Mexico Trek!   Trekkers DISPATCH: September 2 Team Log

La Malinche — Traitor to her people, or survivor?

There lived among the Aztecs a woman named Malinali also known as Malintzin. She was a princess in one of the small parts of the Aztec Empire. Her father sold her as a slave to some traders who sold her on to someone else. She ended up living with another tribe of people, the Mayans. There she lived for several years and learned their language.

La MalincheWhen a group of Spaniards arrived in their village, some of the first to ever come from Europe, she was given to them as a gift. She found that one of the men, named Gonzalo, had lived with another group of Mayans and so he knew how to speak Mayan and Spanish. The leader of the Spaniards, Hernan Cortes, was thus able to speak with the Aztec people. Cortes would speak Spanish to Gonzalo who would speak with Malinali in Mayan, and Malinali would speak in the Aztec language to the Aztecs. Malinali was so smart she quickly learned Spanish and Cortez no longer had to use Gonzalo.

Malinali is VERY famous today in Mexico — she is known as La Malinche. Cortez went on to conquer the entire Aztec nation and largely destroy everything about them — their history, their language, their religion, everything. La Malinche helped him do this by being his translator. She even married him and had two of his children.

So La Malinche is generally viewed very negatively, as a traitor who turned against her own people and helped in their destruction. BUT, remember how the Aztecs treated her?

What is your opinion of La Malinche? What should she have done? What would YOU have done if you were a slave, then someone very powerful came and "rescued" you? Go to the Message Board on the Trek Connect page and share your opinion!

Related Dispatches: 
Monica - Tlatelolco, the death of the Aztec Empire & the Birth of Mexico
Silvia - Meet Liliana, soccer player, Aztec expert, 14 years old!
Shawn - A Report from the Battlefield
Team - Three Conquest Stories - You decide how they end!


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