Hernan Cortes - Reasons for Success

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Hernan Cortes - Reasons for Success

Why was Cortes with 508 soldiers able to conquer the Aztec Empire with millions of people?

Cortes was able to conquer the Aztecs for several very different reasons. In combination these reasons allowed him to have the upper hand in the conquest of Mexico. Arguably these reasons can be sorted into six different categories. The various causes for Cortes' success will be assessed in a climax pattern. To begin with the Aztecs had a harsh tribute system that was not popular among the people of Mexico. This cruel tribute system allowed Cortes to act as a liberator. Furthermore, with the Spanish brought several diseases into Mexico in witch they were immune to but the Aztecs were not. The spread of diseases such as small pox reduced the Aztec population and furthered Cortes' success unintentionally Also Marina was a tribal girl given as a gift to Cortes, she proved invaluable in translating local dialects in combination with Geronimo de Aguilar. Also an important aspect of his success was due to Montezuma's belief that Cortes was Quetzakoatl. A predominant reason for the Spanish success was due to their weaponry especially their armour and firepower. Perhaps the most important reason of all was that of Cortes' Indian allies such as the Tlaxcalans who made up the majority of his combined army. All these reasons worked together to allow Cortes, originally with 508 men to conquer the Aztec Empire of millions of people.

To begin with, the Aztec's cruel tribute system allowed Cortes to act as a liberator. The process of human sacrifice was extremely common and was feared by the majority of the common people. The Aztecs as a nourishment for the Sun and all other gods needed human sacrifice. The Aztecs sacrificed between 10,000 and 50,000 victims per year. As the majority of those who were sacrificed were war captives who opposed the Aztecs, they obviously greatly feared the brutal tribute system. However not only war captives were sacrifices, common adults and children were also sacrificed at times. Cortes himself was disgusted at the thought of human sacrifice, this allowed him to gain Indian allies as well as gain respect among Mexican tribes that feared and opposed the Aztecs. The majority of the population feared the process therefore making Cortes, whom despised the process, an appealing alternative. Many followed Cortes as they shared the same views on the 'human sacrifice' topic.

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