Cortez The conquistador

Cortez rocking a turtle neck

Hernán Cortés, Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca, was born in Spain in the year 1485. The son of lower nobility, he came into life with a good family name and some social prestige.

Determined to make his fortune in the New world, Cortez sailed to America for the first time at age 19.

He joined an expedition to Cuba under the command of Diego Velazquez. After pillaging Cuba, Cortez settled in as a government official, eventually achieving the rank of Mayor of Santiago.

Restless to lead an expedition himself, Cortez proposed an expedition to Mexico. Velazquez denied his request. But Cortez didn't listen.

Cortez set sail in the fall of 1518 with 11 ships and some 500 men. His actions were illegal. He had been commanded by the authorities not to go to Mexico. When he returned he knew he would face charges but his illegal expedition would lead him to a people never before contacted by the European explorers. Today we know them as......
A people defined by their military strength, engineering genius, and strange religious practices.
The Aztecs did indeed practice human sacrifice. Scroll back up to witness the horror one more time.
Despite their barbaric religious practices (basically sacrificing people until they thought their gods had been appeased), the Aztecs had a highly advanced social system Including universal education, advanced medication distribution, and even popcorn!

When Cortez came to Mexico, the Aztec empire was at its peak.

Spanning some 80,000 square miles it occupied most of central America. (cite that please).

With a massive empire came massive cities. This image depicts Tenochtitlan as it would have appeared when Cortez arrived.

And with those cities came temples that were massive.

Unfortunately, Cortez didn't see the good in the Aztec Empire, and to took no sorrow in slaughtering their population, and pillaging their villages.

Within two years the millions-strong Aztec empire collapsed.

Now you may be wondering, how did this empire fall so quickly? After all Montezuma did have the entire Aztec Army at his disposal. What caused the Aztecs to lose? Here are a few main reasons:

Reason One

The first reason is Cortez himself. He had set his sights on conquering Mesoamerica. It didn't matter that he was severely outnumbered and completely unauthorized, he was going to conquer the Mesoamerican people what ever it took. Please note that Cortez was the psychopath who burnt his ships when he reached Mexico, so as "to motivate his troops" to stop thinking about going back to Cuba. The Aztecs and I really wish he had fallen overboard.

Another reason the Aztecs fell was because of this guy, Montezuma II. Instead of killing the Spaniards as soon as possible, he welcomed them into to the city.

Bad Idea?

There was a reason for his open-arms policy with the Spanish. There was a Aztec prophecy that a white skinned and bearded god would some day return, take control of the Aztec Empire, and establish world peace.

not a Aztec god

Do you see why Montezuma was friendly with the Spanish? It would have been a very bad thing if he had ordered the death of Cortez only to find out he was the god from the prophecy. In a religion that practiced human sacrifice, insulting a god was not your best survival plan.

Reason Two

Superior War Technology

The Spanish were fighting with guns, cannons, trained dogs, light and very sharp swords, and trained horses. The Aztecs were fighting with these:

Heavy, wooden, and outdated, these seemingly fearsome weapons were no match for Spanish weaponry.

Along with more advanced weapons, the Spanish enjoyed greater protection with steel plated armor, while the Aztecs had to do with the skins of wild beasts and their feather plumes.

Not to mention the Spanish would have been taller than the Aztecs.

Reason Three

Montezuma and his people were hated by the surrounding tribes and cities. By expanding their empire with blunt force, the Aztecs were left friendless. The nation-states conquered by the Aztecs were quick to join with the Spanish to overthrow their hated Emperor.

Reason Four


The Spanish were immune carriers of the disease, the Aztecs were not. The disease racked havoc in the Aztec empire, ultimately resulting in the death of thousands.

In the end

Cortez was named governor of the newly conquered territory, and the Aztec empire continued to crumble until it was nothing but the stuff of legend.

Oldman Cortez

Cortez's reign over Mexico was a troubled one. After returning from putting down a rebellion in Honduras, Cortez found his governorship had been stolen. He retired to Spain in 1540. But in the end he did get his face on money.

What has Cortez done to the modern world?
Cortez's invasion led to the Spanish inhabiting Mexico, which has resulted in the modern day nation of Mexico.

One very notable effect of Cortez's invasion was the complete destruction of the Aztec culture. Catholicism was introduced or forced into the daily lives of the natives. The many diverse tongues were destroyed to make way for Spanish. All in all, Cortez has had more negative effects on South America than good ones.

Some scars are too deep. The horrors of the Cortez invasion have never completely left the minds of the Mesoamericans people. Cortez's invasion has left the natives of that region hurt for centuries. With his brash European ways Cortez ripped apart an extremely diverse and delicate culture. In truth the destruction of any culture should never be forgotten, and those responsible never forgiven. What Cortez did to the Aztecs was by all means wrong. And the descendants of the Aztecs have never forgotten.

Now that you have so thoroughly read this presentation, click on the button below.

Included below is a Biography of Cortez

Was that Fricking Ligit or What?

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Ibrahim Hunsaker

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