CORTEs Conquers The Aztec Empire

The Aztec Empire was a Native American state that ruled much of what is now modern-day Mexico from 1428 to 1521. Its capital, Tenochtitlan, was one of the largest and most advanced cities in the world when it was captured. Hernán Cortés led a small group of well-armed Spanish soldiers who defeated an empire with tens of thousands of troops. Learn More About Aztec
Hernán Cortés had been living in Cuba, where he had actively participated in its conquest. Cortés and other Spaniards heard rumors of gold and a great civilization on the mainland. He secured a charter from the Spanish governor to explore and exploit whatever land he found. At the last minute, the governor revoked his charter, but Cortés sailed anyway. He took a small fleet of 11 ships and 600 Spanish soldiers in search of the rumored gold.  Learn More About Cortes
In March of 1519, Cortes landed on the Yucatan Peninsula, now part of Mexico.  There he met a Native American princess named Malintzin.  Malintzin knew a number of Native American Languages and soon became Cortes' translator.  She told him about the Aztecs.  Cortes marched inland in April towards the Aztec capital. More on Malintzin
Cortés entered the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan without opposition. The Aztec king was curious to learn more about the Spaniards. Cortés and his men soon took Montezuma hostage and began looting the empire's gold. While Cortés was fighting a Spanish force on the coast, his men massacred Aztec priests, sparking a revolt.
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