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By Gillian Goddardlecturer, Liverpool Hope University

Encourage children to draw their own conclusions about the Aztec society by using the existing primary source material

Surviving primary source material from the Aztec civilisation is both varied and interesting. In addition to physical evidence, in the form of artefacts and buildings, there are written and pictorial accounts, all of which provide an insight into the lifestyle and beliefs of this fascinating society.

Spanish sources

Documented accounts offer the most detail about the Aztecs, but these are largely one-sided. Bernal Diaz, one of Hernan Cortes’ companions, wrote his own version of the Spanish conquest. His lengthy journalpresents events from the conquistadors’ point of view and contains descriptions of the Aztec way of life. Cortes’ letters to Charles V of Spain also survived, as did his secretary’s biography (see large poster). The Spaniards also produced artists’ impressions, which depict their conquest and the native life of the Aztecs.

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