Thursday, March 18, 2010

First Words (25)

"I. Bernal Díaz del Castillo, citizen and Regidor of the most loyal city of Santiago de Guatemala, one of the first discoverers and conquerors of New Spain and its provinces, and the Cape of Honduras and all that lies within that land, a Native of the very noble and distinguished town of Medina del Campo, and the son of its former Regidor, Francisco Díaz del Castillo, also known as the Courteous, and his legal wife Maria Diez Rejon (may their souls rest in glory), tell you the story of myself and my comrades; all true conquerors, who served His Majesty in the discovery, conquest, pacification and settlement of the provinces of New Spain; one of the finest countries yet discovered in the New World, this expedition being undertaken by our own efforts, without His Majesty's knowledge."

Bernal Díaz de Castillo, The Conquest of New Spain (Begun in 1568)

Díaz died on his encomienda in the environs of La Antigua Guatemala in 1585 aged 93, the last survivor of the assault on Tenochtitlán, slightly embittered with Cortes that he had little more wealth and status to bequeathe than that already in his possession when he departed Spain.

Nevertheless, Rudy tells me that his estates in Antigua included the land upon which now sit V's old junior school Santa Familia and the ruins of the old Jesuit HQ (La Compañia de Jesus).

A friend and neighbour of ours is a bearer of the illustrious Castillo surname, now most closely associated with the brewing of nuestra cerveza...hence the little castillos on the neck of every bottle of Gallo.

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