Conquistadors: The Fall of the Aztecs
|World History > Age of Exploration > Age of Exploration Books and Films|
Release date: 2000
Length: 56 minutes
Age appropriateness: This documentary television series is not rated in the United States. It is safe viewing for students in grades seven through twelve.
Creators and stars: David Wallace, John Collee, Michael Wood, PBS, BBC
Accuracy: This film is excellently researched by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). "Conquistadors: The Fall of the Aztecs" is the first episode in a four-part series. It features Michael Wood retracing the route of Hernan Cortes through modern Mexico, along with fascinating commentary and splices of historical images.
Review: "Conquistadors: The Fall of the Aztecs" is a terrific documentary film. It is most appropriate for mature high school students, since younger kids may easily get confused by the mixture of Michael Wood's modern journey through Mexico and the historical journey of Hernan Cortes. (Picture a seventh-grader asking, "Did they have trains back then?")
Review and discussion questions: (1) Describe the background of Hernan Cortes. (2) When did Hernan Cortes sail to Mexico? (3) Summarize the legend of Quetzalcoatl. (4) Describe the trek of the Spanish conquistadors through Mexico. (5) What happened after Cortes took Montezuma prisoner? (6) Imagine that you are an Aztec living in Tenochtitlan at this time. What would you think of the Spaniards? Explain your answer.
Vocabulary terms: Aztecs, Bernal Diaz del Castillo, Bernardino de Sahagun, brutality, Conquest, conquistador, empire, expedition, gold, greed, Gulf of Mexico, Hernan Cortes, human sacrifice, La Malinche, Mexico, Montezuma, Nahuatl, New World, obsidian, Old World, Quetzalcoatl, Spain, Tenochtitlan, Tlaxcala, tribute, warriors, Yucatan
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"Conquistadors: The Fall of the Aztecs" Documentary Film Review Publication Date for Citation Purposes: June 4, 2012