Malintzin, La Malinche, or Lady Marina.

Louisa Oliveros
6 min readAug 22, 2022

A woman without options.

La Malinche, Hernán, and Aztec Moctezuma Emperor.

Born Malinalli, later Malintzin, and eventually Malinche, (c. 1500 — c. 1529) was a Nahua Indian woman who helped the Spaniards conquer Mexico, serving as interpreter, advisor and intermediary to expedition leader Hernán Cortés.

She is one of the most important women in Mexican history; perhaps the only one of that stature. Many Mexicans consider her a traitor for facilitating the understanding between Mayas and various native tribes, to create alliances and destroy the so-called Aztec Empire, and therefore the conquistadors could occupy the entire country we now call Mexico.

Let’s look at La Malinche’s situation before the arrival of the Spaniards in order to judge whether or not she was a traitor, or simply walked the only path life opened for her.

La Malinche lived around the Gulf of Mexico when the Spaniards landed on the coast where the city of Veracruz is now located, and it is known she had been a member of a noble family, elite leaders, since she had elegant manners and knew how to use a courtly language typical of high-level people of that time. Moreover, if there was one thing the Spaniards admired in her, it was her extraordinary diplomatic skills. However, given the nefarious customs of the time, after the death of her father, Marina was sold by her mother (1) to someone who subsequently re-sold her to a cacique from Tabasco, east of Veracruz, where she lived until the arrival of Hernán Cortés in 1515.

Due to peace agreements between Cortés and the Tabasco cacique in 1519, the latter gave the conquistador a group of young women to serve him. Among them was Malintzin, and just as the Spaniards heard her name, they called her Malinche, the name by which she is known throughout the Hispanic world.

Very soon she was baptized with the Christian name of Marina, and due to her ability to speak two languages and her distinguished demeanor, Cortés chose her as companion and translator and went with her everywhere, for which she was given the honorary name of Doña Marina (Lady Marina), as befitted a noble and intelligent woman, as well as the companion of the military chief.

At that time, 1515, Malinche lived in a border zone between the Aztecs who spoke Nahuatl and the Maya who…

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Louisa Oliveros

Bilingual English-Spanish Teacher, Content Writer, Translator, and Proofreader. Solopreneur. louisa.free@outlook.com