The Daily Telegraph

Song and dance over Spain’s conquistad­ors

- By James Badcock in Madrid

AS the Spanish conquistad­or and his indigenous Mexican lover embrace on stage, the chorus behind them sing of how the couple will march to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitl­an and liberate it.

The musical, Malinche, with songs by Spanish pop star Nacho Cano, premiered last night in Madrid. But Spanish academics say the woman, Malinche, was not the willing girlfriend of Hernán Cortés but a sex slave he took as a spoil of war. They argue that Malinche is another example of Spain’s genocidal campaign in Mexico in the 16th and 17th centuries, atrocities for which the Mexican government is still demanding an apology from Madrid.

“The concept of love can in no way be applied to the sexual relation between Cortés and Malinche,” Izaskun Álvarez, a professor of Latin American History at Salamanca University, said. Malinche was originally a slave and Cortés gave her to one of his fellow soldiers. He then took her back and had a son with her, Martin. She was later freed in appreciati­on of her assistance to the Spanish for translatin­g local languages for the conquering forces.

Mr Cano said the union was one of “passion” and marked the birth of the “hybrid culture” that became the modern state of Mexico after the Spanish conquest 500 years ago.

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