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Encyclopedia > La Malinche
La Malinche and Hernan Cortés in the city of Xaltelolco, in a drawing from the late 16th century codex History of Tlaxcala.
La Malinche and Hernan Cortés in the city of Xaltelolco, in a drawing from the late 16th century codex History of Tlaxcala.

La Malinche (c.1496 – c.1529, some sources give 1550), known also as Malintzin and Doña Marina, was an Indigenous woman (almost certainly Nahua) from the Mexican Gulf Coast, who accompanied Hernán Cortés and played an active and powerful role in the Spanish conquest of Mexico, acting as interpreter, advisor and intermediary. She was also a mistress to Cortés and bore him a son, who is considered one of the first Mestizos (people of mixed European and indigenous American ancestry). In Mexico today, La Malinche remains iconically potent, seen in various and often conflicting aspects, including the embodiment of treachery, the quintessential victim, or simply as symbolic mother of the new Mexican people. She is often referred to by the pejorative term "La Chingada". For additional meanings, see Matlalcueitl and La Malinche. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (2741x2225, 1437 KB) de:Die Eroberung Mexikos: La Malinche und Hernán Cortés Altmexikanische Bilderhandschrift der Tlaxcalteken aus dem 16. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (2741x2225, 1437 KB) de:Die Eroberung Mexikos: La Malinche und Hernán Cortés Altmexikanische Bilderhandschrift der Tlaxcalteken aus dem 16. ... Hernán Cortés Hernán Cortés, marqués del Valle de Oaxaca (1485–December 2, 1547) (who was known as Hernando or Fernando Cortés during his lifetime and signed all his letters Fernán Cortés) was the conquistador who conquered Mexico for Spain. ... Aztec codices (singular codex) are books written by pre-Columbian and Spanish colonial era Aztecs. ... Hernan Cortés and La Malinche in the city of Tlatelolco, in a drawing from the History of Tlaxcala History of Tlaxcala is an illustrated codex written by and under the supervision of Diego Muñoz Camargo in the years leading up to 1585. ... 1496 was a leap year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Events April 22 - Treaty of Saragossa divides the eastern hemisphere between Spain and Portugal, stipulating that the dividing line should lie 297. ... Events February 7 - Julius III becomes Pope. ... The Nahua are a group of indigenous peoples of Mexico. ... Gulf of Mexico in 3D perspective. ... Hernán(do) Cortés Pizarro, 1st Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca (1485–December 2, 1547) was the conquistador who became famous for leading the military expedition that initiated the Spanish Conquest of Mexico. ... Madame de Pompadour the mistress of King Louis XV of France. ... Mestizo (Brazil Portuguese. ... The European peoples are the various nations and ethnic groups of Europe. ... A Hupa man, 1923 The term indigenous peoples of the Americas encompasses the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European explorers in the 15th century, as well as many present-day ethnic groups who identify themselves with those historical peoples. ... Spanish profanity is the assortment of words considered blasphemous or sacrilegious in the Spanish language. ...

Contents

Life

Origins

There is little sure information regarding Malinche's background. Most of what is reported about her early life comes through the reports of Cortés' "official" biographer (Francisco López de Gómara), and some of Cortés' contemporary conquistadores, such as Andrés de Tapia and (most importantly) Bernal Díaz del Castillo, whose vibrant chronicles Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva España relate much of what is known. His version of her origin is a colorful story that seems far too romantic to be entirely credible, yet there is no evidence to the contrary. Francisco López de Gómara (1511?-1566?) was a Spanish historian at Seville, who is particularly noted for his works in which he described the early 16th century expedition undertaken by Hernándo Cortés in the Spanish conquest of the New World. ... Conquistadors (Spanish: []) (English: Conqueror) were Spanish soldiers, explorers and adventurers who invaded and conquered much of the Americas and Asia Pacific, bringing them under Spanish colonial rule between the 15th and 19th centuries, starting with the 1492 settlement by Christopher Columbus in what is now the Dominican Republic and Haiti. ... Bernal Díaz del Castillo (1492 or 1493 - 1581) was a conquistador, who wrote an eyewitness account of the conquest of Mexico under Hernán Cortés. ... The Conquest of New Spain is the first person conquistador narrative of Bernal Díaz del Castillo (1492 or 1493 - 1581), a 16th century soldier, settler and conqueror who served with Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, Juan de Grijalva and Hernán Cortés in Mexico and Yucatan, and...


According to Díaz, Malinche was the noble first-born child of the lord of Paynala (near present-day Coatzacoalcos, then a "frontier" region between the Aztec Empire and the Maya states of the Yucatán Peninsula). In her youth, her father died and her mother remarried and bore a son. Now an inconvenient stepchild, the girl was sold or given to Maya slave-traders from Xicalango, an important commercial town further south and east along the coast. Díaz claims Malinche's family faked her death by telling the townspeople that a recently deceased child of a slave was Malinche. At some point, she was given or sold again, and was taken to Potonchan, where she was ultimately given to the Spaniards. Coatzacoalcos stands on the Gulf coast of the Isthmus de Tehuantepec Coatzacoalcos is a major port city in the southern part of the Mexican state of Veracruz, on the Coatzacoalcos River. ... The Aztecs is a term used for certain Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peoples of Mexico. ... this article concerns in particular the contemporary indigenous peoples and cultures who descend from, or remain, speakers of the Mayan languages of southern Mesoamerica. ... The Yucatán peninsula as seen from space The Yucatán Peninsula separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico. ...


The Conquest of Mexico

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Malinche was introduced to the Spanish in April 1519, when she was among twenty slave women given by the Chontal Maya of Potonchan (in the present-day state of Tabasco) to the triumphant Spaniards. Her age at the time is unknown, however assumptions have been made of her being in her twenties, as well as of the likelihood that she was striking in appearance. It is suggestive of her appeal that Cortés singled her out as a gift for Alonzo Hernando Puertocarrero, perhaps the most well-born member of the expedition. Soon, however, Puertocarrero was on his way to Spain as Cortés' emissary to Charles V, and Cortés decided she was too valuable or attractive to be left in the care of anyone but himself. Events March 4 - Hernán Cortés lands in Mexico. ... For the group of Tequistlatecan languages spoken in Oaxaca, please see Chontal languages. ... Tabasco is a state in Mexico. ... For the Carlist claimant King Carlos V, see Infante Carlos, Count of Molina. ...


According to surviving indigenous and Spanish sources, within several weeks, the young woman had begun acting as interpreter - translating between the Nahuatl language (the lingua franca of central Mexico) and the Chontal Maya language. The Spanish priest Gerónimo de Aguilar understood the Mayan language, because he had spent several years in captivity among the Maya peoples in Yucatán following a shipwreck. Cortés used Malinche and Aguilar to interpret until La Malinche learned Spanish and could be used as the sole interpreter. Nahuatl ( [1] is a term applied to a group of related languages and dialects of the Aztecan [2] branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family, indigenous to central Mexico. ... Lingua franca, literally Frankish language in Italian, was originally a mixed language consisting largely of Italian plus a vocabulary drawn from Turkish, Persian, French, Greek and Arabic and used for communication throughout the Middle East. ... Yoko ochoco, also known as Chontal Maya, and Acalan, is a Maya language of the Cholan family spoken by the Chontal people of Tabasco, Mexico. ... Gerónimo de Aguilar (1489-1531) was a Franciscan friar born in Seville. ... this article concerns in particular the contemporary indigenous peoples and cultures who descend from, or remain, speakers of the Mayan languages of southern Mesoamerica. ...


By the end of the year, when the Spaniards had installed themselves in the Mexican capital Tenochtitlan, it is apparent that the woman, now called "Malintzin" by the Indians, had learned enough Spanish to interpret directly between Cortés and the Aztecs. The Indians, significantly, also call Cortés "Malintzin," an indication, perhaps, of how closely connected they had become. Tenochtitlan, looking east. ... The Aztecs is a term used for certain Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peoples of Mexico. ...


According to surviving records, Malinche learned of several plans by natives to destroy the small Spanish army, and she alerted Cortés of the danger and even played along with the natives in order to lead them into traps.


Following the fall of Tenochtitlan in late 1521 and the birth of her son Don Martín Cortés in 1522, Malinche disappears from the record until Cortés' nearly disastrous Honduran expedition of 152426 when she is seen serving again as interpreter (suggestive of a knowledge of Maya dialects beyond Chontal and Yucatecan.) While in the forests of central Yucatán, she married Juan Jaramillo, a Spanish gentleman, with whom she had a daughter (also named Marina) around 1526 or 1527. Little or nothing more is known about her after this, even the year of her death, 1529, being somewhat in dispute. Some sources give the date 1551. Events January 3 - Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther in the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem. ... Hernán Cortés, the conquistador who brought the Aztec Empire under the sway of the Spanish crown, named two of his sons Martín Cortés (presumably after his own father). ... Events January 9 - Adrian Dedens becomes Pope Adrian VI. February 26 - Execution by hanging of Cuauhtémoc, Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlan under orders of conquistador Hernán Cortés. ... Events March 1, 1524/5 - Giovanni da Verrazano lands near Cape Fear (approx. ... January 14 - Treaty of Madrid. ... Yucatán is the name of one of the 31 states of Mexico, located on the north of the Yucatán Peninsula. ... Events April 22 - Treaty of Saragossa divides the eastern hemisphere between Spain and Portugal, stipulating that the dividing line should lie 297. ... Year 1551 was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. ...


Role of La Malinche in the Conquest of Mexico

For the conquistadores, having a reliable translator was important enough, but there is evidence that Malinche's role and influence were larger still. Bernal Díaz del Castillo, a soldier who, as an old man, produced the most comprehensive of the eye-witness accounts, the Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva España ("True Story of the Conquest of New Spain"), speaks repeatedly and reverentially of the "great lady" Doña Marina (always using the honorific, "Doña"). "Without the help of Doña Marina," he writes, "we would not have understood the language of New Spain and Mexico." Rodríguez de Ocana, another conquistador, relates Cortés' assertion that after God, Marina was the main reason for his success. Conquistadors (Spanish: []) (English: Conqueror) were Spanish soldiers, explorers and adventurers who invaded and conquered much of the Americas and Asia Pacific, bringing them under Spanish colonial rule between the 15th and 19th centuries, starting with the 1492 settlement by Christopher Columbus in what is now the Dominican Republic and Haiti. ... Bernal Díaz del Castillo (1492 or 1493 - 1581) was a conquistador, who wrote an eyewitness account of the conquest of Mexico under Hernán Cortés. ...


The evidence from indigenous sources is even more interesting, both in the commentaries about her role, and in her prominence in the drawings made of conquest events. In the Lienzo de Tlaxcala (History of Tlaxcala), for example, not only is Cortés rarely portrayed without Malinche poised by his ear, but she is shown at times on her own, seemingly directing events as an independent authority. If she had been trained for court life, as in Díaz's account, her loyalty to Cortés may have been dictated by the familiar pattern of marriage among native elite classes. In the role of primary wife acquired through an alliance, her role would have been to assist her husband achieve his military and diplomatic objectives. Hernan Cortés and La Malinche in the city of Tlatelolco, in a drawing from the History of Tlaxcala History of Tlaxcala is an illustrated codex written by and under the supervision of Diego Muñoz Camargo in the years leading up to 1585. ...


Origin of the name "La Malinche"

The many uncertainties which surround Malinche's role in the Spanish conquest begin with her name itself. Her birth name is not known. Before the twenty slave girls were distributed among the Spanish captains for their pleasure in "grinding corn", Cortés insisted that they be baptized, and it was here that the woman was given the Spanish name "Marina". We know that the Nahuas later call her "Malintzin". We do not know whether "Marina" was chosen because of a phonetic resemblance to her actual name, or chosen randomly from among common Spanish names of the time. "Malinche" is almost certainly a Spanish corruption of "Malintzin," which itself probably results from a Nahua mispronunciation of "Marina" plus the reverential "-tzin" suffix. A possible reading of her name as "Mãlin-tzin" can be translated as "Noble Prisoner/Captive" - a reasonable possibility, given her noble birth and her initial relationship to the Cortés expedition. This proposal suggests that the origin language of her name was Nahuatl, and that perhaps "Marina" was a Spanish approximation of "Mãlin-." There is a widely-held but unsubstantiated explanation for her name which starts with the Nahua word "Malinalli", a bad-luck daysign whose root meaning has something to do with a kind of grass (Nahua men—but less so women—were often named for their day-signs). If true, Mallinalli could be translated as "One Reed", a reference to the coming of Quetzacoatl, the mythical Armageddon when Aztec civilization was supposed to end due to his divine wrath. The similarity between "Malinalli" and "Malintzin" has led to the notion that "Malinalli" might have been her original name; there is, however, nothing but the phonetic coincidence to support it.


The word malinchismo is used by modern-day Mexicans to identify countrymen who betray their race and country; those who mix their blood and culture with European or other outside influences. This attitude toward her is arguably short-sighted, though understandable. Many historians believe that La Malinche saved her people: that without someone who was not only a fluent translator but who also advised both sides of the negotiations, the Spanish would have been far more violent and destructive in their conquest. The Aztec empire was destroyed, but the Aztec people, their language, and much of their history and culture weren't completely destroyed. The Aztecs is a term used for certain Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peoples of Mexico. ... The Aztecs is a term used for certain Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peoples of Mexico. ...


La Malinche's figure in contemporary Mexico

La Malinche's image has become a mythical archetype that Latin American artists have represented in various forms of art. Her figure permeates historical, cultural, and social dimensions of Latin American cultures. In modern times and in several genres, she is compared with the figure of the Virgin Mary, La Llorona (folklore story of the weeping woman) and with the Mexican soldaderas (women who fought beside men during the Mexican Revolution) for their brave actions. For other uses, see Archetype (disambiguation). ... Latin America consists of the countries of South America and some of North America (including Central America and some the islands of the Caribbean) whose inhabitants mostly speak Romance languages, although Native American languages are also spoken. ... Saint Mary and Saint Mary the Virgin both redirect here. ... For the 2004 film, see La Llorona (film). ... This article is about the Mexican Revolution of 1910. ...


Finally, one must understand that La Malinche's legacy is one of myth mixed with legend, and the opposing opinions of the Mexican people about the woman. Many see her as the founding figure of the Mexican race. Others, however, see her as the traitoress of the race, as this may be seen from her pseudonym La Chingada.

Virginia Zurí as "La Malinche" in a 1933 Mexican motion picture, La Llorona
Virginia Zurí as "La Malinche" in a 1933 Mexican motion picture, La Llorona

La Llorona: Virginia Zurí as La Malinche in a 1933 Mexican film. ... La Llorona: Virginia Zurí as La Malinche in a 1933 Mexican film. ... Year 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For the 2004 film, see La Llorona (film). ...

In literature

La Malinche is the main protagonist in such works as the novel Feathered Serpent: A Novel of the Mexican Conquest by Colin Falconer. In stark contrast, she is portrayed as a scheming, duplicitous traitor in Gary Jennings' novel Aztec. More recently she has been the focus in Malinche's Conquest by Ana Lanyon, a non-fiction account of the author's research into the historical and mythic woman who was Malinche. A novel published in 2006 by Laura Esquivel casts the Nahua, Malinalli, as one of history's pawns who becomes Malinche (the novel's title) a woman "trapped between the Mexican civilization and the invading Spaniards, and unveils a literary view of the legendary love affair". She appears as a true Christian and protector of her fellow native Mexicans in the novel Tlaloc weeps for Mexico by László Passuth. Image File history File links Gnome_globe_current_event. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Colin Falconer (born Colin Bowles in North London, 1953) is a British author who wrote Rough Justice, Venom, Fury and Harem. ... Gary Jennings (September 20, 1928 – February 13, 1999) was a U.S. author who wrote children and adult novels. ... Aztec is a historical fiction novel by Gary Jennings. ... Laura Esquivel (born September 30, 1950) is a Mexican author. ...


La Malinche, in the name Marina ("for her Indian name is too long to be written"), also appears in the adventure novel Montezuma's Daughter, by H. Rider Haggard. First appearing in Chapter XIII, she saves the protagonist from sacrifice and torture. This article needs to be wikified. ... H. Rider Haggard, author Sir Henry Rider Haggard (June 22, 1856 – May 14, 1925), born in Norfolk, England, was a Victorian writer of adventure novels set in locations considered exotic by readers in his native England. ...


In the fictional Star Trek universe, a starship, the USS Malinche was named for La Malinche. This was done by Hans Beimler, a native of Mexico City, who together with friend Robert Hewitt Wolfe later wrote a screenplay based on La Malinche called The Serpent and the Eagle. The screenplay was optioned by Ron Howard and Imagine Films and is currently under development at Paramount Pictures. The current Star Trek franchise logo Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment series and media franchise. ... Hans Beimler is a German Jew who grew up in Mexico and is best known for his writing work on the Star Trek franchise, particularly Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. ... Nickname: Motto: Ciudad en movimiento Location of Mexico City in south central Mexico Coordinates: , Country Federal entity Boroughs The 16 delegaciones Founded c. ... Robert Hewitt Wolfe is an American television producer and scriptwriter. ... For other people named Ron Howard, see Ronald Howard. ... Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American motion picture production and distribution company, based in Hollywood, California. ...


Octavio Paz addresses the issue of La Malinche's role as the mother of Mexican culture in The Labyrinth of Solitude. He uses her relation to Cortés symbolically to represent Mexican culture as originating from rape and violation. He uses the analogy that she essentially helped Cortés take over and destroy the Aztec culture by submitting herself to him. His claim summarizes a major theme in the book, claiming that Mexican culture is a labyrinth. Octavio Paz, Mexican writer, poet, diplomat, and 1990 Nobel Prize winner for literature Octavio Paz Lozano (March 31, 1914 – April 19, 1998) was a Mexican writer, poet, and diplomat, and the winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize in Literature. ... The Labyrinth of Solitude (Spanish: El Laberinto de la soledad) is an essay, published in 1950, written by the Mexican author and poet, Octavio Paz. ...


In the animated television series The Mysterious Cities of Gold, which chronicles the adventures of a Spanish boy named Esteban as he and his companions travel throughout South America in 1532 to seek the lost city of El Dorado, a woman called "Marinche," accompanied by a Doctor Fernando LaGuerra, becomes a dangerous adversary. The series was originally produced in Japan, and when translated into English, the name the Japanese had rendered as "Ma-ri-n-chi-e" was transliterated into "Marinche." “Cities of Gold” redirects here. ... El Dorado or Eldorado (Spanish for the gilded one) is a legend that began with the story of a South American tribal chief who covered himself with gold dust and would dive into a lake of pure mountain water. ...


This incarnation of La Malinche meets her end, along with the Doctor and their hulking Mayan bodyguard, when the three are caught in a rockslide triggered by the activation of a long-dormant war machine built by the techologically-advanced Olmecs. Olmec stone head The Olmec were an ancient people living in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, roughly what would now be the Veracruz and Tabasco regions of the Mexican isthmus. ...


See also

Hernán Cortés Hernán(do) Cortés, marqués del Valle de Oaxaca (1485–December 2, 1547) was the conquistador who conquered Mexico for Spain. ... Gerónimo de Aguilar (1489-1531) was a Franciscan friar born in Seville. ... Mexico is a country of North America and the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. ... Aztec empire The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire was one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of America. ...

External links

  • Hernando Cortes on the Web : Malinche / Doña Marina (resources)
  • "Reinterpreting Malinche" by John Taylor, Ex Post Facto (2000)

References

  • Traditions and Encounters - A Global Perspective on the Past by Bentley and Ziegler.

  Results from FactBites:
 
La Malinche, La Chingada (1679 words)
Díaz claims Malinche's family faked her death by telling the townspeople that a recently deceased child of a slave was Malinche.
Virginia Zurí as "La Malinche" in a 1933 Mexican motion picture, La Llorona Virginia Zurí as "La Malinche" in a 1933 Mexican motion picture, La Llorona [edit] In literature La Malinche is the main protagonist in such works as the novel Feathered Serpent: A Novel of the Mexican Conquest by Colin Falconer.
La Malinche, in the name Marina ("for her Indian name is too long to be written"), also appears in the adventure novel Montezuma's Daughter, by H. Rider Haggard.
La Malinche (article) (748 words)
La Malinche, who took part in the Spanish conquest and gave birth to one of Cortes' children, has become a symbol of a nation that is still not entirely comfortable with either its European or its Indian roots.
La Malinche is present in the murals of Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco.
But even though Mexican and Mexican-American intellectuals have begun to rethink her meaning, La Malinche is for the most part portrayed as the perpetrator of Mexico's original sin and as a cultural metaphor for all that is wrong with Mexico.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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