Hernan Cortes and the Governorship of Mexico

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Hernan Cortes was born at Medellin in Spain in the year 1485 and eventually became one of the great Governors of Mexico City. It all started in 1518 when the Governor of Cuba (Diego Velazquez) placed him in charge of an expedition to explore Mexico for colonization. In February, 1519, Cortes was about to set sail when Velazquez changed his mind at tried to replace him; however Cortes in an act of mutiny pushed forward anyway. In March of 1519, Cortes claimed the land for the Spanish Crown (Charles V). Because of this great victory and the gold that Cortes sent back to Spain, he was named Governor and Captain General of Mexico in 1523.

The Governorship of Mexico did not come without strings attached. With his appointment Charles V also appointed four royal officials to help him govern. The first was Alfonso De Estrada who was appointed Treasurer, the second was Gonzalo de Salazar who was appointed Factor, the third was Pedro Almindez Chirinos who was appointed Inspector and forth was Rodrigo de Paz who was appointed Accountant. These men were all paid higher salaries than Cortes and this did not make him happy.

During his reign, Hernan Cortes spent most of his time rebuilding Mexico City. He destroyed Aztec buildings and temples, and then rebuilt Christians Churches on top of the ruins. He also brought many Europeans to Mexico. Because of this Mexico City soon became the most important city in the Americas. Cortes founded new cities and appointed men to rule over these new cities and extend Spanish rule. He instituted the encomienda land tenure system in 1524. This is a trusteeship labour system in which certain per...

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...o Spain a bitter old man and retired in an estate near Seville where he later died on December 2nd 1547.

Works Cited
BBC. BBC Historical Figures. November 9, 2009. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/cortes_hernan.shtml (accessed November 9, 2009).

Castillo, Bernal Díaz del. The Conquest of New Spain.

Encyclopedia Britannica. Hernan Cortes. November 9, 2009. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/138839/Hernan-Cortes-marques-del-Valle-de-Oaxaca (accessed November 9, 2009).

Jacobs, W.J. Hernando Cortès. New York: Franklin Watts Inc., 1974.

Knight, Kevin. Catholic Encyclopedia. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04397a.htm (accessed December 6, 2009).

Pagden, Anthony. Letters From Mexico. Yale University Press, 1986.

Think Quest. Hernan Cortes. November 9, 2009. http://library.thinkquest.org/J002678F/cortez.htm (accessed November 9, 2009).

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