A girl who fought actual battles alongside professional soldiers (just like Joan of Arc), but more importantly used her wits and great intelligence to help conquer an entire empire!

In 1519, Hernan Cortes conquered Mexico, which was ruled by the Aztecs, and at that time had at least a million subjects, but Cortes had only 500 men and a few horses and cannon.

What was his secret

A 17 year old slave girl named Malinche.

A young girl was born in 1502, named Malinalli (Grass for the day). She was born to an Aztec noble family. When her father died, her mother remarried and had a son with her new husband. Her own mother then sold her into slavery, because she wanted the boy to inherit the power & wealth of the family.

In 1519, Hernan Cortes landed in what is now called Mexico, which was part of the Aztec Empire, and began the conquest of the territory for Spain. In an early battle, he was given Malinalli and 19 other slave girls as tribute by the Indians at Tabasco. The Spanish baptized the girls and gave them Christian names. Malinalli was named Marina, to which the Spanish soldiers added Dona, so they called her Dona Marina.

She became Cortes’ key to the conquest of the Aztecs and all of Mexico by her intelligence, wit, and charm, translating the various dialects into Spanish and tricking the Aztec Emperor Montezuma into believing Cortes was the returning god Quetzalcoatl or Feathered Serpent.

When Malinalli spoke for Cortes, the natives considered them as one person: Malinche and added ‘La’ to distinguish between them. Henceforth the natives called her La Malinche.

Until tomorrow: ”You learn far more from negative leadership than from positive leadership. Because you learn how not to do it. And, therefore, you learn how to do it”. Norman Schwarzkopf.


Por: Dorothy Prats