The great Spanish conqueror Hernando Cotes (1485-1547) invaded and conquered an Aztec empire populated by millions of natives that stretched out from Mexico all the way down South America. With a force of fewer than 1 thousand men supported by horses and cannons, never before had such a puny force conquered the most powerful native tribe of this earth, and gathered such a massive wealth. This conquest was not an easy one, problems involved where trying to convert natives to his side, so that he may conquer the new world and converting these people to the catholic religion.
Nevertheless more implications arose when Cortes landed in Mexico, there was a language barrier between the Spaniards and the natives as well as the standard of living or culture was totally alien to the Europeans. But the Spaniards were after one thing only, gold…. Upon landing in Mexico, Cortes first lands in a small village, where the natives told Cortes of the great wealth of the Aztec Empire. When the Spaniards got to the Yucatan, Cortes burned his ships, leaving no means of escape for his men.
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Long his route to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, Cortes had to fight his way against other native tribes, then after defeating them, began to enlist their support against their longtime Aztec enemies. By the time Cortes had reached the capital, he had thousands of soldiers fighting for him. As he neared Tenochtitlan he exploited an Aztec myth of their God coming forth as a light skinned, bearded god-king. The seized the city, and held captive the great Aztec leader Montezuma. Montezuma made an attempt to stop Cortes, but his defenses lacked unity and tenacity because the people believed Cortes to be their god returning to the people.
The first thing Cortes does is fire his loud canons in the city, this caused confusion and fear in the city. Then he demanded gold from Montezuma, and after seizing the gold then started to turn them into ingots, destroying the beauties of Aztec architecture. Cortes had begun to gather the treasures of his conquest when word reached him that a Spanish army had landed on the shores in order to arrest Cortes for disobeying orders from the Spanish royalty. Cortes decided to divide his army, leaving men in Tenochtitlan, and bringing a few hundred with him to the shores.
After defeating them, he then persuaded the survivors to join him. For the second time Cortes found himself fighting back into the same city he just conquered. After a long fought siege vs the Aztec forces, he reentered the city. He destroyed the city, took all the gold and emptied the lake, so that he may gather all the richest that the Aztec threw in the water. Cortes then asks that priests be sent to the new world, because the natives are in need of teachings in the catholic way. The Aztec had a religion forced upon them, and if you did not comply with the Catholics, you were most likely killed.
It took the Spanish a long time to conquer the Aztecs, at one point they lived with them, but the Aztecs were worthy opponents. The native warriors did work and gave the Spanish a run for their money, but the superior technology and warfare strategy was too much for the Aztecs to handle. Cortes conquered Mexico because of his brilliant leadership of combat forces and his ability to form alliances with those he defeated. Though this was not a easy tasks because of language, religion, food, culture, technology, health and values to name a few, Cortes’s impact on the long-term power of Spain and the opening of the New World cannot be forgotten.
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