Episode 240: La Malinche

Malinche (this artist’s guess is as good as ours) and the volcano named after her in Mexico. (photo CC license: Alyse and Remi, Flickr)

In the early 1500s in Mesoamerica, modern-day Mexico, a very young child who would come to be known as La Malinche was sold into slavery by her own family. Through a series of curious circumstances, she began working as a translator and cultural interpreter for Hernán Cortés and became one of the most famous (or infamous) characters in the story of Spain’s conquest of Mexico. For the most part, we have to look at the details of her life through the lives of the people around her, then turn our heads sideways and squint because how she is seen, depends on the angle of your, or historians, view. Even her name is shrouded in mystery: was she Malintzin, Malina, Marina, Doña Marina, or La Malinche? She was called all of those, but her true, original name is lost to history.

Time Travel With The History Chicks


By Jason Porath…we love this book for so many reasons and open it often
Biography by Camilla Townsend

Best read, part biography, part travelogue by Anna Lanyon

By Rebecca Yegar

By Buddy Levy

By Hugh Thomas

By Matthew Restall

Cortes’ letters

Bernal Diaz…if you speak Spanish, let us know how it is. All our sources cited it so we figured it was worth mentioning even if we didn’t read this one.


By Francisco Serrano, Illustrated by Pablo Serrano


The Denver Art Museum had an exhibition of Malinche’s life through art back in 2022, but since nothing dies on the internet, we can all still cyber-visit it! Traitor, Survivor, Icon: The Legacy of La Malinche

The murals at Palacio National in Mexico City: Here’s some information about Malinche’s portion and here’s a good look to grasp the size of this art!

Moving or Audible Pictures!

The Rest is History Podcast has an (entertaining and conversational as well as educational) series on the Fall of the Aztecs that goes into depth on Cortes and his conquest of Mexico (and Malinche is in there, of course!)