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New Spain was a world splintered by indio habits of belief and identity, and Catholic Spain’s genocidal new empire

As ten-year-old Diego Duran and his indio friends explored Moctezuma’s shattered capital, he learned something that few of his fellow Spaniards understood: Everything that the defeated natives performed still had religious import.  

Fifty years after Hernan Cortes had destroyed the Mejica Empire, the Indians of “New Spain” were psychologically sundered by the contradictory demands of two competing religions: Spain’s “Inquisitional” Catholicism versus the ancient ”heathen” Indian beliefs.

They were spiritually “frozen” in the rituals and customs of their race – a world view that shaped every response to life – yet aware that the leaders, gods, warriors and traditions of their culture had proven inadequate in protecting them from the savagery and slavery of the Spanish.  

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