Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2021

Department 1



The various individual methods utilized by Hernán Cortés have been previously documented by multiple scholars. However, while the “tools” Cortés used—such as a reliance on legal precedent and religious allusions in the tradition of conquest rhetoric—to craft his narrative have been dissected, the use of those tools to create a narrative in letter format has not been discussed as much if at all by these scholars. While Cortés utilized previously established literary devices to prove his loyalty, his narrative was only as effective as it was because of his decision to place it in a literary format. This gave Cortés the narrative freedom and personal correspondence with the king, and the public, that made his letters a truly convincing personal narrative. Furthermore, the use of letters as a format allowed Cortes to tap into the network of letter writing that already existed in Europe to bring his story to many people across the continent.


Written for HIST 428: Letters and Letter Writing

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Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
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