Tag Archives: Cortez

Student Blog Post 4: Cortez

Few events in the history of the western world were as decisive or catastrophic than the arrival of Hernan Cortez in 1519. He and his army of 600 men were able to march through Mexico and led the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. In it noted that the figure of Cortez is hard to identify as a historic individual, as many of his historical depiction either paint him as a powerful leader and conquistadores or they paint him as a villain who used far too powerful weapons and mercilessly slaughtered the Aztecs. The fact as always is tied in a shade of gray of both. According to an article on thinkguqest.org seen here
http://library.thinkquest.org/4034/cortes.html
Cortez began his time of conquest in 1519 in hopes of leading a Spanish Expedition of Mexico in the hopes that he would be able to make a name for himself and seize power. At the time of his arrival the Aztecs were ruled over by Montezuma II who had achieved the largest size the empire would eve achieve. Cortez and his 600 men arrived with a view horses and headed to the capital city of Tenochtitlan. He had made an alliance with the Tlaxcala’s, who were essentially the mortal enemies of the Aztecs. Cortez had also acquired a translator and mistress along the way, a Nahua woman known as Dona Maria who I had never heard of before discovering her in the research for this article. Dona Maria was seen as a ultimate betrayer by the natives who this stay still vilify her in works of art and fiction.
According to a work found on PBS, the arrival of Cortez aligned perfectly with the predicted return of the Aztecs main god Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent. Montezuma sent an envoy to greet Cortez and welcome him as the returned god. The Spaniards instead opened fire on them, marveling the Aztecs with the fire power. Eventually Cortez holds Montezuma hostage after the Spaniards had outlived their welcome, but they were forced on in June of 1520. He returned to capture Tenochtitlan with his indigenous allies and allies and they were able to capture Tenochtitlan. Ultimately the site of what was Tenochtitlan become Mexico City, in 1521 and in Cortez ruled from 1521 to 1524 as governor of Mexico. . Ultimately Cortez was named the Marquis of the Valley of the Oaxaca, He served frequently making several trips between Spain and Mexico, costing him a great deal of his once great fortune, and on December 2, 1547 he died at the age of 62.
Of course this is only a very simplified account of Cortez and his life, but it just felt necessary to understand how he was viewed and report some of the facts on this very polarizing figure in world history
http://www.pbs.org/kpbs/theborder/history/timeline/1.html