The Night of Sorrows
There is a lot going on in this image. As a consequence of the fighting that broke out after Pedro de Alvarado and other Spaniards massacred many Mexicas while they were celebrating, the Spaniards with Malinche and Tlaxcalans are trapped in their headquarters. They will have to fight their way out and suffer an enormous defeat when they do so. Note the representationof the cannon, which is aimed at nothing, symbolizing its failure in these circumstances. Also note the picture of the Virgin Mary and the cross. The Mexicas were extremely upset about the way Cortés tried to force them to practice Catholicism against their will. Also note the Mexicas fighting in animal skins, a feature in many images featuring combat.
Make some observations about what is included in the image:
Who can you identify?
Where are they located in the image?
How are they dressed?
What kind of military action do you see?
What is the center of this image?
Ask yourself some questions about what you see in the image:
What is the story being told in this image?
What are the similarities between this story and what you just read on the previous page?
What are the differences between this story and what you just read?
How do you account for the differences in the various stories?
Write your own interpretation of what you think happened during the conflict that developed after the massacre at the festival based on the evidence.