Biography of Hernan Cortes - History

Biography of Hernan Cortes - History

Hernan Cortes was born in Medelin Spain, in 1485. His father was an infantry officer. Cortes was described as a pale sickly child. At the age of 14, he was sent to study at the University of Salamanca. Cortes returned home after two years. Upon returning home at age16 Cortes was restless. In 1503, at the age of 18 Cortes left Spain for the New World. He arrived in Santo Domingo, the capital of Hispaniola. There, he registered as a citizen. The governor, who was a family friend, made him the notary of the town of Azuza. Cortes accompanied Diego Velazquez on an expedition to conquer Cuba. Cortes distinguished himself on the expedition and was made mayor of Santiago. Cortes, like many of the Spaniards, had heard rumors of vast quantities of gold on the mainland in Mexico. In 1518, Cortes convinced the governor to give him a charter to explore and conquer Mexico. The governor revoked the charter at the last moment, but Cortes decided to go anyway, as an act of rebellion.

Cortes landed his troops at Vera Cruz. He burned his ships, claiming they were not seaworthy, thus eliminating the chance his troops would mutiny and turn back. Cortez, marched inland to the Aztec capital, with a very small army of several hundred soldiers. Cortes entered the city of Tenochtitlan, a city with a population of over 200,000, with his small force. Instead of fighting Cortes, Montezuma, the Aztec king, greeted him with gifts and welcomed him. After six months in the capital, the Spanish fought their way out of the capital. Other Aztecs killed Montezuma. Cortes received aid from an unlikely source, a force of Spaniards who had come to arrest him for treason. He defeated the force and then recruited its soldiers into his force. Together with the Native American opponents of the Aztec, Cortes laid siege to Tenochtitlan. He eventually conquered the city. He ransacked and burned one of the largest cities in the world.

Despite his act of treason, in continuing his campaign Cortes became very popular in Spain, thanks to the gold and jewels he captured. Cortes was appointed governor of the newly captured territories, that became known as New Spain. Cortes destroyed the Aztec buildings and temples. In their place, Cortes built Spanish buildings. The city was renamed Mexico City. It soon became the most important European city in the New World.

Cortes remained the governor of New Spain until 1841. In the intermediate years, the various officials sent to help Cortes administer the new territory diminished his own power. In addition, there were constant accusations against Cortes. The accusations ranged from spending money unwisely to murdering his first wife. Cortes expanded Spain's control over all parts of what is Mexico today, including leading an expedition to the Baja California peninsula.

In 1841, Cortes returned to Spain. He died in Seville, on December 2, 1547, at the age of 62


Biography of Malinche, Enslaved Woman and Interpreter to Hernán Cortés

Malinali (c. 1500–1550), also known as Malintzín, "Doña Marina," and, most commonly, "Malinche," was an Indigenous Mexican woman who was given to conquistador Hernan Cortes as an enslaved person in 1519. Malinche soon proved herself very useful to Cortes, as she was able to help him interpret Nahuatl, the language of the mighty Aztec Empire.

Malinche was an invaluable asset for Cortes, as she not only translated but also helped him understand local cultures and politics. Many modern Mexicans see Malinche as a great traitor who betrayed her Native cultures to the bloodthirsty Spanish invaders.

Fast Facts: Malinche

  • Known For: Mexican enslaved woman and interpreter to Hernan Cortez and mother of one of his children
  • Also Known As: Marina, Malintzin, Malinche, Doña Marina, Mallinali
  • Born: c. 1500 in Painala, in present-day Mexico
  • Parents: Cacique of Paynala, mother unknown
  • Died: c. 1550 in Spain
  • Spouse: Juan de Jaramillo also famous for her relationship with Hernan Cortez, the famous Conquistador
  • Children: Don Martín, Doña María

Young Cortés

Portrait of Young Cortés, 16th century, located at the Museo de America, Madrid.

With superior firepower, 600 Spaniards, a dozen horses, and thousands of native allies, Hernán Cortés conquered Mexico for Spain. This also marked the fall of the Aztec Empire. His conquest enabled Spain to create a stronghold and colonies in the New World. From a young age, Cortés sought wealth and adventure. History remembers him as a fierce conquistador (Spanish for “conqueror”). Despite his reputation, he opened the door for further exploration and conquest to the south and north

Early Life
Hernán (or Hernándo) Cortés was born in 1485 in the village of Medellín, located in the Estremadura province of Spain. His parents were Martin Cortés de Monroy and Catalina Pizarro Altamirano. Cortés was a distant cousin to Francisco Pizarro, the explorer who conquered the Incan empire in Peru. Cortés’ family was noble but not extremely wealthy. As a young child, Cortés was frequently ill, but his health improved when he was a teenager. In 1499, at the age of 14, he was sent to the University of Salamanca to prepare for a law career. However, Cortés eventually grew tired of his studies and after two years dropped out of school and returned home. Cortés wanted a life of action, and was fascinated by the tales of gold and riches in the New World. He signed up with an expedition to the New World led by Nicolás de Ovando, who was the governor of Hispaniola. But an accident from a fall which buried him under rubble severely injured his back. 1 So he could not sail with Ovando’s fleet.

Talk of the New World and the allure of wealth continued to captivate young Cortés. In 1504, he sought passage on a ship to Santo Domingo, Hispaniola (modern day Dominican Republic). Cortés began farming in the Spanish colony, which brought him much wealth, and owned several native slaves. He finally got his first taste of exploration when he joined a mission under led by Diégo Velasquez in 1511. When he returned, he promised to marry Catalina Suarez, the sister of his friend Juan Suarez, but backed out at the last minute. Velasquez, now governor of Cuba, imprisoned Cortés for not upholding his promise. 2 Eventually, Cortés agreed to marry Catalina, but relations between Velázquez and Cortés remained tense.In 1518, appointed Cortés to lead an expedition to conquer the interior of Mexico. He then withdrew the order because he grew suspicious of Cortés’ strong will and thirst for power. Cortés disobeyed Velasquez and set out for Mexico in 1519 to begin his invasion.

Principal Voyage
In 1519, Hernán Cortés left Cuba with about 600 men, and set out for the Yucatan region of Mexico. 3 He first arrived in Cozumel, and began to explore the land for colonization. He encountered natives, and their large pyramid. He noticed the blood stains and human remains, and learned that this pyramid was used for human sacrifices to their gods. 4 Appalled, Cortés began his efforts to convert the natives to Christianity. He tore down their idols and replaced them with crosses and statues of the Virgin Mary. Cortés relied on native translators and guides to communicate with the natives, and travel the land. Soon after, Cortés and his men sailed on and landed at Tabasco. Here, Cortés and his men clashed with the natives. On March 25, 1519, in the Cintla Valley, the two sides fought in a battle known as the Battle of Cintla. The natives were no match for the Spanish soldiers weaponry and armor. 800 Tabascans were killed only 2 Spanish men were killed. 5 The Tabascans pledged their loyalty to Spain, and gave Cortés gold and slave women.

One of the chieftains gifted a slave woman to Cortés named Malinche. She was bilingual so she spoke both Aztec and Mayan languages, which made her very useful to Cortés. She eventually learned Spanish, and became Cortés’s personal interpreter, guide, and mistress. They had a son named Martin. Having conquered the Tabascan people, Cortés moved up the coast to Tlaxcala, a city of the mighty Aztec empire. The Aztecs were not always popular rulers among their subjected cities. When Cortés learned of this, he used it to his advantage. He met with Aztec ambassadors, and told them he wished to meet the great Aztec ruler Montezuma. Xicotenga, a ruler in the city Tlaxcala, saw an ally in Cortés, and an opportunity to overthrow the capital city of Tenochtitlán. They formed an allegiance, and Cortés was given several thousand warriors to add to his ranks. By this time, Cortés’ men were beginning to grumble about Cortés. He continued ignoring Velázquez’s orders to return to Cuba, and the men felt he was overstepping his authority. Afraid his men would leave, Cortés destroyed all the ships. 6 With nowhere for the men to go, they followed Cortés onward to Tenochtitlán.

Subsequent Voyages
Cortés and his men marched to Tenochtitlán. They reached the capital of the Aztec empire on November 8, 1519. 7 The ruler of the Aztec civilization was Montezuma II. Montezuma, though uncertain of the Spaniards’ intent, welcomed them graciously. He gave them a tour of his palace, and they were given extravagant gifts. This fueled the Spaniards’ greed and relations turned hostile shortly after. Cortés took Montezuma captive and the Spaniards raided the city. Montezuma was murdered shortly after from being stoned by his own people. 8 In 1520, Spanish troops had been sent to Mexico to arrest Cortés for disobeying orders. He left Tenochtitlán to face the opposing Spaniards. After defeating them, Cortés returned to the Aztec capital to find a rebellion in progress. The Spaniards had been driven from the city. Cortés reorganized his men and allies, and seized control of neighboring territories around the capital. They regained control of the city by August of 1521. This marked the fall of the Aztec empire. Cortés had seized control of Mexico for Spain. Cortés was named governor, and went on to establish Mexico City, built on the ruins of the fallen Aztec capital.

Later Years and Death
Several years after his conquest of Mexico, Cortés endured many challenges to his status and position. He had been appointed the governor, yet was removed from power after returning from a trip to Honduras in 1524. Cortés went to Spain to met with the Spanish king in order to reclaim his title, but never gained it back. He returned to Mexico after his failing with the king and partook in several more expeditions throughout the New World. Cortés retired in Spain in 1540. He died seven years later on December 2, 1547 at his home in Seville from a lung disease called pleurisy. 9

Hernán Cortés remains one of the most successful of the Spanish conquistadors. He was a hero in the 16th century, but history remembers him differently. He had many conquests during his life. But he is perhaps most known for his conquer of the Aztec Empire in 1521. He enslaved much of the native population, and many of the indigenous people were wiped out from European diseases such as smallpox. He was a smart, ambitious man who wanted to appropriate new land for the Spanish crown, convert native inhabitants to Catholicism, and plunder the lands for gold and riches. However, we still recognize his role in history. He helped oversee the building of Mexico City, which is still Mexico’s capital today. He opened the door for further exploration and conquest of Central America to the south, and eventually led to the acquisition of California towards the north.

Hernán Cortés

The Spanish soldier Hernán Cortés conquered the great Aztec Empire in 1521. The conquest began 300 years of Spanish rule over Mexico.

Hernán Cortés (also called Hernando Cortez) was born in 1485 in Medellín, Spain. At age 19 he sailed for the island of Hispaniola in the West Indies. There he farmed and did legal work. In 1511 he helped Diego Velázquez conquer Cuba. Cortés became mayor of Santiago, the capital.

In 1518 Velázquez asked Cortés to start a colony in Mexico. While exploring the coast Cortés learned about the Aztec Empire. He landed at what is now Veracruz in April 1519. He burned his ships so his men could not turn back.

After defeating the Tlaxcaltec people in battle, Cortés made them his allies. The Tlaxcaltec and other tribes resented Aztec demands for sacrifices and treasure. On November 8, 1519, Cortés marched into the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán (now Mexico City). The Aztec emperor Montezuma II welcomed Cortés because he thought he was a god of Aztec legend. Cortés quickly seized power.

Meanwhile, the jealous Velázquez sent a Spanish force against Cortés. Cortés defeated them, but while he was away the Aztec regrouped. They drove his forces back. Cortés then rejoined the Tlaxcaltec. He captured Tenochtitlán on August 13, 1521, ending the Aztec Empire.

The king of Spain made Cortés a nobleman. Cortés spent the 1530s in Mexico and explored Baja California in 1534–35. In 1540 he went back to Spain. He died there on December 2, 1547.

Did You Know?

By 1521 Hernán Cortés ruled a huge area of land extending from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean.

La Malinche

One of the chiefs gave Cortés a slave named Malinche. She was bilingual, so she spoke both the Aztec and the Mayan languages, which made her very useful to Cortés.

He finally learned Spanish, and became Cortés’ personal interpreter, guide and lover. They had a son named Martin. Having conquered the Tabasco people, Cortés moved to the coast ofTlaxcala

A ruler in the city of Tlaxcala, saw an ally in Cortés, and an opportunity to overthrow the capital city of Tenochtitlán.

They formed an alliance, and Cortés received several thousand warriors to add to his ranks. By this time, Cortés’ men were beginning to complain about Cortés.

He continued to ignore Velázquez’s orders to return to Cuba, and the men felt he was overstepping his authority. Fearful that his men would leave, Cortés destroyed all the boats. With nowhere to go, the men followed Cortés to Tenochtitlán.

Hernán Cortés and the fall of Tenochtitlan

The fall of Tenochtitlan, capital of the Mexican Empire, carried out through negotiation between local factions and existing anti-Aztec divisions and the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés.

Many battles existed between the Aztec armies on the one hand and the Spanish on the other, which was mostly composed of indigenous people based on the alliance with the lords of Cempoala, Texcoco and Tlaxcala.

Later Life and Death

Although his governorship position had been taken away from him, Cortés still wielded some amount of power in Mexico. For example he was still able to embark on a number of minor expeditions. In one such expedition, he discovered Baja California Peninsula in 1536.

With his civil authority stripped from him, Cortés’s influence in the New World waned. In 1541, he went back to Spain to attend to some problems concerning his estates.

Hernán Cortés spent a fortune during his expeditions in the Americas and conquest of Mexico. He tried desperately to get back most of the money he spent from the Spanish Crown, but to no avail.

He spent his later years not as wealthy as he used to be when he was the governor of Mexico. Feeling neglected in Spain, he decided to give Mexico a shot again. However, he was struck down with dysentery in the course of his preparations. On December 2, 1547, the famous Spanish conqueror of Mexico died in Castilleja de la Cuesta, Seville Province. He was 62.

Before he was eventually buried at Hospital de Jesus in Mexico City, his body was moved about eight times.


Malinche is known by many names. [5] [6] She was baptized as Marina, [7] [8] and was referred to as such by the Spaniards, often preceded with honorific doña. [9] [10] The Nahuas called her 'Malintzin', derived from 'Malina' (a Nahuatl rendering of her Spanish name) and the honorific suffix -tzin. [11] According to the historian Camilla Townsend, the vocative suffix -e is sometimes added at the end of the name, giving the form Malintzine, which would be shortened to 'Malintze', and heard by the Spaniards as 'Malinche'. [11] [a] Another possibility is that the Spaniards simply did not hear the 'whispered' -n of the name Malintzin. [13]

Her name at birth is unknown. [7] [14] [15] It has been popularly assumed since at least the 19th century [16] that she was originally named 'Malinalli' [b] (Nahuatl for 'grass'), after the day sign on which she was supposedly born, [19] and that Marina was chosen as her Christian name on account of phonetic similarity, [17] but modern historians have rejected these propositions. [7] [16] The Nahuas associate the day sign 'Malinalli' with bad or even 'evil' connotations, [7] [19] [20] and they are known to avoid using such day signs as personal names. [7] [21] Moreover, there would be little reason for the Spaniards to ask the natives what their personal names were before christening them with similar-sounding Spanish names. [22]

Another title that is often assumed to be part of her original name is 'Tenepal'. In the annotation made by the Nahua historian Chimalpahin on his copy of Gómara's biography of Cortés, 'Malintzin Tenepal' is used repeatedly in reference to Malinche. [16] [23] According to the linguist and historian Frances Karttunen, Tenepal is probably derived from the Nahuatl root tene which means “lip-possessor, one who speaks vigorously” [14] or “one who has a facility with words”, [24] and postposition -pal, which means “by means of”. [14] The historian James Lockhart, however, suggests that Tenepal might be derived from tenenepil or "somebody's tongue". [25] In any case, it seems that 'Malintzin Tenepal' was intended to be a calque of Spanish doña Marina la lengua, [13] [25] with la lengua ("the interpreter", literally "the tongue" [26] ) being her Spanish sobriquet. [16]

Background Edit

Malinche's birthdate is unknown, [17] but it is estimated to be around 1500, and likely no later than 1505. [27] [28] [c] She was born in an altepetl that was either a part or a tributary of a Mesoamerican state whose center was located on the bank of the Coatzacoalcos River to the east of the Aztec Empire. [29] [d] Records disagree about the exact name of the altepetl where she was born. [33] [34] In three unrelated legal proceedings that occurred not long after her death, various witnesses who claimed to have known her personally, including her own daughter, said that she was born in Olutla. The probanza of her grandson also mentioned Olutla as her birthplace. [33] Her daughter also added that the altepetl of Olutla was related to Tetiquipaque, although the nature of this relationship is unclear. [35] In the Florentine Codex, Malinche's homeland is mentioned as "Teticpac", which is most likely the singular form of Tetiquipaque. [36] Gómara writes that she came from "Uiluta" (presumably a variant of Olutla), although he departs from other sources by writing that it was in the region of Jalisco. Díaz, on the other hand, gives "Painalla" as her birthplace. [37] [33]

Her family is reported to be of noble background [37] Gómara writes that her father was related to a local ruler, [38] while Díaz recounts that her parents themselves were rulers. [39] Townsend notes that while Olutla at the time probably had a Popoluca majority, the ruling elite, which Malinche supposedly belonged to, would have been Nahuatl-speaking. [40] Another hint that supports her noble origin is her apparent ability to understand the courtly language of tecpillahtolli (“lordly speech”), a Nahuatl register that is significantly different from the commoner's speech and has to be learned. [41] [42] The fact that she was often referred to as a doña, at the time when it was not commonly used even in Spain, also indicates that she was viewed as a noblewoman, [18] although it is also possible that the honorific was attributed to her because of her important role in the conquest. [15]

Probably between the age of 8 and 12, [43] Malinche was either sold or kidnapped into slavery. [13] [44] Díaz famously wrote that after her father's death, she was given away to merchants by her mother and stepfather so that their own son (Malinche's stepbrother) could succeed as heir. [45] [46] Scholars, historians and literary critics alike, have cast doubt upon Díaz's account of her origin, in large part due to his strong emphasis on Catholicism throughout his narration of the events. [18] [45] [47] In particular, historian Sonia Rose de Fuggle analyzes Díaz's over-reliance on polysyndeton (which mimics the sentence structure of a number of Biblical stories) as well as his overarching portrayal of Malinche as an ideal Christian woman. [48] Nevertheless, Townsend considers it likely that some of her people were complicit in trafficking her, regardless of the reason. [43] Malinche was taken to Xicalango, [49] a major port city in the region. [50] She was later purchased by a group of Chontal Maya who brought her to the town of Potonchán. It was here that Malinche started to learn the Chontal Maya language, and perhaps also Yucatec Maya. [51] [e] This would later enable her to communicate with Jerónimo de Aguilar, another interpreter for Cortes who also spoke Yucatec Maya, alongside his native Spanish. [54]

The conquest of Mexico Edit

— Report from the emissaries to Moctezuma. Florentine Codex, Book XII, Chapter IX [55]

Early in his expedition to Mexico, Cortés was confronted by the Mayas at Potonchán. [39] In ensuing battle, the Mayas suffered significant loss of lives and asked for peace. In the following days, they presented the Spaniards with gifts of food and gold, as well as twenty enslaved women including Malinche. [56] [57] The women were baptized and distributed among Cortés's men, not only as servants, but also to be raped. [58] [54] [59] Malinche was given to Alonso Hernández Puertocarrero, one of Cortés's captains [54] who was also a first cousin to the count of Cortés's hometown, Medellín. [60]

Malinche's linguistic gift was discovered [61] when the Spaniards encountered the Nahuatl-speaking people at San Juan de Ulúa. [54] [62] Moctezuma's emissaries had come to inspect them, [63] but Aguilar could not understand them. [62] [64] When it was realized that Malinche could converse with the emissaries (according to Gómara) Cortés promised her “more than liberty” if she would help him find and communicate with Moctezuma. [37] [62] Cortés took Malinche back from Puertocarrero, [54] who was later given another Indigenous woman before he was sent back to Spain. [65] [66] Through Aguilar and Malinche, Cortés talked with Moctezuma's emissaries. The emissaries also brought artists to make paintings of Malinche, Cortés, and the rest of the group, as well as their ships and weapons, to be sent as records for Moctezuma. [67] [68] Díaz later said that the Nahuas also addressed Cortés as "Malinche" [69] [54] they apparently took her as a point of reference for the group. [70] [f]

From then on, Malinche would work with Aguilar to bridge communication between the Spaniards and the Nahuas [34] [67] Cortés would speak Spanish with Aguilar, who translated into Yucatec Maya for Malinche, who in turn translated into Nahuatl, before reversing the process. [73] The translation chain grew even longer when, after the emissaries left, they met the Totonacs, [74] whose language was not understood by either Malinche or Aguilar. There, Malinche asked for Nahuatl interpreters. [75] [76] Karttunen remarks that "it is a wonder any communication was accomplished at all", for Cortés's Spanish words had to be translated into Maya, Nahuatl, and Totonac before reaching the locals, whose answers then went back through the same chain. [75] It was from the meeting with the Totonacs that the Spaniards first learned of those who were hostile to Moctezuma. [76] [74] After founding the town of Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz in order to be freed from the legal restriction of what was supposed to be an exploratory mission, [77] the Spaniards stayed for two months in a nearby Totonac settlement, securing a formal alliance with the Totonacs and prepared for a march towards Tenochtitlan. [78] [79]

The first major polity that they encountered on the way to Tenochtitlan was Tlaxcala. [80] Although the Tlaxcalans were initially hostile to the Spaniards and their allies, [81] they later permitted the Spaniards to enter the city. [82] [83] The Tlaxcalans negotiated an alliance with the Spaniards through Malinche and Aguilar. Later Tlaxcalan records of this meeting feature scenes where Malinche appears prominent, bridging the communication between the two sides as the Tlaxcalans presented the Spaniards with gifts of food and noblewomen to cement the alliance. [69] [84] After several days in Tlaxcala, Cortés continued the journey to Tenochtitlan by the way of Cholula, accompanied by a large number of Tlaxcalan soldiers. [69] [85]

The Spaniards were received at Cholula and housed for several days, until, as the Spaniards claimed, the Cholulans stopped giving them food, dug secret pits, built a barricade around the city, and hid a large Aztec army in the outskirt in preparation for an attack against the Spaniards. [86] [69] Somehow, the Spaniards learned of this plot, and, in a preemptive strike, assembled and massacred the Cholulans. [87] Later accounts specifically claimed that the plot was uncovered by Malinche. According to the version provided by Díaz, she was approached by a Cholulan noblewoman who promised her a marriage to the woman's son if she were to switch sides. Malinche, pretending to go along with the suggestion, learned from the woman about the plot, and reported all the details to Cortés. [88] [89] This story has often been cited as an example of Malinche's “betrayal” to her people. [13] However, the veracity of the story has been refuted by modern historians such as Hassig and Townsend. [89] [90] In particular, Hassig suggests that Cortés, seeking stronger native alliances leading up to the invasion of Tenochtitlan, worked with the Tlaxcalans to coordinate the massacre. Cholula had previously supported Tlaxcala before joining the Aztec Empire one or two years prior, and losing them as an ally was a hard hit for the Tlaxcalans, whose state was now completely encircled by the Aztecs. [91] [90] [92] Hassig and other historians assert that the attack on the Cholulans was a "litmus test" from the Tlaxcalans for the Spaniards' trustworthiness. [93] [92] In reality, Malinche's "heroic" discovery of the purported plot was likely a fabricated story meant to provide greater political justification to the Spanish authorities who had not been present for the massacre. [89]

The combined forces reached Tenochtitlan in early November 1519, and was met by Moctezuma in a causeway leading to the city. [94] Malinche was in the middle of this event, translating the conversation between Cortés and Moctezuma. [44] [95] Gomara writes that Moctezuma was "speaking through Malinche and Aguilar", although other records indicate that Malinche was already translating directly, [44] as she had quickly learned some Spanish herself. [54] [96] Moctezuma's flowery speech delivered through Malinche at the meeting has been claimed by the Spaniards to represent a submission, but this interpretation is not followed by modern historians. [42] [95] The deferential nature of the speech can be explained by Moctezuma's usage of tecpillahtolli, a Nahuatl register known for its indirection and complex set of reverential affixes. [42] [97] Despite Malinche's apparent ability to understand tecpillahtolli, it is possible that some nuances were lost in translation, [42] and the Spaniards, deliberately or not, might have misinterpreted Moctezuma's actual words. [95]

Following the fall of Tenochtitlán in late 1521 and the birth of her son Martín Cortés in 1522, Marina stayed in a house Cortés built for her in the town of Coyoacán, eight miles south of Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital city, while it was being rebuilt as Mexico City. Cortés took Marina to quell a rebellion in Honduras in 1524–1526 when she is seen serving again as interpreter (suggestive of a knowledge of Maya dialects beyond Chontal and Yucatán). While in the mountain town of Orizaba in central Mexico, she married Juan Jaramillo, a Spanish hidalgo. [98] Some contemporary scholars have estimated that she died less than a decade after the conquest of Mexico-Tenochtitlan at some point before February 1529. [99] [100] She was survived by her son Don Martín, who would be raised primarily by his father's family, and a daughter Doña María, who would be raised by Jaramillo and his second wife Doña Beatriz de Andrada. [101] Although Martín was Cortés's first-born son and eventual heir, his relation to Marina was poorly documented by prominent Spanish historians such as Francisco López de Gómara, who never referred to Marina by name, even in her work as Cortés's translator. [102] Even during Marina's lifetime, she spent little time with Martín, but her child with Cortés marked the symbolic beginning of the mestizo population in Mesoamerica among many scholars and historians following her death. [103]

Role in the conquest of Mexico Edit

For the conquistadores, having a reliable interpreter was important enough, but there is evidence that Marina's role and influence were larger still. Bernal Díaz del Castillo, a soldier who, as an old man, produced the most comprehensive of the eye-witness accounts, the Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España ("True Story of the Conquest of New Spain"), speaks repeatedly and reverentially of the "great lady" Doña Marina (always using the honorific title Doña). "Without the help of Doña Marina", he writes, "we would not have understood the language of New Spain and Mexico." Rodríguez de Ocaña, another conquistador, relates Cortés' assertion that after God, Marina was the main reason for his success.

The evidence from Indigenous sources is even more interesting, both in the commentaries about her role, and in her prominence in the codex drawings made of conquest events. Although to some Marina may be known as a traitor, she was not viewed as such by all the Tlaxcalan. In some depictions they portrayed her as "larger than life," [104] sometimes larger than Cortés, in rich clothing, and an alliance is shown between her and the Tlaxcalan instead of them and the Spaniards. They respected and trusted her and portrayed her in this light generations after the Spanish conquest. [104]

In the Lienzo de Tlaxcala (History of Tlaxcala), for example, not only is Cortés rarely portrayed without Marina poised by his side, but she is shown at times on her own, seemingly directing events as an independent authority. If she had been trained for court life, as in Díaz's account, her relationship to Cortés may have followed the familiar pattern of marriage among native elite classes. The role of the Nahua wife acquired through an alliance would have been to assist her husband achieve his military and diplomatic objectives. [105] [106]

Today's historians give great credit to Marina's diplomatic skills, with some "almost tempted to think of her as the real conqueror of Mexico." [107] In fact, old conquistadors on various occasions would remember that one of her greatest skills had been her ability to convince other Indians of what she herself could see clearly, which was that it was useless in the long run to stand against Spanish metal and Spanish ships. In contrast with earlier parts of Díaz del Castillo's account, after Marina's diplomacy began assisting Cortés, the Spanish were forced into combat on one more occasion. [108]

Had La Malinche not been part of the Conquest of Mexico for her linguistic gift, communication between the Spanish and the Indigenous would have been much harder. La Malinche knew to speak in different registers and tones between certain Indigenous tribes and people. For the Nahua audiences, she spoke rhetorically, formally, and high-handedly. This shift into formality gave the Nahua the impression that she was a noblewoman who knew what she was talking about. [109]

Malinche's image has become a mythical archetype that Hispanic American artists have represented in various forms of art. Her figure permeates historical, cultural, and social dimensions of Hispanic American cultures. [110] In modern times and in several genres, she is compared with the La Llorona (folklore story of the woman weeping for lost children), and the Mexican soldaderas (women who fought beside men during the Mexican Revolution) [111] for their brave actions.

La Malinche's legacy is one of myth mixed with legend, and the opposing opinions of the Mexican people about the legendary woman. Some see her as a founding figure of the Mexican nation, while others continue to see her as a traitor—as may be assumed from a legend that she had a twin sister who went North, and from the pejorative nickname La Chingada associated with her twin. [ citation needed ]

Feminist interventions into the figure of Malinche began in 1960s. The work of Rosario Castellanos was particularly significant Chicanas began to refer to her as a "mother" as they adopted her as symbolism for duality and complex identity. [112] Castellanos's subsequent poem "La Mallinche" recast her not as a traitor but as a victim. [113] Mexican feminists defended Malinche as a woman caught between cultures, forced to make complex decisions, who ultimately served as a mother of a new race. [114]

Today in Mexican Spanish, the words malinchismo and malinchista are used to denounce Mexicans who are perceived as denying their own cultural heritage by preferring foreign cultural expressions. [115]

Some historians believe that La Malinche saved her people from the Aztecs, who held a hegemony throughout the territory and demanded tribute from its inhabitants. Some Mexicans also credit her with having brought Christianity to the New World from Europe, and for having influenced Cortés to be more humane than he would otherwise have been. It is argued, however, that without her help, Cortés would not have been successful in conquering the Aztecs as quickly, giving the Aztec people enough time to adapt to new technology and methods of warfare. From that viewpoint, she is seen as one who betrayed the Indigenous people by siding with the Spaniards. Recently a number of feminist Latinas have decried such a categorization as scapegoating. [116]

President José López Portillo commissioned a sculpture of Cortés, Doña Marina, and their son Martín, which was placed in front of Cortés' house in the Coyoacan section of Mexico City. Once López Portillo left office, the sculpture was removed to an obscure park in the capital. [117]

A Killing Spree on the Way to Tenochtitlán

In the fall of 1518, he set off for Mexico on his own expedition with 600 soldiers and sailors and 16 horses on 11 ships. They landed on the Mexican coast in early 1519 at Tabasco on the Yucatan Peninsula, where he and his army defeated a group of natives. While there, Cortez managed to gain favor among other natives, and he fathered a son with a native woman named Marina, who also served as an interpreter. Cortez next conquered the city of Veracruz. It was at Veracruz where he began making plans to visit Montezuma and the Aztec Empire despite orders from Spain to cancel further explorations. On the way to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán, Cortez allied with several tribes that were enemies of the Aztecs and massacred others, possibly to instill fear among the Aztecs.

Hernan Cortes Biography

Hernan Cortes was a Spanish conquistador who defeated the Aztec Empire and claimed Mexico for Spain. Cortes was a pioneer for claiming lands in the Americas for European powers. After Cortes, other Spanish conquistador’s followed in his footsteps, such as Pizzaro who conquered the Inca Empire. Cortes is a controversial figure for his invasion and conquest of the Aztec Empire, but undoubtedly had tremendous influence in claiming Mexico for the Spanish monarchy – bringing Christianity and European culture to the Americas.

Cortes was born in Medellin, Spain, in 1485. His father was an army captain – of the lesser nobility, but poor. Cortes was sent away to be educated – hopefully, to be a lawyer. However restless with studying and life in small-town Spain, Cortes wished to travel to the Americas. He would undoubtedly have heard about the expedition of Christopher Columbus to the Americas. This journey created a wave of excitement about the possibilities of discovering wealth and power in the new lands to the west, and Cortes wished to be at the forefront of this new era.

“We Spaniards know a sickness of the heart that only gold can cure.”

Cortes was ambitious and was often considered haughty and proud by his contemporaries. Restless for adventure, in 1504, he travelled to Hispaniola (modern-day Haiti/Dominican Republic) to become a colonist. He took part in the conquest of Hispaniola and Cuba, which gave him a reward of land and Indian slaves. He also became clerk to the treasurer, where his administration and political skills brought him to the attention of the governor of New Spain, Diego Velazquez.

When news reached Hispaniola of untold riches on lands to the west, Velazquez allowed Cortes to mount an expedition to the mainland of Mexico. In 1519, with great enthusiasm and meticulous planning, Cortes assembled a fleet of six ships and 300 men and set sail within a month. However, Velazquez quickly resented Cortes’ growing ambition and influence, and Velazquez tried to recall him. But, fearing such an eventuality, Cortes had already set sail to Mexico.

His men disembarked on the coast near the city of Veracruz, where he gathered information about the great wealth which lay in the capital. Cortes had tremendous determination to march inland and conquer the Aztec Empire. Despite having only 300 men who were lightly armed, (about 13 handguns, 4 light cannons and 16 horses) Cortes was confident – feeling, like many conquistadors, they were doing the ‘work of God’ and under the banner of the Cross, they could not be defeated. However, facing overwhelming odds, not all his men felt the same and there was a reluctance to join Cortes on this seemingly impossible task with the odds stacked against the Spanish. However, Cortes wasn’t returning without success – so he had his own ships destroyed forcing his men to follow him into the interior of Mexico. There was no turning back.

Before reaching the capital, the Spanish faced fierce resistance from a tribe of Indians known as the Tlaxcalans. However, Cortes’ troops prevailed and he successfully encouraged them to join him in fighting the Aztecs (who the Tlaxacalans also hated). By October 1519, Cortes and his Indian allies arrived in Cholula, the second largest city and on route to the capital.

The king of the Aztecs was Montezuma II. He was all-powerful amongst his people, but it seems he feared the power of the white man from overseas. The description of Cortes matched a legend from Aztec legends about a God – Quetzalcoatl who was promised to one day return to the Aztecs.

Before Montezuma could attack the Spanish, Cortes sprung a surprise attack in Cholula, where many thousands of unarmed Indian nobles were massacred. This massacre filled the Aztecs with fear over the power of the invading force. By November, Cortes had accumulated a large army of Indian allies and were able to enter the capital, Tenochtitlán. Montezuma chose not to fight the Spanish. Instead, he invited them into the city and lavished them with wealth and gold. He hoped to attack them later when their defences were down.

But, the gifts of wealth only increased the ambition of the Spanish and Cortes had Montezuma arrested and put under house arrest. Cortes established Montezuma as a puppet ruler, and the Aztec capital effectively came under his control. Despite gaining Indian allies, it was still a stunning military victory by Cortes – given the imbalance in military forces.

The main challenge to Cortez – came not from the Aztecs – but another Spanish force, headed by Narvaez, which had been sent to Mexico with orders to arrest Cortez. Cortez returned to the coast and defeated this force.

Cortez then had to deal with an uprising in Tenochtitlan. The native population had rebelled against the ruler that Cortez had left in his stead. With additional Spanish troops Cortez was able to defeat the uprising and secure the important strategic town. Over the next few years, the Spanish succeeded in consolidating their power and established permanent colonies. The old Aztec capital was rebuilt as New Mexico and became the capital for Spanish-Mexico.

As well as seeking personal wealth and power, Cortes also felt the duty of a missionary Christian. During the conquest, he frequently tried to convert the natives to Christianity. Sometimes he was successful. He also asked the king to send mendicant friars to work as evangelists in the new lands. He feared that many Spanish priests would harm the religion because of their reputation for indulging in vices. The King agreed to send twelve Franciscan monks. The Franciscans became known as the 12 Apostles of Mexico and there was a strong alliance between Cortes and the Franciscans.

In a letter to Emperor Charles V, Cortes explains his evangelical fervour of this mission.

“I charged and enjoined much on the Spaniards to observe and comply with the orders I should give them in conducting the war with as great strictness as possible and that they should take fresh courage and spirits, since they saw that our lord was leading us to victory over our enemies for they knew that when we entered Tezcuco, we had not brought more than forty horse[s], and that God had succored us beyond our expectations, ships having arrived with horses, men, and arms, as they had seen and that they should consider especially, that we were fighting in behalf and for the spread of our faith, and to reduce to your Majesty’s service the lands and provinces that had rebelled a consideration which should inspire them with courage and zeal to conquer or die.” (Source)

For his capture of Mexico, Cortes was rewarded with lands and wealth. However, his haughty attitude and disobedience to the king’s commands meant he later was removed as governor of Mexico. This hurt the pride of Cortes because he felt that by rights, he deserved to rule the land he had conquered for the king. In 1541, he returned to Spain to petition the king to restore his position as ruler of New Mexico. However, the appeals were largely ignored, and Cortes spent the remaining years of his life in Spain. Despite the riches he gained in Mexico, the adventures had also cost him money. But he was mainly unhappy to be stripped of the power and prestige he felt he deserved. In his later letters, Cortes conveyed a feeling of betrayal, ingratitude and resentment at the way he was treated.

Cortes married twice. His first wife Catalina Súarez was a close relative of Velaquez. This was possibly to curry favour with Velaquez, but when they became politically estranged the marriage became awkward – especially because it was childless. In 1522, his first wife, Catalina died in mysterious circumstances. In 1529, he remarried the Spanish noblewoman – Doña Juana de Zúñiga. They had three children. Cortes also had illegitimate children with native Indians.

Letters of Hernan Cortes

The letters of Hernan Cortes to Emperor Charles V give an insight into Cortes’ mission. Obviously they are trying to portray his mission in the best possible light.

“Although they were subjects of Moctezuma, yet according to the information I received, they had been reduced to that condition by force, within a short period and when they had obtained through me some knowledge of your Highness, and of your great regal power, they declared their desire to become vassals of your Majesty, and to form an alliance with me. They also begged me to protect them against that mighty Lord, who used violent and tyrannical measures to keep them in subjection, and took from them their sons to be slain and offered as sacrifices to his idols with many other complaints against him, in order to avoid whose tyranny they embraced the service of your Majesty, to which they have so far proved faithful, and I doubt not will continue so, since they have been uniformly treated by me with favor and attention.” (2nd letter)

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Biography of Hernan Cortes”, Oxford, UK. Published 26 June 2019.

Conquest: Montezuma, Cortes, and the Fall of Old Mexico

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Biography of Hernán Cortés (1485-1547)

Famous conqueror of Mexico, born in Medellín (Extremadura) in 1485 and died in Castilleja de la Cuesta (near Seville) December 2, 1547. Vilified and glorified like no other Spanish conqueror, with the exception perhaps of Francisco Pizarro, he/she defeated the Aztec Confederation and was founder of the colonial Mexico.

The formation of a conqueror

Cortes was son of a few poor noblemen, the Martín Cortés Squire, said the father Las Casas, and Catalina Pizarro Altamirano, daughter of the Countess of Medellin, according to the chronicler Francisco López de Gomara. He/She was a sickly child who, on reaching fourteen was sent to Salamanca with his paternal aunt Inés de Paz, because his parents wanted to study law at the University. In this city lived for two years, during which he/she studied grammar and latin with Francisco Núñez de Valera, although it did not enter the University so, he/she returned to Medellín, with the consequent disgust of their parents.

Young hustle and friend of weapons, in 1501 he/she decided to embark on the expedition of Ovando to Indies, but prevented him the trauma he/she suffered after falling from a wall when it was about a married Lady. To recover is headed to Valencia to embark to Italy with the troops of the Great Captain, but also failed to do so. After wandering through the Spanish cities for a year, he/she returned to Medellín, and announced to her parents her desire to go to America. In 1504, with nineteen years, departed for the end for the long-awaited Indies.

Once in Santo Domingo, Cortés stayed some time in the capital. There he/she enlisted in the host of Diego Velázquez, which sojuzgó the indigenous rebellion of the cacica Anacaona. That was the only military action cortesiana before the conquest of the Aztec Confederation. At the end of the campaign, he/she was rewarded with a repartimiento of natives in Daiguao and the clerk of the city of Azua, city who helped found. He/She lived there five or six years of income which the entrusted indigenous paid dedicated to galantear different ladies.

In 1509 became the Spanish Governor Diego Columbus with a large retinue of marriageable Spanish, among them came Catalina Juárez, which had intimate relationships, and two years later joined the expedition of Diego Velázquez to conquer Cuba. Apparently, on that occasion it did not act as a soldier, but as Secretary or Treasurer of Velázquez. Cortés was involved then in a conspiracy of the conquistadors of Cuba against Velázquez, which they accused of fraud to the Royal Treasury. He/She had the opportunity to show then the Machiavellian political mood that leading him to fame and wealth. Juan Juárez, a companion of Cortes, came in moments from Santo Domingo, accompanied by her sisters and her mother, one of his sisters was Catalina Juárez, La Marcaida, which engaged in relations with courts Velazquez on the other hand, fell in love with another of the Sisters of Juan Juárez that got married. This was tapped by cuts to make a pact with Velázquez, whose friendship sealed with a family Alliance to marry Catalina Juárez, link in which Velazquez served as Godfather, and thus become his relative. This interested friendship earned him an encomienda of Indians in Manicarao and the possession of a herd cows, sheep and mares. With the passage of time, Cortés became a rich man and had a daughter with an Indian, who sponsored the Velázquez Governor.

In 1519, the Spanish prepared from Cuba the assault an empire located in the West, identifiable with the Aztecs. Velázquez then prepared an expedition to Yucatan, whose costa had just tour Fernández of Córdoba and Grijalba, and put his friend cuts in front of her. In theory, it was on the Mexican Coast exchanges with indigenous people and discover the secrets of the Earth. Despite modest plan, cuts raised a host of three hundred men, which departed abruptly from Santiago to avoid that Velázquez revoked the appointment, actually did shortly after starting. In Trinidad, joined other two hundred Spaniards, and later in Havana and Cape San Anton joined him some more.

The armed cortesiana left Cuba on February 10, 1519, with eleven ships, aboard which were about 109 sailors, 508 soldiers, 32 ballesteros, 13 escopeteros, 16 riders and 200 Indians of service, as well as some blacks. His artillery consisted of 10 guns of bronze and 4 harquebus. Arriving at the island of Cozumel, Cortés rescued the Spanish Jeronimo de Aguilar, who had been eight years in the Yucatan coast because of a shipwreck. Aguilar spoke maya, and was a valuable aid to understanding with the natives of that region. Navigation continued along the coast of Yucatan to the mouth of the Grijalva River, where they had a fight with natives of Tabasco, which killed two Spaniards and eight hundred Indians. Peace was negotiated through Aguilar, the delivery of food and 20 women, among which was the famous Doña Marina, which was to become lover and Adviser of cuts that obtained in Exchange for the cessation of hostilities. Marina, the Malinche, spoke nahuatl and the language of Tabasco or mayance, who was it who had learned Aguilar, which cuts secured communication with the natives.

The March to Tenochtitlan

The project of Hernán cuts wasn't the do bailouts and trade on the coast, so it went directly to San Juan de Ulúa There, contrary to the orders of Velázquez, landed and set up a real, or camp. Two days later came an Aztec Embassy with present (pieces of gold, fine clothes and ornaments), which confirmed the richness of the distant Empire, whose existence was confirmed at every step. Cuts invited your generous hosts to a mass sung by two priests at the end of which informed them that the Spaniards were Christian and subjects of the greatest Emperor of the world, les regao beads of glass, a Chair of hips and a hat and he/she asked for an interview with their monarch. The interview ended with an exhibition of horses running along the beach and numerous shots of artillery, which deeply impressed the natives.

The next week came another Aztec Embassy with more present (two large gold and silver wheels, grains of gold, fine cotton clothes, animals, etc.) and the response of its monarch, who refused to receive the Spaniards. Cortés stayed with gifts, sent others, and again insisted in the interview. A few days after arrived a third Embassy to notify courts that their King could not receive them and provoked them to take what they needed anes leave the country.

Aztec Riches decided to cut to end the pantomime of bailouts, becoming conqueror, and rebel against the Governor Velázquez. Promoted to this end a riot: its addicts asked him then to disobey orders to trade and he/she was forced to populate the Earth. Courts resorted to one of their classic ploys, since it stated to be surprised by the request and asked a night time to think if he/she accepted. The next day, imposed that name him captain general and justice and give you the fifth Royal of the loot obtained, after taken the fifth of the King. This institutional '' strike '' was consolidated between 5 and 19 July 1519 by the Foundation of a population, the Villa Rica de la Veracruz, who chose a Cabildo addicted to courts its first mayors were Portocarrero Hernández and Montejo. Since then, and until October 12, 1522, in which the Council of the Indies acquitted of the accusation of treason by the Governor Velázquez, Cortés was rebel and usurper of a title that was not him. As such rebel, he/she undertook the conquest of Mexico.

The strategy's approach to the Aztec Empire was very thoughtful, and reproduced some of the tactics employed in the Spanish reconquista. Cuts sought support of Cempoala, port and went to the village of Quiahuiztla, where tightened relations with the Totonacas, who offered to deliver them from the taxes that they paid to the Aztecs. After building up the population of Veracruz, he/she undid a plot of the velazquistas, accepted the offering of numerous women (with the condition that be baptised for them then spread as lovers to their captains), urged the Indians to abandon their gods and their homosexual practices and destroyed the images of gods found in a temple or near cu, where command a cross and say mass. Cuts ended this stage Spain sending attorneys with the fifth Royal Carlos V and his first letter of relationship over the territory. In a gesture of great symbolic importance, he/she also ordered destroy ships, so that no one could return to Cuba to inform of their rebellion. In addition, reinforced its host with a hundred sailors that manning them.

On August 16, 1519 Cortes and his host undertook the final conquest of the great Tenochtitlan they were four hundred infants, fifteen or sixteen riders, and thousand three hundred Indian totonac allies. Villa Rica were about hundred and fifty men, most of them sick or useless, under the orders of Escalante Gutiérrez. By Council of the totonac Spaniards is headed to Tlaxcala, a Confederacy of four Nahua peoples, traditional enemy of the Aztecs. Tlascalans refused offer of Alliance of cuts and defended heroically for several days, after which it decided to negotiate peace. Was then repeated delivery of indias Spaniards After 20 days in Tlaxcala, the host cortesiana, now accompanied by numerous warriors tlaxcaltecas, went to Cholula, Aztec Holy City, where a terrible killing occurred. According to the Conqueror, the Aztecs had laid him there a trap to prevent that you happened to Tenochtitlan. The trap was discovered by Doña Marina nearly three thousand natives were killed by Spaniards and Tlaxcalans allies on that occasion.

The March towards the Valley of Mexico from the host, passing through the towns of Amecameca, Chalco, Tlamanalco, Iztapalapa, was the next act of conquest. In Iztapalapa expected the Spaniards and their allies an Embassy consisting of Cuitláhuac and Cholloncan Kings, which led them to Tenochtitlan. There he/she received Motecuhzoma, which arose about litter, surrounded by gentlemen and all a ceremonial device around. Cortes and his soldiers were deeply impressed. It was on November 8, 1519.

The fabulous Aztec World

Moctezuma, who had the charge of Huey Tlatoani or Aztec Emperor led the newcomers to the Palace of Axayacatl, where they were housed. The Spaniards then visited the city, which impressed them greatly: it was a Lake City, linked to the Mainland by four walkways, with a huge population (between 150,000 and 300,000 inhabitants), which received drinking water from a large aqueduct. It had the low houses with roofs and a monumental of great temples, among which highlighted the greatest or great Cu, from where it departed walkways. The main temple was a large pyramid of fourteen hundred seats at the top were the shrines of the gods (of the war) Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc (of rain).

Relations with the Aztecs were good at the beginning, with mutual visits of Cortés and Motecuhzoma, but worsened as the purposes of permanence of the Spaniards were most apparent. Cortés then realized that his troop faced a very compromising situation, because it was locked in a Palace located in a huge city, which could only leave the roads going to the Mainland.It then took the decision to seize the person of the Tlatoani and hold it hostage, what justified with the argument that Motecuhzoma had been commanded to attack the Spaniards in Veracruz. Demonstrating a great recklessness, on 14 November arose in his palace accompanied by their captains and forced him to move to his as a prisoner. The Aztec monarch then received several embassies of his people who asked if they attacked the Spanish, but he/she committed the weakness of not giving such an order. He/She had to attend so unarmed to the burning of the subjects who had attacked the Spaniards in Villa Rica "obeying" his orders on that occasion, Cortés showed an unnecessary cruelty.

Since that time, the Conqueror felt strong, lost the prudence and undertook various actions, since he/she sent reform Veracruz, explore the territory in search of gold and find a good port. In addition, it took several Aztec Lords as so-called "conspirators" against the Spaniards and ordered Motecuhzoma to plead vassal of Carlos V, which sent the treasure of the Palace of Axayacatl and the loot obtained in Aztec cities. The chronicler Bernal Díaz stated that this booty was 600,000 pesos, apart from numerous jewels and gold ingots, but cuts priced it at only 162.000 After separating its part and the quinto real, it paid the expenses of the expedition and suffered losses and gave the rest. Each soldier received only one hundred pesos discontent among the troop was silenced by courts with deliveries of gold under the rope to protesting more.

Then came the news that had arrived in San Juan de Ulúa, a Spanish force of fourteen hundred men, eighty horsemen and ten or twelve guns sent by the Governor Velázquez from Cuba to the polite "rebel". Decided to then deal with his countrymen, aware of that could not withstand an attack of the newcomers and the Aztecs. After leaving Tenochtitlan in hundred and twenty men under the command of Pedro de Alvarado, he/she left with the remaining eighty to the coast, and received the velazquistas with promises of wealth. On 28 may, without the minor fight, cuts was hailed by all, and returned to Tenochtitlan in front of thousand three hundred soldiers, and ninety-six riders, eighty ballesteros and equal number of escopeteros and two thousand Tlaxcalans allies. Approaching to the Aztec capital, he/she went directly to the Palace of Axayacatl, where he/she found his encircled men in an act of enormous stupidity, Alvarado had rushed a massacre against the Aztecs in the party to Tezcatlipoca, who had enough to the natives, and decided them to put siege to the Spaniards. Cortés and his men were also caught in the same Palace, now openly attacking the Aztec warriors led by Cuauhtémoc, nephew of Motecuhzoma. To alleviate the situation, Cortés asked the Tlatoani prisoner who was directed to his people from the balcony of Palace and asked who would your attitude. The unfortunate Motecuhzoma knew then that he/she had been deposed, as the Council had instead appointed his cousin Cuitlahuac, Lord of Iztapalapa. The Aztecs threw stones to the Spaniards, and one of them gave Motecuhzoma, who died from their injuries, although another version indicates that he/she died of starvation by refusing to eat food.

The Spanish situation became unbearable and courts ordered the withdrawal of Tenochtitlan on June 30 of that year. It was the famous "Noche Triste". The Spaniards could not retire covered in darkness, and were discovered and attacked from the Lakes. They were so laden with booty that could barely defend themselves died about eight hundred soldiers and some five thousand Allied Indians. The vanguard escaped to a large extent, but almost all of the rearguard fell in Aztec hands. The withdrawal continued to Tlacopan, that night, took refuge in the temple and then to Otumba, where were able to redo against his pursuers. Finally, they were able to achieve their barracks in Tlaxcala.

The war of conquest

From the sad night, cuts carefully projected a war without quarter against the Aztec Confederation. After launching a campaign against Tepeaca, occupied Tepeyacac and founded Segura de la Frontera, which became a base of operations. From there, he/she managed to dominate the azteca Eastern region. The host was disciplined, were banned from the game and some malcontents were sent to Cuba. Finally, cuts reinforced its troop and sent a few brigs manufacture parts, which should allow the host move in the lacustrine environment of Tenochtitlan in Tlaxcala. On December 29, 1520 he/she left Tlaxcala to Texcoco with five hundred forty infants, forty Knights and a few ten thousand Tlaxcalans. Once in the Lakes, he/she ordered Assembly and discard the brigs and undertook an offensive to control its banks. Not all were wins, because it was on the verge of falling into the hands of the Aztecs twice and had to face an internal conspiracy, after which organized his own personal guard.

In May of 1520, the host cortesiana began the formal siege of Tenochtitlan the first thing was cutting drinking water from Chapultepec aqueduct and attack walkways that were going to the city. The situation of the besieged became desperate due to lack of water and by an epidemic of smallpox, a disease unknown to the Indians, who had brought from Cuba a black owned by the Navigator and conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez. Cuts employed scorched earth tactics at this stage and destroyed what was in their path. The Aztec resistance focused on Tlatelolco, where the Aztecs suffered equally Spanish barbarism and Tlaxcala. August 13, was the last offensive against the capital and many Indians fled in canoes. The captain García Holguín, who was aboard one of the brigs, captured the canoe that was fleeing the Tlatoani Cuauhtémoc, was taken prisoner in the presence of cuts. It was the end of the Aztec resistance. Tenochtitlan had withstood 85 days of siege, during which, as Bernal Díaz "not be found generation in the world that both suffered hunger and thirst and continuous wars, like this".

The Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca

Once accomplished the conquest, Hernán courts undertook the reconstruction of the Aztec capital into the Kingdom of the new Spain. It followed the uses of the Peninsula, with a ceremonial center in the plaza mayor, which contained the buildings of the Government, the Town Hall and the Cathedral. Despite the torment he/she underwent Cuauhtemoc and Lord of Tacuba so they confesasen where they had hidden treasures, the accomplished loot added 380,000 pesos, a relatively low amount. After the payment of fifths and expenses, they played one hundred pesos to horse and fifty to sixty infants everyone was unhappy, but Mexico had entered a new era.

The personal path of cuts since then met several variants. In the summer of 1522, Catalina Juárez appeared in the Palace of Coyoacán, which was the residence of the Conqueror three months later he/she died in strange circumstances. At the end of that same year came the title of Governor and captain general and justice of the new Spain, issued by Carlos V on October 15, as a reward for his exploits. However, the Crown, decided to avoid in America that his authority was discussed, surrounded himself you with a coterie of officials and prevented entrusted Indians or impose them tributes. In those years, it also appears the Cortes colonizer, who embarks on a campaign to bring missionaries and import plants and cattle, and supports the exploration of the territory by sending his captains to Tehuantepec, Guatemala and El Salvador (Alvarado), Panuco (Sandoval), Honduras (solid), Jalisco and Nayarit (Francisco Cortes) and tries to discover the South Sea with a few brigs built in Zihuatanejo.

October 12, 1524, he/she embarked on his expedition to Honduras or the Hibueras, as I said then, to Olid, who had rebelled against him, following the same example, or perhaps to discover an interoceanic Strait posed was in that region. It was an expedition overland, with numerous Cavalry, Indians and some Aztec Lords, among them Cuauhtémoc. After passing through Orizaba, they followed the coast and wetlands, where deprivation and diseases decimated the troop entered. Before reaching Izancanac, cuts believed to have evidence that Cuauhtemoc had communicated with each other to promote an uprising in Mexico. After submitting to torment the ringleaders, ordered several of them, including Cuauhtemoc was hanged. The alleged plot of the Aztec leader seems to have been a result of the fear of cuts. The expedition continued until the men of González Dávila, who knew that Olid had been killed. Afterwards, Cortés explored the golfo Dulce, founded Puerto Caballos and return by sea to Mexico, where he/she learned that the official Royal had stripped him of the Government. It was January 24, 1526.

We then enter the years of litigation in courts, arriving until his death in Spain. Luis Ponce de León coroner opened trial of residence, but because of his death judgment passed into the hands of the Marcos Aguilar'slawyer, who also died unexpectedly. The new judge, Treasurer Estrada, banished to cuts in the capital and began to pick up accusations against. The Conqueror decided to travel to Spain to defend himself. On March 17, 1528 he/she returned to the peninsula with his captains Sandoval and Tapia, many colleagues, a good sum of gold ingots and a spectacular accompaniment composed of four native who did wonders with the feet, exotic birds, two Jaguars, etc. Landing in Palos de la Frontera took place on April 18. Cortés had missed their homeland 23 years He/She was 43 and rico. After writing to the Emperor and his friends, he/she went to Guadalupe to pray and pass galantear to Francisca de Mendoza, although it was already promised to Doña Juana de Zúñiga, niece of the Duke of Béjar.

Carlos V received cuts in Toledo in the autumn of 1528. The Emperor listened to their stories and awarded its services with the title of Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, the first given to an Indian. Although their appointments have ratified you, was not given by Governor of Mexico, fearing that had noble temptations. Despite its title and his marriage with Doña Juana de Zúñiga, Cortés was not accepted by the old Castilian nobility, who saw him as an upstart and criticized his ostentation. Tired of life in Castile, in the spring of 1530 Cortés set sail heading to Mexico. Two months was arrested in Santo Domingo, after which arrived at Veracruz.

When he/she arrived in the capital, the audience received him hostile and forbade him to reside in it. At the end of that year was held the second hearing, presided over by Ramírez de Fuenleal, who relaxed tensions, but then dismissed their claims. Cortés wanted to have 23,000 neighbors as vassals, while the audience insisted that the Crown had made him Lord of 23,000 people (residents multiplied by four the number of people). Because of dissensions cuts he/she locked himself in his palace of Cuernavaca, where organized his lordship and was devoted to Acclimate agricultural species.

His last dream of conqueror was to find another "New Spain" in the Pacific Ocean, which ordered the construction of six brigs in Acapulco and Tehuantepec. The first came out in 1532 with his cousin Diego Hurtado de Mendoza at the helm, but not passed the Banderas Bay, to the Northwest of Mexico. The second left Santiago in 1533 with two ships sent by Becerra and by Hernando Grijalva. Becerra ship went to California, from where he/she returned to Jalisco. The Grijalva discovered the Revillagigedo archipelago and returned to Acapulco. A third expedition in 1535 with three ships headed to California with the aim of establishing a formal colonization there. Cortes was in command of the enterprise when it received the order to return to Mexico to meet with the new viceroy of new Spain the Spanish colony founded by Cortés then became the first Viceroyalty of America.

Relations between the viceroy Mendoza y Cortes were cordial at first, but worsened when Mendoza interfered in their exploration plans. Cortés decided to go to Spain to claim, and left accompanied by his sons Luis and MartínVeracruz. He/She found very little receptivity to their demands, and perhaps in an attempt to achieve the favor of Emperor joined the famous expedition of Algiers in 1541, which was a personal disaster, since he/she lost a part of his fortune and suffered the scorn of Carlos V. Following the withdrawal of Algiers, Cortés returned to their lawsuits, but exhausted by the passage of the years decided to return to Mexico. The trip to Seville, where thought to embark, he/she did so with great difficulty and finally died in Castilleja de la Cuesta. The Conqueror of Mexico was 62 years old had lived long enough to see both the creation of the Indian Empire and the postponement of the men, who had been lighting it.



ARTEAGA GARZA and GUADALUPE PEREZ SAN VICENTE, Beatriz (ed.). Cedulario cortesiano. (Mexico: Jus, 1949)CORTÉS, H. relationship charts, (Edition of Angel Delgado Gómez), (Madrid: Editorial Castalia, 1993).GAYANGOS, Pascual de (ed.). Letters and relations of Hernán Cortés to Emperor Carlos V. (Paris: A. Chaix, 1866). Cortés, letters and documents. (Mexico: Porrúa, 1963).SOLANO ROMERO, Luis. Expedition to the Moluccas-1527 cortesiana. (Mexico: Jus, 1950).

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