remove the ambitious Extremeduran from command. The expedition departed Cuba on February 18, 1519. [5] It was not long after the Spanish reached the Yucatan peninsula that Corts and Malinal first met. Bernal Daz recorded that among the treasures the Tobascans brought to the Spanish

nothing compared with the twenty women, among whom was an excellent one who was named Doa Marina when she became a Christian . . . [who] was of good appearance, intelligent, and poised. [6] The fifteen-year-old Malinal became Doa Marina and this event proved extremely advantageous for the Spanish as they began to push into central Mexico. When Corts learned of Marinas talents with language, he took her as his mistress and she, according to his own words, ever accompanied [him]. [7] When she was converted to Christianity, Marina seemed to devote herself wholly to the Spaniards cause after she was baptized a Christian and given a Christian name. She gave her loyalty and love to Hernn Corts. With the aid of Marina, who spoke Mayan and Nahuatl, and Jernimo de Aguilar, a Spaniard who had been shipwrecked and could speak Mayan, Corts could communicate with the ambassadors of Moctezuma and, perhaps more importantly, with the tribes who had been conquered by the armies of the Aztecs. [8] Moctezuma had been aware of the Spanish since they had first arrived in Mexico, but was unsure whether they were messengers of exiled god Quetzalcoatl or if they were invaders who should be destroyed as merely another enemy of the Aztec empire. [9] Corts, with the aid of Marina who had learned Spanish in a matter of weeks, was able to exploit the insecurity of Moctezuma and gathered allies from the tribes that were hostile to the Aztecs. The Spaniards fought many battles along their march to the Aztec capital and survived several ambushes thanks to the information Marina gathered from the peoples they encountered. Bernal Daz stated that . . . Doa Marina . . . possessed such manly valor that though she heard every day that the Indians were going to kill us and eat our flesh with chillis [sic] and though she had seen us surrounded in recent battles and knew that we were all wounded and sick, yet she betrayed no weaknesses but a courage greater than that of a woman . . . [10] The expedition entered the valley of Mexico and saw Tenochtitln, the capital of the Aztec empire, in September of 1519. [11] Doa Marina would again play an important role in the coming events. Malinche and the Fall of Tenochtitln Moctezuma himself greeted Corts on one of the causeways that led to the island city. The Spanish were guided to a palace and were given many treasures. Marina translated the words spoken by Moctezuma who said, Malinche, this house is yours and your brothers. [12] Corts and Marina were now so closely connected that the native peoples called Corts Malinche, a Spanish corruption of the Aztec name Malintzin, which was an Aztec corruption of the name Marina. [13] Corts knew the position of the Spaniards in Tenochtitln was precarious and took Moctezuma hostage. It was left to Marina to convince the emperor to accept his captivity and surrender his kingdom but in the end these actions were futile. The people of the city rebelled against Moctezuma who was killed by his own subjects as he tried to pacify the city. The Spanish were driven from the capital and suffered many casualties on what became known as la noche triste. Doa Marina had been able to escape from the causeways with the help of Tlaxcalan warriors [14] and Bernal Daz closed his account of the events of la noche triste by proclaiming how glad [they] were to see that [she] was still alive. [15] Corts retreated from Tenochtitln but he still had many allies and Doa Marina to aid him in retaking the capital. He constructed thirteen small brigantines that would allow him to cut Tenochtitln from supplies and force the Aztecs to surrender. Disease, however, proved to be the most devastating weapon the Spanish had brought with them. Smallpox had ravaged the population of the besieged city and killed Cuitlahuac, the man who had succeeded Moctezuma as emperor. On August 21, 1521, Corts and his men destroyed the last defenses of Tenochtitln, forced the last defenders of the city to surrender, and captured the new Aztec emperor, Cuauhtemoc. The once beautiful capital of the Aztecs was in ruins and Corts and his men found little of the treasure that they had desired. [16]

Marina after the Conquest Six months after the fall of Tenochtitln, Corts was busy granting encomiendas to his followers and transforming the former Aztec capital into a Spanish city. Doa Marina had by this time given birth to a son who was named Martn after Corts father. By 1524, however, Corts had tired of his life of an administrator and the rebellion of one of his former captains, Cristbal de Old who had been sent to conquer Honduras, provided a way to alleviate his boredom. He had sent his cousin, Fransico de las Casas, to punish Old, but had not heard any news in months and so Corts decided to lead an expedition himself. [17] This venture would prove disastrous to the political authority of Corts in Mexico and would change Marinas life forever by separating her from the man to whom she had devoted herself. Corts set out from Mexico City in late 1524 accompanied by Doa Marina, Cuauhtemoc, a few hundred Spaniards, and thousands of natives. The long march proved more arduous than the conquistador could have imagined and it would be Cuauhtemoc who suffered for it. Rumors of an uprising among the Indians prompted Corts to put the last Aztec emperor on trial, torture him, and finally execute him. According to Bernal Daz, Cuauhtemocs last words were Malintzin! Now I find in what your false words and promises have ended - in my death. Better that I had fallen by my own hands than trust myself in your power in my city of Mexico. Why do you thus unjustly take my life? May God demand of you this innocent blood! Daz added that I heartily pitied [Cuauhtemoc] . . . and I also declare that [he] suffered . . . most undeservingly, and so it appeared to us all, amongst who there was but one opinion upon the subject; that it was a most unjust and cruel sentence. [18] Marinas life was dramatically changed by the Honduras expedition. During the journey, Corts severed his connections to her by marrying her to Juan de Jaramillo, one of his soldiers. Around this time Marina was also reunited with her mother and half brother, who were christened Marta and Lzaro by the Spaniards. Bernal Daz said that they shook with fear as they approached Marina, yet despite the wrongs done to her, Marina forgave them and gave them many gifts. [19] Daz said that Marina stated, even if they made [me] cacica of all the provinces that were in New Spain, [I] would not be one, since [I] had more to do serving [my] husband and Corts than all that there is in the world. [20] When Corts finally reached Honduras, he found that the entire expedition had been unnecessary because the rebellion had already been put down. He returned to Mexico City to find chaos and, although he quickly set things in order once again, he was striped of his authority. In 1528, Corts returned to Spain and married Doa Juana de Ziga, the daughter of Spanish aristocrat. He returned to New Spain in 1530, and although he was very wealthy and famous, he had no political power in the new colonial government. Corts left Mexico for Spain for the last time in 1540 and died seven years later. [21] The final days of Doa Marina are not so easily recounted. After Corts arranged her marriage to the Spanish soldier Jaramillo, Marina bore a daughter who was named Maria. Corts gave her several estates where she and her husband lived in comfort and faded into obscurity. [22] One of the last reports of Marina was given by a Spaniard named Diego de Ordas who claimed to have seen Marina and her son Martn in 1529. [23] The date of Marinas death is uncertain and will probably remain a mystery, yet this lack of closure does nothing to diminish the importance of her life. Her accomplishments were summarized by Corts in his statement, After God we owe this conquest of New Spain to Doa Marina. [24] Malinche: Myth and Reality

The woman known as Malinal, Doa Marina, and Malinche is one of the most controversial figures in history. Did Doa Marina deliberately betray her people? It is difficult to understand her motives in part because she wrote no account of her actions. The few words attributed to her were written by men such as Bernal Daz del Castillo who may not have understood her reasoning at all. Many modern scholars believe it is unjust to label Marina as a traitor. She was sold into slavery by her own people and held in bondage by another. How can she have had a sense of loyalty to either? She may also have felt, as did many tribes conquered by the Aztecs, that Moctezuma was a cruel emperor and simply aided Corts to overthrow his empire. Or perhaps Marina acted only out of love for Hernn Corts, but if so, she was ill rewarded for her efforts as he married someone else. [25] In her homeland of Mexico, the name Malinche lives on as a derogatory term for persons who betray their nation and heritage to foreign influences. In many ways, Doa Marina has been made the scapegoat who takes the blame for the conquest of the Aztecs although, logically, her aid was only one part of the reason why the Spanish conquered Mexico. [26] As one scholar stated, she is . . . asked to be faithful to a Mexican nation that would not exist as such for another three centuries and to be faithful to the race she did not know as such, because she belonged to a people who were enemies of the Mexicas. [27] Perhaps it is time for Marina to be viewed, not as a traitor, but as one of the first progenitors of the mestizos in Mexico who have inherited the best of both races and can be proud of their heritage. [28] The woman known as Malinal, Doa Marina, and Malinche was one of the most influential individuals in the history of the Americas. She overcame the bonds of slavery that had been placed on her in her youth and played a pivotal role in the conquest of Mexico, although she spent the rest of her life in anonymity. Many have portrayed her as a traitor to her people and the name of Malinche lives on as an insult in Mexico. Marinas motivations may be a matter of conjectured, but her true legacy lives on in the blood and heritage of the mestizo people of Mexico. Whether Malinal-Marina-Malinche was a traitor to her culture or the heroine of a new people, the life of this extraordinary woman was one of the most significant in the history of the New World.

[1] Jerome R. Adams, Liberators and Patriots of Latin America : biographies of 23 leaders from Doa Marina (1505-1530) to Bishop Romero (1917-1980) (North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 1991), 3. [2] Julia Tun Pablos, Women in Mexico: A Past Unveiled, trans. Alan Hynds (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1999), 17. [3] Adams, Liberators, 3. [4] Irene Silverblatt, Moon, Sun, and Witches: Gender Ideologies and Class in Inca and Colonial Peru (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1987), 228. [5] Mark A. Burkholder and Lyman L. Johnson, Colonial Latin America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 42-43. [6] Bernal Daz del Castillo, The Bernal Daz Chronicles, trans. and ed. Albert Idell (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1956), 51-52. [7] Hernando Corts, Five Letters, trans. J. Bayard Morris (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1928), 313. [8] Pablos, Women, 17. [9] Adams, Liberators, 6. [10] Oleg Zinam and Ida Molina, AThe Tyranny of Myth: Doa Marina and the Chicano Search for Ethnic Identity,@ Mankind Quarterly 32, no. 1-2 (Fall/Winter 1991): 7. [11] Adams, Liberators, 10. [12] Daz del Castillo, Chronicles, 143. [13] Joanne Danaher Cheison, AMysterious Malinche: A Case of Mistaken Identity,@ Americas 32, no. 4 (1976): 514. [14] Adams, Liberators, 11. [15] Daz del Castillo, Chronicles, 256. [16] Burkholder and Johnson, Colonial, 49. [17] Jonathan Kandell, La Capital: the biography of Mexico City (New York: Random House, 1988), 138-139. [18] Bernal Daz del Castillo, The True History of the Conquest of Mexico, trans. Maurice Keatinge, Esq (New York: Robert M. McBride & Company, 1927), 450. [19] William Weber Johnson, Corts (Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1975), 174-190.

[20] Pablos, Women, 18. [21] Kandell, Capital, 141-144 [22] Chaison, Mysterious, 517-521. [23] Adams, Liberators, 12. [24] Jeffrey Wilkerson, AFollowing Corts: Path to Conquest,@ National Geographic, October 1984, 448. [25] Clara Sue Kidwell, AIndian Women as Cultural Mediators,@ Ethnohistory 39, no. 2 (Spring 1992): 98-99. [26] Pablos, Women, 3-5. [27] Pablos, Women, 18. [28] Zinam and Molina, Tyranny, 5.

Works Cited Adams, Jerome R. Liberators and Patriots of Latin America: biographies of 23 leaders from Doa Marina (1505-1530) to Bishop Romero (1917-1980). North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 1991. Burkholder, Mark A., and Lyman L. Johnson. Colonial Latin America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. Cheison, Joanne Danaher. "Mysterious Malinche: A Case of Mistaken Identity." Americas 32.4 (1976): 514-523. Corts, Hernando. Five Letters. Trans. J. Bayard Morris. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1928. Daz del Castillo, Bernal. The Bernal Daz Chronicles. Trans. and Ed. Albert Idell. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1956. Daz del Castillo, Bernal. The True History of the Conquest of Mexico. Trans. Maurice Keatinge, Esq. New York: Robert M. McBride & Company, 1927. Johnson, William Weber. Corts. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1975. Kandell, Jonathan. La Capital: the Biography of Mexico City. New York: Random House, 1988. Kidwell, Clara Sue. "Indian Women as Cultural Mediators." Ethnohistory 39.2 (1992): 97- 107. Pablos, Julia Tun. Women in Mexico: A Past Unveiled. Trans. Alan Hynds. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1999. Silverblatt, Irene. Moon, Sun, and Witches: Gender Ideologies and Class in Inca and Colonial Peru. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1987. Wilkerson, Jeffrey. "Following Corts: Path to Conquest." National Geographic, October 1984: 420459. Zinam, Oleg, and Ida Molina. "The Tyranny of Myth: Doa Marina and the Chicano Search for Ethnic Identity." Mankind Quarterly 32.1-2 (1991): 3-18.

Subido por GRASCORZO el 18/05/2008

La Conquista de Mxico empez en 1519, cuando Malintzin tena ms o menos catorce aos. Espaa haba establecido puertos en el Caribe unos aos antes, pero no hubo explorado mucho del interior del continente. Con la llegada de Hernn Corts a Mxico, la faz del Occidente fue cambiado para siempre. l y sus soldados marcharon rumbo Tenochtitln, en una campaa bajo el propsito de conquistar todo y enriquecerse; llegaron a la ciudad el 8 de noviembre de 1519. Unos eventos destacados de la Conquista son la Matanza del Templo Mayor, la viruela, la muerte de Moctezuma, y la Noche Triste. La Conquista de Mxico-Tenochtitln termin dos aos despus en 1521. IV Su importancia en la cultura de Mxico El tema de La Malinche es uno de los ms polmicos de todos. Es cierto que sus acciones tuvieron un impacto profundo en la historia de Mxico. Por la mayor parte, su personificacin lleva un tono negativo. La Malinche es considerada traidora de la cultura indgena, la madre de los mestizos, y una herona al mismo tiempo; pero su definicin depende en la persona que habla de ella. Hay muchas interpretaciones diferentes que pertenecen a la Malinche. Histricamente, la Malinche representa la clave de la Conquista; pero hay muchos que consideran la Conquista una violacin enorme. Recientemente, ha habido esfuerzos para rehacer su imagen, pero ha sido arduo porque casi quinientos aos de maldicin son difciles de borrar. Doa Marina ayud a Corts a conquistar Mxico. Sus acciones representan a muchos el gran pecado. Conjuntamente, su nombre es sinnimo de traidor. Un malinchista es una persona que prefiere venderse por lo extranjero. Una persona puede venderse su raz, su patria o sus morales para ser considerada malinchista. Adems, la Malinche dio a luz a Martn Corts, el hijo de Hernn Corts. Por esa razn, es considerada la madre de los mestizos aunque hubo otras mujeres violadas durante la Conquista. Con tanto en su contra, sera terriblemente trabajoso cambiar el paradigma. La autora, Sandra Messenger Cypess, ha notado que han sido muchos los autores que quieren cambiar la manera en que la Malinche es personificada. Cambios sociales en la segunda mitad del siglo XX han trado a luz aspectos diferentes de lo que hizo. No hay otra mujer durante la poca de la Conquista que se destaque como la Malinche. Por su sabidura, tom una posicin fundamental que ninguna otra mujer pudiera haber tomado y hay que reconocerla porque la historia no sera la misma si ella no hubiera participado. Escrito por Nacho J. A. Gilbert - hotdamnstringband@hotmail.com



La Maldicin de Malinche Gabino Palomares
Del mar los vieron llegar mis hermanos emplumados eran los hombres barbados de la profeca esperada. Se oy la voz del monarca de que el Dios haba llegado y les abrimos la puerta por temor a lo ignorado. Iban montados en bestias como demonios del mal iban con fuego en las manos y cubiertos de metal. Slo el valor de unos cuntos les opuso resistencia y al mirar correr la sangre se llenaron de vergenza. Porque los dioses ni comen, ni gozan con lo robado y cuando nos dimos cuenta ya todo estaba acabado. En ese error entregamos la grandeza del pasado y en ese error nos quedamos trescientos aos esclavos.

Se nos qued el maleficio de brindar al extranjero nuestra fe, nuestra cultura nuestro pan, nuestro dinero. Y les seguimos cambiando oro por cuentas de vidrio y damos nuestra riqueza por sus espejos con brillo. Hoy en pleno siglo XX nos siguen llegando rubios y les abrimos la casa y los llamamos amigos. Pero si llega cansado un indio de andar la sierra lo humillamos y lo vemos como extrao por su tierra. T, hipcrita que te muestras humilde ante el extranjero pero te vuelves soberbio con tus hermanos del pueblo. Oh, Maldicin de Malinche! Enfermedad del presente! Cundo dejars mi tierra? Cundo hars libre a mi gente?


Solo le Pido a Dios

Subido por DESPERTAR89 el 25/06/2009
Slo le pido a Dios Que el dolor no me sea indiferente, Que la reseca muerte no me encuentre Vaco y solo sin haber hecho lo suficiente. Slo le pido a Dios Que lo injusto no me sea indiferente, Que no me abofeteen la otra mejilla Despus que una garra me ara esta suerte. Slo le pido a Dios Que la guerra no me sea indiferente, Es un monstruo grande y pisa fuerte Toda la pobre inocencia de la gente. Slo le pido a Dios Que el engao no me sea indiferente Si un traidor puede ms que unos cuantos, Que esos cuantos no lo olviden fcilmente. Slo le pido a Dios Que el futuro no me sea indiferente, Desahuciado est el que tiene que marchar A vivir una cultura diferente.