What might you gain or lose by joining the fight?
The Atlantic World, 1492–1800
You are a Native American living in central Mexico in 1520. Suddenly you are faced with a decision that may change your life forever. Invaders, known as the Spanish, are engaged in a fierce battle with the nearby Aztecs, who are cruel and harsh rulers. Like many of your people, you hate the powerful Aztecs and hope for their defeat. The newcomers, however, are equally frightening. They ride on large beasts and fire loud, deadly weapons. You wonder whether you should follow the example of your friends and join the fight, or not fight at all.
1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of not fighting?
2. Which might be the lesser of two evils—supporting the Aztecs, whom you know as oppressors, or the fierce invaders, about whom you know almost nothing?
3. Discuss these questions with your classmates. In your discussion, examine whether invading armies throughout history have made life better or worse for people in the areas they conquer. As you read about colonization in the Americas, learn the outcome of the battle between the Aztecs and the Spanish.