La Malinche

Nahua woman who was the interpreter, advisor, and intermediary to Hernán Cortés

La Malinche (1500-1550) or Malintzin or Marina was an American Indian woman from the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula. In 1519, Hernán Cortés chose her as a slave with 19 other women. She became the direct helper and translator for Cortés. She knew both Mayan and Nahuatl of the region and learned Spanish. She was important in negotiations. With Malinche, Cortés could interpret the language of the Aztecs. Malinche was eventually baptized as Doña Marina. Cortés used Malinche to find the weaknesses of the Aztecs and to destroy them. This included the fall of Tenochtitlán.[1][2]

Malintzin, in an engraving dated 1885.
Bornc. 1500
Diedbefore February 1529 (aged 28–29)
Other namesMalintzin, La Malinche
Occupation(s)Interpreter, advisor, intermediary
Known forRole in the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire
SpouseJuan Jaramillo
ChildrenMartín Cortés


  1. Purcell, Ryan. "Life Story: Malitzen (La Malinche)". Women & the American Story. Retrieved 2022-07-30.
  2. Kennedy, David (2010). The American Pageant: Volume 1 to 1877. Wadsworth Cengage Learning. p. 13.