How would you explain this sentence?
The people fought Cortés as the bitterest of foes, including women. Cortés was dismayed by their refusal to submit. “I was at pains to think in what way I could terrify them so as to bring them to knowledge of their sins, and the damage we were in a position to do them.”
How would you explain the first sentence? Whom does ‘the bitterest of foes’ refer to? The people or Cortés?