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Local tribes presented themselves as allies and started accompa­ nying him on his march, and Cortes kept his men in order by announcing that any plunderer would be hanged on the spot. Messengers from Montezuma arrived. They carried gold and jewels and his request to the Spaniards that they turn around. Of course the gifts only whetted the Spaniards' appetite for more. ofCholula, only sixty miles from Tenochtithin, Montezuma sent a message begging him to wait. He would himself come out to meet him.

Defeated by these invaders, we have nothing left to hope for: the Indians knew of no other world but their own, and that world had come to an end. They did not even have the desperate last comfort of the Jewish prisoners in German concentration camps who knew that somewhere far away people were fighting for their cause. All of the Americas below the Rio Bravo (the river that is called the Rio Grande in the United States) fell under Spanish occupa­ tion, except for Brazil, which was east of the Pope's dividing line and was conquered by Portugal.

European technology, European diseases, and the vulnerabil­ ity of their political institutions had defeated the Inca state. Its population was undone, in the literal sense of the word, and it was as if its Spanish master had to repeat this undoing in each succeeding generation. The defeat continued through centuries and became an ever heavier burden. For generations, American teachers and their students have learned of the conquest of Peru from a famous book with that title. It was written by a Bostonian, William Prescott, and pub­ lished in 1 868.

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