This semester the Georgian Court University History Club and chapter of Phi Alpha Theta have organized a community event to talk about the legacies of the Spanish arrival in, and subsequent attack upon, Tenochtitlan in the early sixteenth century. Five hundred years ago this month, the Cortés expedition left Cuba without official permission in search of new conquests. Eventually, this leader and thousands of Indigenous fighters brought about the collapse of the Aztec Empire. We will focus on 1519 and its consequences for people of Indigenous, African, and European ancestry in North America.
Our panel represents a collaboration across disciplines and groups within the university. Two officers from the History Club, William Donahue and Kiyomi Locker, will facilitate and pose questions. Kiyomi Locker, a History major interested in Mesoamerican art, will give a long-term view of the conquest focusing on what it meant for the Nahuas and other Indigenous peoples, and what it means to Native Americans today. I will ask the audience and panelists to consider the roles Black conquistadors took in the process of early colonization. Professor Jaime Rivera (World Languages and Literature) will discuss the symbolism of conquest in Mexican literature, attitudes, and popular culture. A nursing major and representative from Student Government and Latin American Students Organization, Cristian Mendoza, will share some experiences and thoughts about mestizo identity and what it means in Mexico and the U.S. Finally, we will leave plenty of time for open discussion and reflection upon this process and how we remember it today.