November 8 of 1519, Moctezuma II, Mexica Tlatoani, the “one who speaks,” leader and emperor, and Hernan Cortes, head of the invading Spanish military force, met on what currently is downtown Mexico City. A memorial plaque marks the site of the meeting alongside a colonial church and the remnants of a hospital. There is a tile picture with a representation of the event. The Spanish conquest of Mexico and the fall of Tenochtitlan is one of the most studied and controversial episodes in the history of Mexico and the Americas. It is a story never settled. Matthew Restall's book is a reexamination of the encounter of leaders of different worlds. It is a story retold many times over. Based on an exhaustive review of the existing evidence, Restall corrects prevailing interpretations, demystifies romanticized narratives, and provides a nuanced reading of the sources. The book appeared just before the five-hundred years commemoration of the event. When Montezuma met Cortes is divided into two parts and eight chapters. The text contains illustrations from codexes, paintings, photos and portraits, cartoons, and pictures from engravings. In all, they exemplify the description and analysis by the author. Restall includes in his commentary, the study of Vivaldi's operatic masterpiece, Montezuma, first performed in Venice in 1733. There is an explanatory appendix clarifying term use and short biographies of the main actors of the Spanish-Aztec War. Copious notes annotate the text.
Arbeláez, Maria S.
"When Montezuma Met Cortes: The True History of the Meetings that Changed History,"
International Dialogue: Vol. 10, Article 11.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/id-journal/vol10/iss1/11