The Spanish Conquest

1038 Words5 Pages
In the early 16th century Hernán Cortés wrote a letter to King Charles I of Spain. The letter being a statement of great accomplishment and power wasn’t just a simple letter; to Hernán Cortés it was a symbol of authority and a step forward towards expansion. The letter acknowledged their achievements of this expedition; the first being their success and the discovery of land to be colonized and this amazing empire known as the Aztec empire. Steel, armor, canons, firearms, and horses presented Cortés and his crew the advantage over the native people they encountered which helped justify the Spanish overcoming of the Aztec empire.

Born a poor Spaniard to a family of lesser nobility but well educated, Hernán Cortés was born in Medellin, Spain. In 1519 Diego Velázquez appointed Hernán Cortés as leader and ordered him to lead an expedition to secure and conquer Mexico. Prior to their journey a disagreement between both of them triggered Velázquez to rescind his instructions he had made to send Cortés to Mexico. Cortés disregarding Velázquez orders proceeded and set sail to Mexico with a small private army of an estimate of 508 men from their Spanish base in Cuba to Mexico arriving at the Yucatán Peninsula in 1519 with motives of trade and exploration. The success of this voyage presented Cortés a title in which he would be remembered as “a veteran of the Caribbean phase of Spanish overseas expansion.” (3)

The purpose of the letter written by Hernán Cortés to King Charles I of Spain was pure intentional. The letter was meant to convince and notify the King about his successes, accomplishments and the discovery of riches and a powerful civilization. Cortés had a couple of things in mind when he wrote this letter besides power he w...

... middle of paper ...

...d….” (4)

The Spanish Conquest was a significant expedition in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. Cortés’s fleet, crew, weapons, and horses helped him in his conquest. However that alone was not enough to defeat a larger society, and with the alliances formed by Cortés with the Tlaxcalans who hated the Aztecs helped him gain more power in his overpowering of the Aztec empire. The expedition was successful and it brought Spain many goods and riches making it very important to Spain.

Works Cited

Bentley, Jerry H., Herbert F. Ziegler, and Heather E. Streets-Salter. Traditions & Encounters: A Brief Global History, Volume II, From 1500 to the Present, Second Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. 411-29

Brooklyn College Department of History, The Shaping of The Modern World from the Enlightenment to the Present, Fifth Edition. New York: Pearson, 2010. 3-8.

More about The Spanish Conquest

Open Document