Tortillas: A Cultural History

There had been a discussion in class of how Mexican people nowadays consider themselves independent of indigenous people and how indigenous culture reflects more of the past than it does the present. Though there is still a population of individuals embracing their indigeneity and living by their unique values, they can often be looked down upon or taken advantage of due to living in poverty. In Tortillas: A Cultural History, author Paula E. Morton illustrates how the Spanish had conquered Tenochtitlán and how life under their rule impacted the Aztec people.

 “Stone by stone, plot by plot, the Spaniards dismantled the heart of the Aztec world, Tenochtitlán, and on top of the ruins built the capital of New Spain, Mexico City. Within three years Spanish bakers baked wheat bread in brick ovens and swine roamed the street… For the diminished Aztec population, most of whom died or fled, their prized city was no longer home, forced by the foreigners to adapt to new food, religion, politics and economics based around an alien language.” (39-40)

It makes sense why many people leave the culture of the Aztecs behind as a thing of the past even though they themselves harbor indigenous blood. In the short time span of three years, the Spanish was able to dominate the Aztec people and demand for a change in their tradition and lifestyle. The Europeans, with a large range of domesticated animals and livestock and their technology, represent a type of societal progression that once enacted is impossible to go back on. Suddenly, living as an Aztec would seemed to be going backwards. Presently, indigenous people still live in poverty though they have successfully fought for rights to maintain their language and culture. Holding onto these steadfast way of life, they prove that their values hadn’t died off but are still very much alive today.


Work Cited:

Morton, Paula E. Tortillas: a Cultural History. University of New Mexico Press, 2014.

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