Was the conquest of the Aztec Empire morally justified?

Oct 2013
4,574
Canada
#31
Can't justify it just because the vanquished has intolerable aspects. While the Aztecs had human sacrifices, they are also not a monolithic identity that only have human sacrifices. They, like everyone else, was an entire culture. The human sacrifices is just one aspect of their culture, in addition to pyramids, agriculture, chocolate, festivities, government, etc...

If I were to justify Chinese domination of Tibet in the same manner some people justify Cortes, I'd just cite the worst examples of Tibet and pretend nothing else existed in their entire history. I'd just say there was serfdom in Tibet and nothing else. Ending serfdom is justifiable but it isn't that simple. The ending of serfdom in Tibet is part of a much larger political shift that ended up with apparently thousands of monasteries destroyed. Likewise, the fall of the Aztecs was more complex than an end to the worst aspects of Aztec culture.
 
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Jan 2015
3,538
Australia
#32
Can't justify it just because the vanquished has intolerable aspects. While the Aztecs had human sacrifices, they are also not a monolithic identity that only have human sacrifices. They, like everyone else, was an entire culture. The human sacrifices is just one aspect of their culture, in addition to pyramids, agriculture, chocolate, festivities, government, etc...

If I were to justify Chinese domination of Tibet in the same manner some people justify Cortes, I'd just cite the worst examples of Tibet and pretend nothing else existed in their entire history. I'd just say there was serfdom in Tibet and nothing else. Ending serfdom is justifiable but it isn't that simple. The ending of serfdom in Tibet is part of a much larger political shift that ended up with apparently thousands of monasteries destroyed. Likewise, the fall of the Aztecs was more complex than an end to the worst aspects of Aztec culture.
It depends how backwards the society replaced was. South America is more arguable. Gaul? Not so much.
 
May 2011
13,981
Navan, Ireland
#33
powerful people always subdue the weak ones, romans once conquered weaker european barbarians, same barbarians then decimated roman empire. greeks conquered anatolia and persia, same anatolia then paid back by decimating and enslaving greeks for hundreds of years so much so that the present greeks are confused with the turks. same portugese and Spaniards who decimated the aztecs were themselves ruled over for thousands of years starting with the Greek/Phoenician colonies and ending up with moorish spain who left it just a little more than five hundred years ago.

But rest of the history aside, the killings/massacres and the mass extermination and purge which were carried out by bible inspired catholic and racial colonists has no equal in the world, muslims are very much demonized but it were the muslims who spared the lives of ruthless crusaders who had butchered people ruthlessly, same goes to the moors who captured spain but never butchered its people, the bible inspired people just exterminated and plundered and looted unlike anything else the world had ever seen before. even the mongols were better. i think the legacy of western european crusaders/colonists was partially inspired by roman ideals of butchering people. these spaniards even plundered the ruins of pompeii or so i have heard, philipinos cry day and night for eliminating their pre colonial legacy by destroying every bit of artifacts which was pre colonial, similarly the books and manuscripts of the aztecs were ruthlessly burned for pagan garbage, hence the mexicans demanding apology from spain for their ruthless and uncontrolled bible inspired behaviour.

i think what motivated the colonists to behave such devilishly was the combination of racial and religious superiority complex, churchil even publicly admitted that he considered hindu religion as ugly/demonic or something, not to mention his views on euro aryan racial supremacy.

regards
So basically you don't like Christians and condemn their 'butchering' and 'violence' but are quite comfortable if the butchering and violence is done by Muslims, Hindu's and any one non-Christian?
 
May 2011
13,981
Navan, Ireland
#34
It can only be morally justified by judging it by the morals of the day-- was Imperialism and conquest considered to be wrong in the 1500's? not that I can see.
 
May 2011
13,981
Navan, Ireland
#37
im not against christians or christianity, im against the actions of bigot christian colonists esp from western europe esp catholics.

regards
Sorry that's not really how your rather rambling post read, phrases such as

............But rest of the history aside, the killings/massacres and the mass extermination and purge which were carried out by bible inspired catholic and racial colonists has no equal in the world,....

..............................the bible inspired people just exterminated and plundered and looted unlike anything else the world had ever seen before. even the mongols were better..................
would suggest otherwise.

You then ramble on about supposedly peaceful Islam, 'moderate' Mongols and jump around blaming the 'west, from everything from the destruction of Pompeii to Churchill's supposed views.

To associate the conquistadors with Churchill is quite a stretch.
 
May 2018
821
Michigan
#38
So, recently I was reading a thread on this forum asking the question of whether Hernan Cortes was a psychopath. And whilst reading it, I was surprised by how many people seemed to view his actions as legitimate due to the conduct of the Aztecs - both towards their own people via human sacrifice and their belligerence towards their neighbours.
But I'd like to see how people at large view this issue. Did the behaviour of the Aztec Empire justify Cortes' (And the other peoples he aligned with) actions?

For myself, I cannot agree that it was. From a pragmatic standpoint, I can understand that Cortes found himself in an advantageous position in which he could become fabulously wealthy, and can understand his reasoning. But when one considers the beautiful art the Aztec Empire left behind, their architecture, their theology, even their unique means of farming on the waterways, I do feel pity for what became of them, and feel it is a shame they lost so much. But I am sure people will have their own opinions on the matter.
It's a case where I'm not really cheering for one side or the other. The Aztecs were just as much Conquistadors as the Conquistadors themselves.

Unlike the British and Roman Empires, Spain didn't leave us the culture, philosophy and science that built the Enlightenment, the US, Canada, Australia or India. They left South America with "Dictator of the Month", or worse.

An Aztec Empire was unlikely to have had a much more positive legacy than Spain. They conquered and enslaved their neighbors and practiced oppression on the same level as the Spanish Inquisition.
 
May 2018
821
Michigan
#40
And then a might makes a right or Spanish superior technology to Indian one BUT which was more than matched by resources as numbers of fighters. Sorry, I don't see anything immoral if few hundred of crazy guys invade an empire of many millions with six numbers of warriors and MANUALLY fight and conquer them. You know, they were not dropping a-bombs but fighting with swords and with few cannons and horses.
This I would disagree with: if a grossly amoral regime such as that of Saddam Hussein or the Aztecs is removed, who cares what technological advantage the "liberators" had? A liberated nation, free from human sacrifice or being gassed, is a liberated nation, regardless if soldiers like myself were directed by a general on the field or via telecom from the Pentagon.

However, Cortez military success is quite impressive, even considering there was an Aztec Civil War just preceeding the Spanish invasion. This Civil War was on the level of the ACW or the Caesar/Pompey Civil War. The Aztecs had a very advanced military system in terms of organization: I'd even say they were comparable to the Roman Empire in that regard. Their weapons, however, were far less advanced than the Spanish.