Cortés

Cortés

Length: 1141 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Cortés

Cortés, Hernán or Cortez, Hernando (1485-1547), Spanish explorer and conqueror of the Aztec Empire of Mexico.

Cortés was born in Medellín, Extremadura. He studied law at the University of Salamanca, but cut short his university career in 1501 and decided to try his fortune in the New World. He sailed for Santo Domingo in the spring of 1504. In 1511 he joined the Spanish soldier and administrator Diego Velázquez in the conquest of Cuba, and subsequently became alcalde (mayor) of Santiago de Cuba. In 1518 he persuaded Velázquez, who had
beco1me governor of Cuba, to give him the command of an expedition to Mexico. The mainland had been discovered the year before by the Spanish soldier and explorer Francisco Fernández de Córdoba and subsequently by Juan de Grijalva, nephew of Velázquez.

On February 19, 1519, Cortés, with a force of some 600 men, fewer than 20 horses, and 10 field pieces, set sail from Cuba, despite the cancellation of his commission by Velázquez, who had become suspicious that Cortés, once in a position to establish himself independently, would refuse to recognize his authority. Cortés sailed along
the coast of Yucatán and in March 1519 landed in Mexico, subjugating the town of Tabasco; the artillery of the Spaniards, the ships, and particularly the horses filled the natives with awe. From the natives of Tabasco Cortés learned of the Aztec Empire and its ruler, Montezuma II.

Cortés took numerous captives, one of whom, Malinche (baptized Marina), became his mistress; out of loyalty to him she acted as the interpreter, guide, and counselor for the Spaniards. Finding a better harbor a little north of San Juan, the Spaniards moved there and established a town, La Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz (now Veracruz).

Cortés organized an independent government, and renouncing the authority of Velázquez, acknowledged only the supreme authority of the Spanish crown. In order to prevent those of his small force who opposed this movement from deserting him and carrying the news to Cuba, Cortés destroyed his fleet.

After negotiations with Montezuma, who tried to persuade Cortés not to enter the capital city of Tenochtitlán, Cortés started his famous march inland. He overcame the native Tlascalans and then formed an alliance with them against the Aztecs, their enemies. From that time until the conquest was achieved, the Tlascalans continued to be the most important of all the native allies of the Spaniards.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Cortés." 123HelpMe.com. 04 Apr 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=38054>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Great Explorers, Francisco Pizarro and Hernán Cortés, and the Person Who Transformed My Life

- Francisco Pizarro: Spanish explorer who changed the lives of the Inca civilization, nowadays Peru. Hernán Cortés: Spanish explorer who changed the lives of the Aztec civilization, nowadays central Mexico. Pizarro and Cortés were two great men in the history of the world, men who discovered new things, conquered new places; men who made an impact in society and left their print for future generations. There have been many conquerors and discoverers that, like them, have contributed to the advances in the world....   [tags: Personal Narrative, Essay About Myself]

Free Essays
1085 words (3.1 pages)

The Spanish Crown Of The Aztec Empire Essay

- In 1518 Hernán Cortés took command of an expedition to secure the interior of Mexico in the name of the Spanish Crown. In the letters he detailed his expedition and the land and peoples they conquered and encountered. The first letter, dated 1519, is a problematic document as it is written in the third person and was most likely not actually wire by cortez. The second and third letters are much more reliable and were published in Seville in 1522 and 1523 respectively. The culture, geography, economy and other details of the Aztec civilization, as well as Cortés and his forces’ interaction with them, are detailed in his letters which are addressed to the monarch of the sponsor of his force, S...   [tags: Aztec, Mexico, Hernán Cortés, Mesoamerica]

Research Papers
867 words (2.5 pages)

Hernan Alonso Was Instrumental For Destroying The Aztec Empire Essay

- Hernan Alonso was instrumental for destroying the Aztec Empire. He is the main reason why Hernan Cortes was able to succeed. He was the man that put Tenochtitlan under siege. He gained the skill of creating from being a blacksmith. He had the entrepreneurship to start his own business in this new land. He had helped from Hernan Cortes to pursue this conquest. This would also led to his downfall. Hernan Cortes was benefit for him and not one.Alonso was a “new christian” which marked him. Hernan Alonso was the first person to be burn for being a heretic in Mexico....   [tags: Mexico City, Mexico, Hernán Cortés, Aztec]

Research Papers
1246 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on The Fall Of The Aztec Empire

- Throughout the centuries on Earth, Great Empires expanding mass amounts of territory have arose, and crumbled in the forms of the Persian Empire, Roman Empire, Han Dynasty, Mongolian Empire, and the Aztec Empire only to falter to the test of time. All great Empires are formed by having a distinctive advantage over their neighbours whether it be in military tactics, or technologies that allowed them to exploit the weaknesses of their rivals. The Mexica was a religious and militaristic society, causing their warriors to be extremely skilled in combat, allowing them to vigorously expand, and subjugate kingdoms in the Mexico Valley, with their constant need of captives for sacrifice, and allowi...   [tags: Aztec, Mexico, Hernán Cortés, Mexico City]

Research Papers
1304 words (3.7 pages)

The Rise Of The Aztec Empire Essay

- What were the decisive factors that led to the fall of the Aztec empire. Your answer should make reference to the social and political contexts of the region as well as the military campaign. In this essay I am going to give a brief overview about the Aztecs and then talk about the factors that led to the fall of this empire. The Aztecs ruled from 14th century and their power expanded into Guatemala. The Aztec empire had a powerful military tradition, long-range trading and spy system and complex religious institutions that no one would have thought it would have fallen in less than two years....   [tags: Aztec, Mexico City, Mexico, Hernán Cortés]

Research Papers
1188 words (3.4 pages)

Essay On The Aztecs

- The Aztec Empire was one of the first empires founded in the Americas. The Aztecs were a group of people who thrived in the 1400 and 1500s. They lived in what is modern-day Mexico. They also changed the way some live their religion. The Aztecs had a certain way of life. They would praise their gods a certain way and had a different kind of capital. The Aztecs also had distinctive art. The members Aztec Empires’ lives included their history, their capital, religion, art, and different cultural aspects....   [tags: Mexico City, Aztec, Mexico, Hernán Cortés]

Research Papers
1463 words (4.2 pages)

The Intellectual History Of New Spain And Its Development Of A National Consciousness

- Jacques Lafaye, a French historian, published a study pertaining to the intellectual history of New Spain and its development of a national consciousness that would facilitate a move towards independence. Lafaye takes a unique approach of examining the formation of Mexico’s national conciseness by pointing to the importance of religious thought in that process. In this ethnohistorical study the author pays special attention to the interaction of Iberian Christianity and Aztec belief system in New Spain....   [tags: Mexico City, Mexico, Aztec, Hernán Cortés]

Research Papers
990 words (2.8 pages)

Song Of The Hummingbird By Graciela Limo Essay

- Imagine living in a civilization that practiced beautiful ritual dances and ceremonies. Then one day, that civilization does not exist anymore because another civilization decided to conquer them. In the novel “Song of the Hummingbird,” written by Graciela Limo, an Aztec women named Huitzitzilin, which means Hummingbird, tells her life story to a Father Benito Lara, along with confessing her sins from her lifetime. I find this novel to be very informative because it tells the reader the truth on what actually happened between the Spaniards and the Aztecs....   [tags: Aztec, Mexico City, Hernán Cortés, Forgiveness]

Research Papers
1056 words (3 pages)

Essay The Powerful Aztec Empire

- Throughout the vast territory of Mexico, approximately in the first decades of the thirteenth century AD the city of Tenochtitlan was founded. This was the beginning of the powerful Aztec Empire. The Aztecs will name the territory as “Mexico-Tenochtitlan” . The name of Mexico has been debated by several historians and it can have many meanings, but according to Jacques Soustelle the meaning of Mexico it would be like this “(la ciudad que esta) en medio (del lago) de la luna” . Which in English can be described as the city that is in the middle (of the lake) of the moon....   [tags: Aztec, Mexico City, Hernán Cortés, Quetzalcoatl]

Research Papers
1850 words (5.3 pages)

Essay about Hernan Cortes

- Conqueror of Mexico, b. at Medellin in Spain c. 1485; d. at Castilleja de la Cuesta near Seville, 2 December, 1547. He was married first to Catalina Xuares, from which marriage there was no issue, and, after her death, to Doña Juana de Zuñiga, niece of the Duke of Bejar. From this union there sprang four children, one son (Martín) and three daughters. His parents were Martín Cortés de Monroy and Catalina Pizarro Altamirano, both of honourable extraction, belonging to the middle class of nobility, but not wealthy....   [tags: essays research papers]

Research Papers
3066 words (8.8 pages)

Related Searches



Montezuma pursued an irresolute policy during Cortés's march, and finally determined not to oppose the Spanish invaders but to await their arrival at the Aztec capital and to learn more about their purposes.

On November 8, 1519, Cortés and his small force, with some 600 native allies, entered the city and established headquarters in one of its large communal dwellings. Because of an Aztec prophecy about the return of Quetzalcoatl, a legendary god-king who was light skinned and bearded, Cortés was believed to be a god and was received with honor. The Spanish soldiers were allowed to roam through the city at their pleasure and found
much gold and other treasures in the storehouses. Despite the amicable reception given the Spaniards, Cortés had reason to believe that attempts would be made to drive him out. To safeguard his position, he seized Montezuma as hostage and forced him to swear allegiance to Charles I, king of Spain, and to provide a ransom of an enormous sum in gold and jewels. Meanwhile Velázquez dispatched an expedition under the Spanish
soldier Panfilo de Narváez to Mexico. In April 1520, Cortés received word that Narváez had arrived on the coast. Leaving 200 men at Tenochtitlán under the command of Pedro de Alvarado, an explorer who had also been with Grijalva, Cortés marched with a small force to the coast, entered the Spanish camp at night, captured Narváez, and induced the majority of the Spaniards to join his force.

Meanwhile harsh rules by Alvarado had aroused the Aztecs in the capital. An Aztec revolt against the Spaniards and their own imprisoned ruler, Montezuma, was under way when Cortés returned to the city. He was allowed to enter with his followers and to join Alvarado, but thereupon was immediately surrounded and attacked. At Cortés's request Montezuma addressed the Aztecs in an attempt to quell the revolt. The Aztec ruler was
stoned, and he died three days later. The Spanish and their allies were driven out of the city by a group of Aztecs led by Montezuma's nephew Guatemotzín on a dark, rainy night, the famous Noche Triste (“Sad Night”), June 30, 1520. The Aztecs pursued the retreating Spanish troops and at Otumba, on July 7, 1520, after defeating a very
large force of Aztecs, Cortés finally reached Tlaxcala. There, during the summer, he reorganized his army with the aid of some reinforcements and equipment from Vera Cruz.

Cortés then began his return to the capital, capturing outlying Aztec outposts on the way. On August 13, 1521, after a desperate siege of three months, Guatemotzín, the new emperor, was captured, and Tenochtitlán fell.

Cortés had Tenochtitlán razed and built Mexico City on its ruins. Colonists were brought over from Spain, and the city became the principal European city in America. The consolidation of Mexico by Cortés was not accomplished without great cruelty to the indigenous peoples. The popularity that Cortés achieved in Spain because of his conquests and the riches he had sent resulted in his being named governor and captain
general of New Spain in 1523. Cortés then undertook an expedition to Honduras from 1524 to 1526. Meanwhile, fearing his ambition, the Spanish court had sent officials to Mexico to investigate his acts. In 1528 Cortés was ordered to relinquish the government of Mexico and return to Spain. There he appealed to the king, was created marquis of
the Valley of Oaxaca in the New World, and was reappointed captain general. He was not restored, however, to the civil governorship of Mexico. He married the daughter of the count of Aguilar and in 1530 returned to Mexico. There he found himself constantly checked in his activity, his property kept from him, his rights interfered with, and his popularity waning.

In 1536 Cortés discovered the peninsula of Baja California in northwest Mexico, and explored the Pacific coast of Mexico. In 1539 the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado secured the right to seek the Seven Cities of Cíbola, and in disgust Cortés went back to Spain to complain to the court. Again he was received with honor but could secure no substantial assistance toward recovering his rights or his property. He served
as a volunteer in 1541 in the unsuccessful Spanish expedition against Algiers, lost a large part of his remaining fortune, and was shipwrecked. Cortés, neglected by the court after the Algiers expedition, retired to a small estate near Seville, where he lived until his death.
Return to 123HelpMe.com