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Cortes, Hernan

Page history last edited by Paula Samal 4 years, 6 months ago

Hernán Cortés (1485 - 1547) was an explorer and Conquistador from Spain. Between 1519 and 1521, he conquered the Aztec Empire of emperor Montezuma II where Mexico is today.


In July of 1519, the Spanish took over Veracruz, and left 100 men there. That August, Cortes went to Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire. He brought 400 men, 15 horsemen, and 15 cannons with him. On his way, he met Native American tribes like the Nahuas of Tlaxcala and the Totonacs of Cempoala.


In October 1519, Cortes gathered his soldiers and around three thousand Tlaxcalteca (who had long been enemies of the Aztecs). His goal was to scare the Aztecs in Tenochtitlan. He then went on a killing spree and burned down the city. When he came to Tenochtitlan, he had a vast army of Aztec enemies.


Cortés was surprised that Tenochtitlan was as great as Constantinople. In November, the emperor of the Aztecs, Moctezuma II, welcomed Cortes and his army. Montezuma II let them into Aztec territory, where they learned the Aztecs' weaknesses and then destroyed them. The emperor gave them gold, and Cortes later told King Charles V that the Aztecs might have thought he was one of their gods: Quetzalcoatl, a feathered serpent with fair skin and a beard. Cortes quickly realized that some Spaniards had been attacked on the coast and planned to kidnap Moctezuma and his house and make him swear loyalty to King Charles V.


On the night of June 30 – July 1, 1520 the Aztecs attacked, but the majority of the Spanish escaped and allied themselves with enemies of the Aztec empire. Later, in 1521, with his army of a few Spaniards and many natives, Cortés destroyed Tenochtitlan and took over the Aztec Empire.


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