Cortes Enters Aztec Capital

Cortes' advanced into the heart of the Aztec Empire was helped by the belief of Montezuma, that a pale-skinned god, by the name of Quetzalcoatl, would come and take control of the empire. Montezuma sent sacks of gold to Cortes hoping to convince him to turn back.The gold had the opposite effect, spurring the Spanish forward. Montezuma seemed unsure what to make of Cortes when he arrived. He welcomed Cortes and gave him luxurious quarters. Montezuma offered to make Cortes emperor of his empire. Cortes sensed that Montezuma feared him, but also understood that he and his men were very vulnerable- being surrounded by thousands of Aztec warriors, inside a city surrounded by water. Cortes decided to seize Montezuma and hold him as a hostage. Montezuma was held as hostage for many months. During this time the Spanish looted the gold in the city, melting down jewelry to make gold bars.