Bernal Díaz del Castillo was born in Medina del Campo, Spain, between 1492 and 1498 He was of humble family and received little formal education His first expedition to the New World was in 1514 with Piedras Dávila but that expedition was terminated by diseases and political unrest He arrived to Cuba where he was promised an encomienda which he never received In an encomienda the Spanish crown granted a person a specified number of natives for whom they were to take responsibility. In theory, the receiver of the grant was to protect the natives from warring tribes and to instruct them in the Spanish language and in the Catholic faith: in return they could extract tribute from the natives in the form of labor, gold, or other products. In practice, the difference between encomienda and slavery could be minimal. Many natives were forced to do hard labor and subjected to extreme punishment and death if they resisted In 1517, Díaz del Castillo sailed with Francisco Hernández de Córdoba to an expedition from Cuba to Yucatán in 21 days This expedition was a failure and only few Spaniards were able to return to Cuba after sailing to Florida Díaz del Castillo, returned to the coast of Yucatán in 1518 with the expedition of Juan de Grijalva who only explored the coast “discovered” by the previous expedition. Upon returning to Cuba, Díaz del Castillo enlisted in Hernando Cortés’ expedition In the Cortes’ expedition Díaz del Castillo participated in the Conquest of Mexico Díaz del Castillo writes The True History of the Conquest of New Spain almost 50 years after the events happened The reason he gives for writing his narrative is because the official historian Francisco López de Gómara wrote The Conquest of Mexico using Hernan Cortes’ letters and other documents but López de Gómara was never in Mexico Therefore, Díaz del Castillo writes to argue that López de Gómara’s narrative was a fiction and his was the one telling the true. The two histories follow two historical genres; one based on primary readings and the other based on the eye witness of the historical moment. Even though Díaz del Castillo insists in his narrative that he is only a soldier with no formal education, his narrative shows a great fluidity of style that some have compare to the novelas de caballería medievales (Medieval novels of chivalry) As a reward for his service, Díaz del Castillo was appointed governor of Santiago de los Caballeros, present-day Antigua Guatemala. Díaz del Castillo died in 1585 without seeing his book published. A manuscript was found in a Madrid library in 1632 and published, providing an eye-witness account of the events, told from the perspective of a common soldier. Among the greatness of the Aztec culture, Bernal describes a pretty well organized market place and beautifully arranged botanical and zoological gardens.