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Hernán Cortés

Hernán Cortés

Overview
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca (erˈnaŋ korˈtes de monˈroj i piˈθaro; 1485 – December 2, 1547) was a Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 Conquistador
Conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 under the rule of the King of Castile
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

 in the early 16th century. Cortés was part of the generation of Spanish colonizers that began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

.

Born in Medellín, Spain
Medellín (Spain)
Medellín is a village in the province of Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain, notable as the birthplace of Hernán Cortés in 1485 and the site of the Battle of Medellín, during the Peninsular War...

, to a family of lesser nobility, Cortés chose to pursue a livelihood in the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

.
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Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca (erˈnaŋ korˈtes de monˈroj i piˈθaro; 1485 – December 2, 1547) was a Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 Conquistador
Conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 under the rule of the King of Castile
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

 in the early 16th century. Cortés was part of the generation of Spanish colonizers that began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

.

Born in Medellín, Spain
Medellín (Spain)
Medellín is a village in the province of Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain, notable as the birthplace of Hernán Cortés in 1485 and the site of the Battle of Medellín, during the Peninsular War...

, to a family of lesser nobility, Cortés chose to pursue a livelihood in the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

. He went to Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

 and later to Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, where he received an encomienda
Encomienda
The encomienda was a system that was employed mainly by the Spanish crown during the colonization of the Americas to regulate Native American labor....

and, for a short time, became alcalde (magistrate) of the second Spanish town founded on the island. In 1519, he was elected captain of the third expedition to the mainland, an expedition which he partly funded. His enmity with the Governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar
Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar
Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar was a Spanish conquistador. He conquered and governed Cuba on behalf of Spain.-Early life:...

, resulted in the recall of the expedition at the last moment, an order which Cortés ignored. Arriving on the continent, Cortés executed a successful strategy of allying with some indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 against others. He also used a native woman, Doña Marina, as an interpreter; she would later bear Cortés a son. When the Governor of Cuba sent emissaries to arrest Cortés, he fought them and won, using the extra troops as reinforcements. Cortés wrote letters directly to the king asking to be acknowledged for his successes instead of punished for mutiny. After he overthrew the Aztec Empire, Cortés was awarded the title of Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca
Oaxaca
Oaxaca , , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca is one of the 31 states which, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 571 municipalities; of which 418 are governed by the system of customs and traditions...

, while the more prestigious title of Viceroy
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

 was given to a high-ranking nobleman, Antonio de Mendoza
Antonio de Mendoza
Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, Marquis of Mondéjar, Count of Tendilla , was the first viceroy of New Spain, serving from April 17, 1535 to November 25, 1550, and the second viceroy of Peru, from September 23, 1551 to July 21, 1552...

. Cortés returned to Spain in 1541 where he died peacefully but embittered six years later.

Because of the controversial undertakings of Cortés and the scarcity of reliable sources of information about him, it has become difficult to assert anything definitive about his personality and motivations. Early lionizing of the conquistadors did not encourage deep examination of Cortés. Later reconsideration of the conquistadors' character in the context of modern anti-colonial sentiment also did little to expand understanding of Cortés as an individual. As a result of these historical trends, descriptions of Cortés tend to be simplistic, and either damning or idealizing.

Name



While he is often now referred to as Hernán or Hernando Cortés (korˈteθ), in his time he called himself Hernando or Fernando Cortés (korˈtes). The names Hernán, Hernando and Fernando are all equally correct. The latter two were most commonly used during his lifetime, but the former shortened form has become common in both the Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 and English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

s in modern times, and is the name by which many people know him today.

Early life


Cortés was born in 1485 in the town of Medellín
Medellín (Spain)
Medellín is a village in the province of Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain, notable as the birthplace of Hernán Cortés in 1485 and the site of the Battle of Medellín, during the Peninsular War...

, in modern day Extremadura
Extremadura
Extremadura is an autonomous community of western Spain whose capital city is Mérida. Its component provinces are Cáceres and Badajoz. It is bordered by Portugal to the west...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. His father, Martín Cortés de Monroy, born in 1449 to Rodrigo or Ruy Fernández de Monroy and his wife María Cortés, was an infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 captain
Captain (OF-2)
The army rank of captain is a commissioned officer rank historically corresponding to command of a company of soldiers. The rank is also used by some air forces and marine forces. Today a captain is typically either the commander or second-in-command of a company or artillery battery...

 of distinguished ancestry but slender means. Hernán's mother was Catalina Pizarro Altamirano. Through his mother, Hernán was the second cousin once removed of Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

, who later conquered the Inca Empire
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

 of modern-day Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 (not to be confused with another Francisco Pizarro who joined Cortés to conquer the Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

s), through her parents Diego Altamirano and wife and cousin Leonor Sánchez Pizarro Altamirano, first cousin of Pizarro's father. Through his father, Hernán was a twice distant relative of Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres, the third Governor of Hispaniola. His paternal grandfather was a son of Rodrigo de Monroy y Almaraz, 5th Lord of Monroy
Rodrigo de Monroy y Almaraz, 5th Lord of Monroy
Rodrigo de Monroy y Almaraz, 5th Lord of Monroy, was a Spanish nobleman and Feudal Lord, son of Hernán de Monroy y Rodríguez de las Varillas, 4th Lord of Monroy, and wife Isabel de Almaraz, Lady of Almaraz....

, and wife Mencía de Orellana y Carvajal.

Hernán Cortés is described as a pale, sickly child by his biographer, chaplain
Chaplain
Traditionally, a chaplain is a minister in a specialized setting such as a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam or lay representative of a religion attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, police department, university, or private chapel...

, and friend Francisco López de Gómara
Francisco López de Gómara
Francisco López de Gómara was a Spanish historian who worked in Seville, particularly noted for his works in which he described the early 16th century expedition undertaken by Hernán Cortés in the Spanish conquest of the New World...

. At the age of 14, Cortés was sent to study at the University of Salamanca
University of Salamanca
The University of Salamanca is a Spanish higher education institution, located in the town of Salamanca, west of Madrid. It was founded in 1134 and given the Royal charter of foundation by King Alfonso IX in 1218. It is the oldest founded university in Spain and the third oldest European...

 in west-central Spain. This was Spain's great center of learning, and while accounts vary as to the nature of Cortés's studies, his later writings and actions suggest he studied Law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 and probably Latin.

After two years, Cortés, tired of schooling, returned home to Medellín, much to the irritation of his parents, who had hoped to see him equipped for a profitable legal career. However, those two years at Salamanca
Salamanca
Salamanca is a city in western Spain, in the community of Castile and León. Because it is known for its beautiful buildings and urban environment, the Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. It is the most important university city in Spain and is known for its contributions to...

, plus his long period of training and experience as a notary, first in Seville and later in Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

, would give him a close acquaintance with the legal codes of Castile that helped him to justify his unauthorized conquest of Mexico.

At this point in his life, Cortés was described by Gómara as restless, haughty and mischievous. This was probably a fair description of a 16-year-old boy who had returned home only to find himself frustrated by life in his small provincial town. By this time, news of the exciting discoveries of Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 in the New World was streaming back to Spain.

Departure for the New World



Plans were made for Cortés to sail to the Americas with a family acquaintance and distant relative, Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres, the newly appointed governor of Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

 (currently Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

 and the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

), but an injury he sustained while hurriedly escaping from the bedroom of a married woman from Medellín prevented him from making the journey. Instead, he spent the next year wandering the country, probably spending most of his time in the heady atmosphere of Spain's southern ports of Cadiz
Cádiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

, Palos
Palos de la Frontera
Palos de la Frontera is a town and municipality located in the southwestern Spanish province of Huelva, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. It is situated some from the provincial capital, Huelva...

, Sanlucar, and Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

, listening to the tales of those returning from the Indies, who told of discovery and conquest, gold, Indians, and strange unknown lands. He finally left for Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

 in 1504 where he became a colonist.

Arrival


Cortés reached Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

 in a ship commanded by Alonso Quintero, who tried to deceive his superiors and reach the New World before them in order to secure personal advantages. Quintero's mutinous conduct may have served as a model for Cortés in his subsequent career. The history of the conquistadores is rife with accounts of rivalry, jockeying for positions, mutiny, and betrayal.

Upon his arrival in 1504 in Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

, the capital of Hispaniola, the 18-year-old Cortés registered as a citizen, which entitled him to a building plot and land to farm. Soon afterwards, Nicolás de Ovando
Nicolás de Ovando
Fray Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres was a Spanish soldier from a noble family and a Knight of the Order of Alcántara. He was Governor of the Indies from 1502 until 1509...

, still the governor, gave him a repartimiento
Repartimiento
The Repartimiento was a colonial forced labor system imposed upon the indigenous population of Spanish America and the Philippines. In concept it was similar to other tribute-labor systems, such as the mita of the Inca Empire or the corvée of Ancien Régime France: the natives were forced to do...

of Indians and made him a notary of the town of Azua de Compostela
Azua de Compostela
Azua de Compostela, also known simply as Azua, is a municipality of the Azua province in the Dominican Republic. It is the capital of Azua province, and is located 100 kilometres west of the national capital, Santo Domingo....

. His next five years seemed to help establish him in the colony; in 1506, Cortés took part in the conquest of Hispaniola and Cuba, receiving a large estate of land and Indian slaves for his efforts from the leader of the expedition.

Cuba


In 1511, Cortés accompanied Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar
Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar
Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar was a Spanish conquistador. He conquered and governed Cuba on behalf of Spain.-Early life:...

, an aide of the Governor of Hispaniola, in his expedition to conquer Cuba. Velázquez was appointed as governor. At the age of 26, Cortés was made clerk to the treasurer with the responsibility of ensuring that the Crown received the quinto, or customary one-fifth of the profits from the expedition.

The Governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez, was so impressed with Cortés that he secured a high political position for him in the colony. He became secretary for Governor Velázquez. Cortés was twice appointed municipal magistrate (alcalde
Alcalde
Alcalde , or Alcalde ordinario, is the traditional Spanish municipal magistrate, who had both judicial and administrative functions. An alcalde was, in the absence of a corregidor, the presiding officer of the Castilian cabildo and judge of first instance of a town...

) of Santiago
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city of Cuba and capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of the island, some south-east of the Cuban capital of Havana....

. In Cuba, Cortés became a man of substance with a repartimiento
Repartimiento
The Repartimiento was a colonial forced labor system imposed upon the indigenous population of Spanish America and the Philippines. In concept it was similar to other tribute-labor systems, such as the mita of the Inca Empire or the corvée of Ancien Régime France: the natives were forced to do...

(gift of land and Indian slaves), mines and cattle. This new position of power also made him the new source of leadership, which opposing forces in the colony could then turn to. In 1514, Cortés led a group which demanded that more Indians be assigned to the settlers.

As time went on, relations between Cortés and Governor Velázquez became strained. This all began once news of Juan de Grijalva
Juan de Grijalva
Juan de Grijalva was a Spanish conquistador. Some authors said he was from the same family as Diego Velázquez.He went to Hispaniola in 1508 and to Cuba in 1511....

, establishing a colony on the mainland where there was a bonanza of silver and gold, reached Velázquez; it was decided to send him help. Cortés was appointed Captain-General of this new expedition in October 1518, but was advised to move fast before Velázquez changed his mind. With Cortés’experience as an administrator, knowledge gained from many failed expeditions, and his impeccable rhetoric he was able to gather six ships and 300 men, within a month. Predictably, Velázquez’s jealousy exploded and decided to place the leadership of the expedition in other hands. However, Cortés quickly gathered more men and ships in other Cuban ports.

Cortés also found time to become romantically involved with Catalina Xuárez (or Juárez), the sister-in-law of Governor Velázquez. Part of Velázquez' displeasure seems to have been based on a belief that Cortés was trifling with Catalina's affections. Cortés was temporarily distracted by one of Catalina's sisters but finally married Catalina, reluctantly, under pressure from Governor Velázquez. However, by doing so, he hoped to secure the good will of both her family and that of Velázquez.

It was not until he had been almost 15 years in the Indies, that Cortés began to look beyond his substantial status as mayor of the capital of Cuba and as a man of affairs in the thriving colony. He missed the first two expeditions, under the orders of Francisco Hernández de Córdoba
Francisco Hernández de Córdoba (discoverer of Yucatán)
Francisco Hernández de Córdoba was a Spanish conquistador, known to history mainly for the ill-fated expedition he led in 1517, in the course of which the first European accounts of the Yucatán Peninsula were compiled.-1517 Expedition:...

 and then Juan de Grijalva
Juan de Grijalva
Juan de Grijalva was a Spanish conquistador. Some authors said he was from the same family as Diego Velázquez.He went to Hispaniola in 1508 and to Cuba in 1511....

, sent by Diego Velázquez to Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 in 1518.

Conquest of Mexico




In 1518 Velázquez put him in command of an expedition to explore and secure the interior of Mexico for colonization. At the last minute, due to the old gripe between Velázquez and Cortés, he changed his mind and revoked his charter. Cortés ignored the orders and went ahead anyway, in February 1519, in an act of open mutiny. Accompanied by about 11 ships, 500 men, 13 horses and a small number of cannons, he landed in the Yucatan Peninsula
Yucatán Peninsula
The Yucatán Peninsula, in southeastern Mexico, separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico, with the northern coastline on the Yucatán Channel...

 in Mayan territory. There, he met Geronimo de Aguilar
Gerónimo de Aguilar
Gerónimo de Aguilar O.F.M. was a Franciscan friar born in Écija, Spain. Aguilar was later involved with the 1519 Spanish conquest of Mexico, and with La Malinche he assisted Hernán Cortés in translating indigenous language to Spanish....

, a Spaniard who had survived from a shipwreck and joined the troops. Geronimo de Aguilar, a Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 priest, had learned Maya during his captivity, and could thus translate for Cortés. In March 1519, Cortés formally claimed the land for the Spanish crown
Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries , when Spain was ruled by the major branch of the Habsburg dynasty...

. He stopped in Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

 to hire more soldiers and obtain more horses. Then he proceeded to Tabasco
Tabasco
Tabasco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Tabasco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 17 municipalities and its capital city is Villahermosa....

 and won a battle against the natives, who did not want to welcome the Spaniards, during which time he received from the vanquished twenty young indigenous women and he converted them all. Among these women was La Malinche
La Malinche
La Malinche , known also as Malintzin, Malinalli or Doña Marina, was a Nahua woman from the Mexican Gulf Coast, who played a role in the Spanish conquest of Mexico, acting as interpreter, advisor, lover and intermediary for Hernán Cortés...

, his future mistress and mother of his child Martín. Malinche knew both the (Aztec) Nahuatl language and Maya, thus enabling Hernán Cortés to communicate in both. She became a very valuable interpreter and counselor. Through her help, Cortés learned from the Tabascans about the wealthy Aztec Empire and its riches.

In July 1519, his men took over Veracruz
Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

: by this act, Cortés dismissed the authority of the Governor of Cuba to place himself directly under the orders of Charles V. In order to eliminate any ideas of retreat, Cortés scuttled his ships. In Veracruz, he met some of Moctezuma's
Moctezuma II
Moctezuma , also known by a number of variant spellings including Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma and referred to in full by early Nahuatl texts as Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of Tenochtitlan, reigning from 1502 to 1520...

 tributaries and asked them to arrange a meeting with Moctezuma. Moctezuma repeatedly turned down the meeting, but Cortés was determined. Leaving a hundred men in Veracruz, Cortès marched on Tenochtitlan in mid-August 1519, along with 600 men, 15 horsemen, 15 cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

s, and hundreds of indigenous carriers and warriors. On the way to Tenochtitlan, Cortés made alliances with native American tribes such as the Nahuas of Tlaxcala
Tlaxcala (Nahua state)
Tlaxcala was a pre-Columbian city state of central Mexico.Tlaxcala was a confederation of four altepetl — Ocotelolco, Quiahuiztlan, Tepeticpac and Tizatlan — which each took turns providing a ruler for Tlaxcala as a whole.-History:Tlaxcala was never conquered by the Aztec empire, but was...

, the Tlaxcaltec
Tlaxcaltec
The Tlaxcalteca were an indigenous group of Nahua ethnicity that inhabited the Kingdom of Tlaxcala located in what is now the Mexican state of Tlaxcala.-Pre-hispanic history:...

, who had surrounded the Spanish and about 2,000 porters on a hilltop and the Totonac
Totonac
The Totonac people resided in the eastern coastal and mountainous regions of Mexico at the time of the Spanish arrival in 1519. Today they reside in the states of Veracruz, Puebla, and Hidalgo. They are one of the possible builders of the Pre-Columbian city of El Tajín, and further maintained...

s of Cempoala
Cempoala
Cempoala or Zempoala is an important Mesoamerican archaeological site located in the Úrsulo Galván Municipality, in the state of Veracruz...

. In October 1519, Cortés and his men, accompanied by about 3,000 Tlaxcalteca, marched to Cholula
Cholula (Mesoamerican site)
Cholula , was an important city of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, dating back to at least the 2nd century BCE, with settlement as a village going back at least some thousand years earlier. The great site of Cholula stands just west of the modern city of Puebla. Its immense pyramid exceeds the Pyramid...

, the second largest city in central Mexico. Cortés, either in a pre-meditated effort to instill fear upon the Aztecs waiting for him at Tenochtitlan or (as he later claimed when under investigation) wishing to make an example when he feared native treachery, infamously massacred thousands of unarmed members of the nobility gathered at the central plaza, then partially burned the city.

By the time he arrived in Tenochtitlan the Spaniards had a large army. On November 8, 1519, they were peacefully received by the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II
Moctezuma II
Moctezuma , also known by a number of variant spellings including Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma and referred to in full by early Nahuatl texts as Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of Tenochtitlan, reigning from 1502 to 1520...

, due to Mexican tradition and diplomatic customs. Moctezuma deliberately let Cortés enter the heart of the Aztec Empire, hoping to get to know their weaknesses better and to crush them later. He gave lavish gifts in gold to the Spaniards which enticed them to plunder vast amounts of gold. In his letters to Charles V, Cortés claimed to have learned at this point that he was considered by the Aztecs to be either an emissary of the feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl
Quetzalcoatl
Quetzalcoatl is a Mesoamerican deity whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and has the meaning of "feathered serpent". The worship of a feathered serpent deity is first documented in Teotihuacan in the first century BCE or first century CE...

 or Quetzalcoatl himself — a belief which has been contested by a few modern historians. But quickly Cortès learned that Spaniards on the coast had been attacked, and decided to take Moctezuma as a hostage in his own palace, requesting him to swear allegiance to Charles V.

Meanwhile, Velasquez sent another expedition, led by Pánfilo de Narváez
Pánfilo de Narváez
Pánfilo de Narváez was a Spanish conqueror and soldier in the Americas. He is most remembered as the leader of two expeditions, one to Mexico in 1520 to oppose Hernán Cortés, and the disastrous Narváez expedition to Florida in 1527....

, to oppose Cortés, arriving in Mexico in April 1520 with 1,100 men. Cortés left 200 men in Tenochtitlan and took the rest to confront Narvaez. He overcame Narváez, despite his numerical inferiority, and convinced the rest of Narvaez's men to join him. In Mexico, one of Cortés's lieutenants Pedro de Alvarado
Pedro de Alvarado
Pedro de Alvarado y Contreras was a Spanish conquistador and governor of Guatemala. He participated in the conquest of Cuba, in Juan de Grijalva's exploration of the coasts of Yucatan and the Gulf of Mexico, and in the conquest of Mexico led by Hernan Cortes...

, committed a massacre in the Main Temple
The massacre in the Main Temple, Tenochtitlán
The massacre in the Main Temple of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan was an episode in the Spanish conquest of Mexico which occurred on May 10, 1520....

, triggering a local rebellion. Cortés speedily returned to Mexico and proposed an armistice, attempting to support himself on Moctezuma, but the latter was stoned to death by his subjects on July 1, 1520 and Cortés decided to flee for Tlaxcala. During the Noche Triste
La Noche Triste
La Noche Triste on June 30, 1520, was an important event during the Spanish conquest of Mexico, wherein Hernán Cortés and his army of Spanish conquistadors and native allies fought their way out of the Mexican capital at Tenochtitlan following the death of the Aztec king Montezuma, whom the...

(30 June-1 July 1520), the Spaniards managed a narrow escape from Tenochtitlan across the causeway, while their backguard was being massacred. Much of the treasure looted by Cortés was lost (as well as his artillery) during this panicked escape from Tenochtitlán. After a battle in Otumba
Battle of Otumba
- Background :Around the end of March 1519, Hernán Cortés landed with a Spanish conquistador force at Potonchán on the coast of modern-day Mexico. Cortés had been commissioned by Governor Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar of Spanish-controlled Cuba to lead an expedition in the area, which was dominated by...

, they managed to reach Tlaxcala, after having lost 870 men. With the assistance of their allies, Cortés's men finally prevailed with reinforcements arriving from Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

. Cortés began a policy of attrition
Attrition warfare
Attrition warfare is a military strategy in which a belligerent side attempts to win a war by wearing down its enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and matériel....

 towards the island city of Tenochtitlán cutting off supplies and subduing the Aztecs' allied cities thus changing the balance and organizing the siege of Tenochtitlán, destroying the city.

In January 1521, Cortés countered a conspiracy against him, headed by Villafana, who was hanged. Finally, with the capture of Cuauhtémoc
Cuauhtémoc
Cuauhtémoc was the Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlan from 1520 to 1521...

, the Tlatoani
Tlatoani
Tlatoani is the Nahuatl term for the ruler of an altepetl, a pre-Hispanic state. The word literally means "speaker", but may be translated into English as "king". A is a female ruler, or queen regnant....

(ruler) of Tenochtitlán, on 13 August 1521, the Aztec Empire disappeared, and Cortés was able to claim it for Spain, thus renaming the city Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

. From 1521 to 1524, Cortés personally governed Mexico.

Appointment to governorship of Mexico and internal dissensions



Many historical sources have conveyed an impression that Cortés was unjustly treated by the Spanish Crown
Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries , when Spain was ruled by the major branch of the Habsburg dynasty...

, and that he received nothing but ingratitude for his role in establishing New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

. This picture is the one Cortés presents in his letters and in the later biography written by Gomara. However, there may be more to the picture than this. Cortés's own greed and vanity may have played a part in his deteriorating position with the king
"Cortés personally was not ungenerously rewarded, but he speedily complained of insufficient compensation to himself and his comrades. Thinking himself beyond reach of restraint, he disobeyed many of the orders of the Crown, and, what was more imprudent, said so in a letter to the emperor, dated October 15, 1524 (Ycazbalceta, "Documentos para la Historia de México", Mexico, 1858, I). In this letter Cortés, besides recalling in a rather abrupt manner that the conquest of Mexico was due to him alone, deliberately acknowledges his disobedience in terms which could not fail to create a most unfavourable impression."


King Charles I of Spain, who had become Holy Roman Emperor Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 in 1519, appointed Cortés as governor, captain general and chief justice of the newly conquered territory, dubbed "New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

 of the Ocean Sea". But also, much to the dismay of Cortés, four royal officials were appointed at the same time to assist him in his governing — in effect submitting him to close observation and administration. Cortés initiated the construction of Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, destroying Aztec temples and buildings and then rebuilding on the Aztec ruins what soon became the most important European city in the Americas. Cortés managed the founding of new cities and appointed men to extend Spanish rule to all of New Spain, imposing the encomienda
Encomienda
The encomienda was a system that was employed mainly by the Spanish crown during the colonization of the Americas to regulate Native American labor....

land tenure system in 1524. He also supported efforts to evangelize
The Roman Catholic Church and Colonialism
The Catholic Church during the Age of Discovery inaugurated a major effort to spread Christianity in the New World and to convert the Native Americans and other indigenous people. The missionary effort was a major part of, and a partial justification for the colonial efforts of European powers such...

 the indigenous people
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 to Christianity and sponsored new explorations. He then spent the next seven years establishing peace among the Indians of Mexico and developing mines and farmlands. Cortés was one of the first Spaniards to attempt to grow sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

 in Mexico and one of the first to import African slaves
Atlantic slave trade
The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the trans-atlantic slave trade, refers to the trade in slaves that took place across the Atlantic ocean from the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries...

 to early colonial Mexico. At the time of his death his estate contained at least 200 slaves who were either native Africans or of African descent.

In 1523, the Crown (possibly influenced by Cortés's enemy, Bishop Fonseca
Juan Rodríguez de Fonseca
Juan Rodriguez de Fonseca was a Spanish bishop, a courtier and bureaucrat whose position as chaplain to Queen Isabella enabled him to become a powerful counsellor to Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic Monarchs...

), sent a military force under the command of Francisco de Garay
Francisco de Garay
Francisco de Garay was a Spanish Basque conquistador. He was a companion to Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World and arrived in Hispaniola in 1493. Here he attracted attention when he encountered a large gold nugget worth four thousand pesos.- Jamaica:From 1514 to 1523...

 to conquer and settle the northern part of Mexico, the region of Pánuco
Pánuco (province)
The Province of Pánuco was a province of the Spanish colony of New Spain. It was probably discovered by Amerigo Vespucci in 1498, and later by Juan de Grijalva. It is located on the Mexican gulf coast centered around Santiestebán de Pánuco, from the river of Tuxpan and extending into the current...

. This was another setback for Cortés who mentioned this in his fourth letter to the King in which he describes himself as the victim of a conspiracy by his archenemies Diego Velázquez
Diego Velázquez
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist...

, Diego Columbus and Bishop Fonseca as well as Francisco Garay. The influence of Garay was effectively stopped by this appeal to the King who sent out a decree forbidding Garay to interfere in the politics of New Spain, causing him to give up without a fight.

From 1524 to 1526, Cortés headed an expedition to Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

 where he defeated Cristóbal de Olid
Cristóbal de Olid
Cristóbal de Olid was a Spanish adventurer, conquistador and rebel who played a part in the conquest of Mexico and Honduras.Born in Zaragoza, Olid grew up in the household of the governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar. In 1518 Velázquez sent Olid to relieve Juan de Grijalva, but en route a...

, who had claimed Honduras as his own under the influence of the Governor of Cuba Diego Velázquez. Fearing that Cuauhtémoc might head an insurrection in Mexico, he brought him with him in Honduras and hanged him during the journey. Raging over Olid's treason, Cortés issued a decree to arrest Velázquez, whom he was sure was behind Olid's treason. This, however, only served to further estrange the Crown of Castile
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

 and the Council of Indies, both of which were already beginning to feel anxious about Cortés's rising power.

Cortés's fifth letter to Charles V attempts to justify his conduct, concludes with a bitter attack on “various and powerful rivals and enemies” who have “obscured the eyes of your Majesty.” Unfortunately, the Holy Roman Emperor had little time for distant colonies (much of Charles's reign was taken up with wars with France
Italian Wars
The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Italian Wars or the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a series of conflicts from 1494 to 1559 that involved, at various times, most of the city-states of Italy, the Papal States, most of the major states of Western...

, the German Protestants
Schmalkaldic League
The Schmalkaldic League was a defensive alliance of Lutheran princes within the Holy Roman Empire during the mid-16th century. Although originally started for religious motives soon after the start of the Protestant Reformation, its members eventually intended for the League to replace the Holy...

 and the expanding Ottoman Empire
Ottoman wars in Europe
The wars of the Ottoman Empire in Europe are also sometimes referred to as the Ottoman Wars or as Turkish Wars, particularly in older, European texts.- Rise :...

), except insofar as they contributed to finance his wars. In 1521, year of the Conquest, Charles V was attending to matters in his German domains and Spain was ruled by Bishop (later Pope) Adrian of Utrecht, who functioned as regent. Velázquez and Fonseca persuaded the regent to appoint a commissioner with powers, (a Juez de residencia, Luis Ponce de León
Luis Ponce de León (governor of New Spain)
Luis Ponce de León was a Spanish judge and briefly the governor of New Spain, from July 4, 1526 to July 16, 1526.Luis Ponce de León was an educated man and a knight of Cordoba...

), to investigate Cortés's conduct and even arrest him. Cortés was once quoted as saying that it was "more difficult to contend against (his) own countrymen than against the Aztecs." Governor Diego Velázquez continued to be a thorn in his side, teaming up with Bishop Juan Rodríguez de Fonseca, chief of the Spanish colonial department, to undermine him in the Council of the Indies.

A few days after Cortés's return from his expedition, Ponce de León suspended Cortés from his office of governor of New Spain. The Licentiate then fell ill and died shortly after his arrival, appointing Marcos de Aguilar
Marcos de Aguilar
Marcos de Aguilar was briefly royal governor of New Spain .Marcos de Aguilar was a licenciado. He served in various judicial capacities in Seville...

 as alcalde mayor. The aged Aguilar also became sick and appointed Alonso de Estrada
Alonso de Estrada
Alonso de Estrada was a colonial official in New Spain during the period of Hernán Cortés's government, and before the appointment of the first viceroy...

 governor, who was confirmed in his functions by a royal decree in August 1527. Cortés, suspected of poisoning them, refrained from taking over the government. Estrada sent Diego de Figueroa to the south; but de Figueroa raided graveyards and extorted contributions, meeting his end when the ship carrying these treasures sank. Albornoz persuaded Alonso de Estrada to release Salazar and Chirinos. When Cortés complained angrily after one of his adherent's hand was cut off, Estrada ordered him exiled. Cortés sailed for Spain in 1528 to appeal to Emperor Charles V.

First return to Spain (1528)


In 1528, Cortés returned to Spain to appeal to the justice of his master, Charles V. Juan Altamirano and Alonso Valiente
Alonso Valiente
Alonso Valiente was a Spanish conqueror. He was Hernan Cortés' cousin and secretary. He was one of the first governors of Mexico City...

 stayed in Mexico and acted as Cortés' representatives during his absence. Cortés presented himself with great splendor before Charles V's court. By this time Charles V had returned and Cortés forthrightly responded to his enemy's charges. Denying he had held back on gold due the crown, he showed that he had contributed more than the quinto (one-fifth) required. Indeed, he had spent lavishly to rebuild Tenochtitlán, damaged during the siege that brought down the Aztec empire.

He was received by Charles with every distinction, and decorated with the order of Santiago
Order of Santiago
The Order of Santiago was founded in the 12th century, and owes its name to the national patron of Galicia and Spain, Santiago , under whose banner the Christians of Galicia and Asturias began in the 9th century to combat and drive back the Muslims of the Iberian Peninsula.-History:Santiago de...

. In return for his efforts in expanding the still young Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

, Cortés was rewarded in 1529 by being named the "Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca
Oaxaca
Oaxaca , , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca is one of the 31 states which, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 571 municipalities; of which 418 are governed by the system of customs and traditions...

"
(Marquis of the Oaxaca Valley), a noble title and senorial estate which was passed down to his descendants until 1811. The Oaxaca Valley was one of the wealthiest region of New Spain, and Cortés had 23 000 vassal
Vassal
A vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...

s. Although confirmed in his land holdings and vassals, he was not reinstated as governor and was never again given any important office in the administration of New Spain. During his travel to Spain, his property was mismanaged by abusive colonial administrators. He sided with local natives in a lawsuit. The natives documented the abuses in the Huexotzinco Codex
Huexotzinco Codex
The Huexotzinco Codex or Huejotzingo Codex is an eight-sheet document on amatl, a pre-European paper made in Mesoamerica. It is part of the testimony in a legal case against representatives of the colonial government in Mexico, ten years after the Spanish conquest in 1521. Huexotzinco is a town...

.

Return to Mexico



Cortés returned to Mexico in 1530 with new titles and honors, but with diminished power. Although Cortés still retained military authority and permission to continue his conquests, viceroy Antonio de Mendoza
Antonio de Mendoza
Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, Marquis of Mondéjar, Count of Tendilla , was the first viceroy of New Spain, serving from April 17, 1535 to November 25, 1550, and the second viceroy of Peru, from September 23, 1551 to July 21, 1552...

 was appointed in 1535 to administer New Spain's civil affairs. This division of power led to continual dissension, and caused the failure of several enterprises in which Cortés was engaged.

On returning to Mexico, Cortés found the country in a state of anarchy
Anarchy
Anarchy , has more than one colloquial definition. In the United States, the term "anarchy" typically is meant to refer to a society which lacks publicly recognized government or violently enforced political authority...

. There was a strong suspicion in court circles of an intended rebellion by Cortés, and a charge was brought against him that cast a fatal blight upon his character and plans. He was accused of murdering his first wife. The proceedings of the investigation were kept secret. No report, either exonerating or condemning Cortés, was published. Had the Government declared him innocent, it would have greatly increased his popularity; had it declared him a criminal, a crisis would have been precipitated by the accused and his party. Silence was the only safe policy, but that silence is suggestive that grave danger was feared from his influence.

After reasserting his position and reestablishing some sort of order, Cortés retired to his estates at Cuernavaca
Cuernavaca
Cuernavaca is the capital and largest city of the state of Morelos in Mexico. It was established at the archeological site of Gualupita I by the Olmec, "the mother culture" of Mesoamerica, approximately 3200 years ago...

, about 30 miles (48 km) south of Mexico City. There he concentrated on the building of his palace and on Pacific exploration. Remaining in Mexico between 1530 and 1541, Cortés quarreled with Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán
Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán
Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán or sometimes Nuño de Guzmán was a Spanish conquistador and colonial administrator in New Spain. He was Governor of the province of Pánuco from 1525–1533, and of Nueva Galicia from 1529–1534, President of the first Audiencia from 1528-30. He founded several cities in...

 and disputed the right to explore the territory that is today California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 with Antonio de Mendoza
Antonio de Mendoza
Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, Marquis of Mondéjar, Count of Tendilla , was the first viceroy of New Spain, serving from April 17, 1535 to November 25, 1550, and the second viceroy of Peru, from September 23, 1551 to July 21, 1552...

, the first viceroy. In 1536, Cortés explored the northwestern part of Mexico and discovered the Baja California Peninsula
Baja California Peninsula
The Baja California peninsula , is a peninsula in northwestern Mexico. Its land mass separates the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California. The Peninsula extends from Mexicali, Baja California in the north to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur in the south.The total area of the Baja California...

. Cortés also spent time exploring the Pacific coast of Mexico. The Gulf of California
Gulf of California
The Gulf of California is a body of water that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland...

 was originally named the Sea of Cortes by its discoverer Francisco de Ulloa
Francisco de Ulloa
Francisco de Ulloa was a Spanish explorer who explored the west coast of present-day Mexico under the commission of Hernán Cortés...

 in 1539. This was the last major expedition by Cortés.

Second return to Spain


After his exploration of Baja California, Cortés returned to Spain in 1541, hoping to confound his angry civilians, who had brought many lawsuits against him (for debts, abuse of power, etc.).

On his return he was utterly neglected, and could scarcely obtain an audience. On one occasion he forced his way through a crowd that surrounded the emperor's carriage, and mounted on the footstep. The emperor, astounded at such audacity, demanded of him who he was. "I am a man," replied Cortés proudly, "who has given you more provinces than your ancestors left you cities."

Expedition against Algiers



The emperor finally permitted Cortés to join him and his fleet commanded by Andrea Doria
Andrea Doria
Andrea Doria was an Italian condottiere and admiral from Genoa.-Early life:Doria was born at Oneglia from the ancient Genoese family, the Doria di Oneglia branch of the old Doria, de Oria or de Auria family. His parents were related: Ceva Doria, co-lord of Oneglia, and Caracosa Doria, of the...

 at the great expedition against Algiers
Algiers
' is the capital and largest city of Algeria. According to the 1998 census, the population of the city proper was 1,519,570 and that of the urban agglomeration was 2,135,630. In 2009, the population was about 3,500,000...

 in the Barbary Coast
Barbary Coast
The Barbary Coast, or Barbary, was the term used by Europeans from the 16th until the 19th century to refer to much of the collective land of the Berber people. Today, the terms Maghreb and "Tamazgha" correspond roughly to "Barbary"...

 in 1541, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and was used as a base by the famous Turkish corsair Hayreddin Barbarossa who was also the Admiral-in-Chief of the Ottoman Fleet. During this unfortunate campaign, which was his last, Cortés was almost drowned in a storm that hit his fleet while he was pursuing Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha, who managed to defeat the fleet of Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 for a second time after the 1538 Battle of Preveza
Battle of Preveza
The naval Battle of Preveza took place on 28 September 1538 near Preveza in northwestern Greece between an Ottoman fleet and that of a Christian alliance assembled by Pope Paul III.-Background:...

.

Last years and legacy


Having spent a great deal of his own money to finance expeditions, he was now heavily in debt. In February 1544 he made a claim on the royal treasury, but was given a royal runaround for the next three years. Disgusted, he decided to return to Mexico in 1547. When he reached Seville, he was stricken with dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

. He died in Castilleja de la Cuesta
Castilleja de la Cuesta
Castilleja de la Cuesta is a town and municipality in the province of Seville, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain.Hernán Cortés died in this town on December 2, 1547. He is not buried there however, because his remains were returned to Mexico as directed in his will...

, Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 province, on December 2, 1547, from a case of pleurisy
Pleurisy
Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, the lining of the pleural cavity surrounding the lungs. Among other things, infections are the most common cause of pleurisy....

 at the age of 62.

Like Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

, he died a wealthy but embittered man. He left his many mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

 and white children well cared for in his will, along with every one of their mothers. He requested in his will that his remains eventually be buried in Mexico. Before he died he had the Pope remove the "natural" status of three of his
children (legitimizing them in the eyes of the church), including Martin
Martín Cortés (son of doña Marina)
Martín Cortés el Mestizo was the first-born and illegitimate son of Hernán Cortés and Doña Marina...

, the son he had with Doña Marina (also known as La Malinche), said to be his favourite.

After his death his body has been moved more than eight times for several reasons. On December 4, 1547 he was buried in the mausoleum
Mausoleum
A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or persons. A monument without the interment is a cenotaph. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb may be considered to be within the...

 of the Duke of Medina in the church of San Isidoro del Campo, Sevilla. Three years later (1550) due to the space being required by the duke, his body was moved to the altar of Santa Catarina in the same church. In his testament, Cortés asked for his body to be buried in the monastery he had ordered to be built in Coyoacan in México, ten years after his death, but the monastery was never built. So in 1566, his body was sent to New Spain and buried in the church of "San Francisco de Texcoco", where his mother and one of his sisters were buried.

In 1629, Don Pedro Cortés fourth "Marquez del Valle, his last male descendant, died, so the viceroy decided to move the bones of Cortés along with those of his descendant to the Franciscan church in México. This was delayed for nine years, while his body stayed in the main room of the palace of the viceroy. Eventually it was moved to the Sagrario of Franciscan church, where it stayed for 87 years. In 1716, it was moved to another place in the same church. In 1794, his bones were moved to the "Hospital de Jesus
Hospital de Jesús Nazareno
The Church and Hospital of Jesús Nazareno are supposedly located at the spot where Hernán Cortés and Moctezuma II met for the first time in 1519, which was then the beginning of the causeway leading to Iztapalapa. Cortés ordered the hospital built to tend to soldiers wounded fighting with the...

" (founded by Cortés), where a statue by Tolsa and a mausoleum were made. There was a public ceremony and all the churches in the city rang their bells.

In 1823, after the independence of México, it seemed imminent that his body would be desecrated, so the mausoleum was removed, the statue and the coat of arms were sent to Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

, Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, to be protected by the Duke of Terranova. The bones were hidden, and everyone thought that they had been sent out of México. In 1836, his bones were moved to another place in the same building. It was not until 1947 that they were rediscovered thanks to the discovery of a secret document by Lucas Alaman
Lucas Alamán
Lucas Ignacio Alamán y Escalada was a Mexican scientist, politician, historian and writer. He studied at the Real Colegio de Minas de la Nueva España. He frequently traveled on his credentials as a scientist and diplomat, becoming one of the most educated men in Mexico...

. His body put in charge of the "Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia" INAH; it was authenticated and then restored to the same place, this time with a bronze inscription and his coat of arms. In 1981, when a copy of the bust by Tolsa was put in the church, there was a failed attempt to destroy his bones.

Children



Natural children of Hernán Cortés
  • doña Catalina Pizarro, born between 1514 and 1515 in Santiago de Cuba
    Santiago de Cuba
    Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city of Cuba and capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of the island, some south-east of the Cuban capital of Havana....

     or maybe later in Nueva España, daughter of doña Leonor Pizarro, perhaps relative of Cortés.
  • don Martín Cortés
    Martín Cortés (son of doña Marina)
    Martín Cortés el Mestizo was the first-born and illegitimate son of Hernán Cortés and Doña Marina...

    , born in Coyoacán
    Coyoacán
    Coyoacán refers to one of the sixteen boroughs of the Federal District of Mexico City as well as the former village which is now the borough’s “historic center.” The name comes from Nahuatl and most likely means “place of coyotes,” when the Aztecs named a pre-Hispanic village on the southern shore...

     in 1522, son of doña Marina (La Malinche), called the First Mestizo; about him was written The New World of Martín Cortés; married doña Bernaldina de Porras and had two children:
    • doña Ana Cortés
    • don Fernando Cortés, Principal Judge
      Judge
      A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as part of a panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open...

       of Veracruz
      Veracruz, Veracruz
      Veracruz, officially known as Heroica Veracruz, is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located in the central part of the state. It is located along Federal Highway 140 from the state capital Xalapa, and is the state's most...

      . Descendants of this line are alive today in Mexico.
  • don Luis Cortés, born in 1525, son of doña Antonia or Elvira Hermosillo.
  • doña Leonor Cortés Moctezuma
    Leonor Cortés Moctezuma
    Leonor Cortés Moctezuma was the illegitimate child of Hernan Cortés, conquistador of Mexico, and Isabel Moctezuma the eldest daughter of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II.-Background:...

    , born in 1527 or 1528 in Ciudad de Mexico, daughter of Aztec princess Tecuichpotzin (baptized Isabel), born in Tenochtitlan on July 11, 1510 and died on July 9, 1550, the eldest legitimate daughter of Moctezuma II Xocoyotzin and wife doña María Miahuaxuchitl; married to Juan de Tolosa
    Juan de Tolosa
    Juan de Tolosa was a Spanish Basque conquistador, possibly born in or near Tolosa, Spain. He discovered rich silver deposits near the present day city of Zacatecas, Mexico in 1546.-Founder of Zacatecas:...

    , a miner
    Miner
    A miner is a person whose work or business is to extract ore or minerals from the earth. Mining is one of the most dangerous trades in the world. In some countries miners lack social guarantees and in case of injury may be left to cope without assistance....

    .
  • doña María Cortés de Moctezuma, daughter of an Aztec princess; nothing more is known about her except that she probably was born with some deformity.


He married twice: firstly in Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 to Catalina Juárez Marcaida, who died at Coyoacán
Coyoacán
Coyoacán refers to one of the sixteen boroughs of the Federal District of Mexico City as well as the former village which is now the borough’s “historic center.” The name comes from Nahuatl and most likely means “place of coyotes,” when the Aztecs named a pre-Hispanic village on the southern shore...

 in 1522 without issue, and secondly in 1529 to doña Juana Ramírez de Arellano de Zúñiga, daughter of don Carlos Ramírez de Arellano, 2nd Count of Aguilar and wife the Countess doña Juana de Zúñiga, and had:
  • don Luis Cortés y Ramírez de Arellano, born in Texcoco in 1530 and died shortly after his birth.
  • doña Catalina Cortés de Zúñiga, born in Cuernavaca
    Cuernavaca
    Cuernavaca is the capital and largest city of the state of Morelos in Mexico. It was established at the archeological site of Gualupita I by the Olmec, "the mother culture" of Mesoamerica, approximately 3200 years ago...

     in 1531 and died shortly after her birth.
  • don Martín Cortés
    Martín Cortés, 2nd Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca
    Don Martín Cortés y Zúñiga, 2nd Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was the son of Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés by his second wife, Juana de Zúñiga, and was Cortés' designated heir. Don Martín shared his name with an elder half-brother, whose mother was doña Marina....

     y Ramírez de Arellano, 2nd Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, born in Cuernavaca
    Cuernavaca
    Cuernavaca is the capital and largest city of the state of Morelos in Mexico. It was established at the archeological site of Gualupita I by the Olmec, "the mother culture" of Mesoamerica, approximately 3200 years ago...

     in 1532, married at Nalda
    Nalda
    Nalda is a municipality of the autonomous community of La Rioja . It is located near the capital, Logroño. Its population at January 2006 was of 1,074 inhabitants and has 24.6 km extension.- History :...

     on February 24, 1548 his twice cousin once removed doña Ana Ramírez de Arellano y Ramírez de Arellano and had issue, currently extinct in male line
  • doña María Cortés de Zúñiga, born in Cuernavaca
    Cuernavaca
    Cuernavaca is the capital and largest city of the state of Morelos in Mexico. It was established at the archeological site of Gualupita I by the Olmec, "the mother culture" of Mesoamerica, approximately 3200 years ago...

     between 1533 and 1536, married to don Luis de Quiñones y Pimentel, 5th Count of Luna
  • doña Catalina Cortés de Zúñiga, born in Cuernavaca
    Cuernavaca
    Cuernavaca is the capital and largest city of the state of Morelos in Mexico. It was established at the archeological site of Gualupita I by the Olmec, "the mother culture" of Mesoamerica, approximately 3200 years ago...

     between 1533 and 1536, died unmarried in Sevilla after the funeral of her father
  • doña Juana Cortés de Zúñiga, born in Cuernavaca
    Cuernavaca
    Cuernavaca is the capital and largest city of the state of Morelos in Mexico. It was established at the archeological site of Gualupita I by the Olmec, "the mother culture" of Mesoamerica, approximately 3200 years ago...

     between 1533 and 1536, married Don
    Don (honorific)
    Don, from Latin dominus, is an honorific in Spanish , Portuguese , and Italian . The female equivalent is Doña , Dona , and Donna , abbreviated "Dª" or simply "D."-Usage:...

     Fernando Enríquez de Ribera y Portocarrero, 2nd Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules
    Alcalá de los Gazules
    Alcalá de los Gazules is a city located in the province of Cádiz, Spain. According to the 2006 census, the town has a population of 5,633 inhabitants...

    , 3rd Marquess of Tarifa
    Tarifa
    Tarifa is a small town in the province of Cádiz, Andalusia, on the southernmost coast of Spain. The town is located on the Costa de la Luz and across the Straits of Gibraltar facing Morocco. The municipality includes Punta de Tarifa, the southernmost point in continental Europe. There are five...

     and 6th Count of Los Molares
    Los Molares
    Los Molares is a city located in the province of Seville, Spain. According to the 2005 census , the city has a population of 2,874 inhabitants.-External links:* - Sistema de Información Multiterritorial de Andalucía...

    , and had issue

Disputed interpretation of his life


There are relatively few sources to the early life of Cortés; his fame arose from his participation in the conquest of Mexico and it was only after this that people became interested in reading and writing about him. Probably the best source is his letters to the king which he wrote during the campaign in Mexico, but they are written with the specific purpose of putting his efforts in a favourable light and so must be read critically. Another main source is the biography written by Cortés's private chaplain Lopez de Gómara, which was written in Spain several years after the conquest. Gómara never set foot in the Americas and knew only what Cortés had told him, and he had an affinity for knightly romantic stories which he incorporated richly in the biography. The third major source is written as a reaction to what its author calls "the lies of Gomara", the eyewitness account written by the Conquistador Bernal Díaz del Castillo
Bernal Díaz del Castillo
Bernal Díaz del Castillo was a conquistador, who wrote an eyewitness account of the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards for Hernán Cortés, himself serving as a rodelero under Cortés.-Early life:...

 does not paint Cortés as a romantic hero but rather tries to emphasize that Cortés's men should also be remembered as important participants in the undertakings in Mexico. In the years following the conquest more critical accounts of the Spanish arrival in Mexico were written. The Dominican friar Bartolomé de Las Casas
Bartolomé de Las Casas
Bartolomé de las Casas O.P. was a 16th-century Spanish historian, social reformer and Dominican friar. He became the first resident Bishop of Chiapas, and the first officially appointed "Protector of the Indians"...

 wrote his A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies
A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies
A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies is an account written by the Spanish Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas in 1542 about the mistreatment of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas in colonial times and sent to then Prince Philip II of Spain.One of the stated purposes for writing...

which raises strong accusations of brutality and heinous violence towards the Indians; accusations against both the conquistadors in general and Cortés in particular. The accounts of the conquest given in the Florentine Codex
Florentine Codex
The Florentine Codex is the common name given to a 16th century ethnographic research project in Mesoamerica by Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagún. Bernardino originally titled it: La Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva Espana...

 by the Franciscan Bernardino de Sahagún
Bernardino de Sahagún
Bernardino de Sahagún was a Franciscan friar, missionary priest and pioneering ethnographer who participated in the Catholic evangelization of colonial New Spain . Born in Sahagún, Spain, in 1499, he journeyed to New Spain in 1529, and spent more than 50 years conducting interviews regarding Aztec...

 and his native informants are also less than flattering towards Cortés. The scarcity of these sources has led to a sharp division in the description of Cortés's personality and a tendency to describe him as either a vicious and ruthless person or a noble and honorable cavalier.

Representations in México



In México there are few representations of Cortés. However, many landmarks still bear his name, from the castle in the city of Cuernavaca to some street names throughout the republic.

The only authentic monuments are in Mexico City at the pass between the volcanoes Iztaccíhuatl
Iztaccíhuatl
Iztaccíhuatl , is the third highest mountain in Mexico, after the Pico de Orizaba, , and Popocatépetl, . Its name is Nahuatl for "White woman"....

 and Popocatépetl
Popocatépetl
Popocatépetl also known as "Popochowa" by the local population is an active volcano and, at , the second highest peak in Mexico after the Pico de Orizaba...

 where Cortés took his soldiers on their march to Mexico City. It is known as the Paso de Cortés
Paso de Cortés
The Paso de Cortés is the mountain pass or saddle between the Popocatépetl and Ixtaccíhuatl volcanoes in central México. It thus forms part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, and is a place where the normally southeast-tending continental divide heads north for over 10 miles. The altitude of the...

.

The mural
Mural
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A particularly distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.-History:Murals of...

ist Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera
Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez was a prominent Mexican painter born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo . His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in...

 painted several representation of him but the most famous, depicts him as a powerful and ominous figure along with Malinche in a mural in the National Palace in Mexico City.

In 1981, President Lopez Portillo tried to bring Cortés to public recognition. First, he made public a copy of the bust of Cortés made by Manuel Tolsá
Manuel Tolsá
Manuel Tolsá was a prolific Neoclassical architect and sculptor in Spain and Mexico.-Biography:...

 in the Hospital de Jesús Nazareno
Hospital de Jesús Nazareno
The Church and Hospital of Jesús Nazareno are supposedly located at the spot where Hernán Cortés and Moctezuma II met for the first time in 1519, which was then the beginning of the causeway leading to Iztapalapa. Cortés ordered the hospital built to tend to soldiers wounded fighting with the...

 with an official ceremony, but soon a nationalist group tried to destroy it, so it had to be taken out of the public. Today the copy of bust is in the "Hospital de Jesús Nazareno" while the original is in Nápoles, Italy, in the Villa Pignatelli.
Later, another monument, known as "Monumento al Mestizaje" by Julián Martínez y M. Maldonado (1982) was commissioned by Lopez Portillo to be put in the "Zocalo" (Main square) of Coyoacan, near the place of his country house, but it had to be removed to a little known park, the Jardín Xicoténcatl, Barrio de San Diego Churubusco. The statue depicts Cortés, Malinche and their son.

There is another statue by Sebastián Aparicio, in Cuernavaca, was in a hotel "El casino de la selva". Cortés is barely recognizable, so it sparked little interest. The hotel was closed to make a commercial center, and the statue was put out of public display by Costco the builder of the commercial center.

Writings: the Cartas de Relación


Cortés' personal account of the conquest of Mexico is narrated in his five letters addressed to Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. These five letters, or cartas de relación, are Cortés's only surviving writings. See "Letters and Dispatches of Cortés", translated by George Folsom (New York, 1843); Prescott's "Conquest of Mexico" (Boston, 1843); and Sir Arthur Helps's "Life of Hernando Cortes" (London, 1871).

As one specialist describes them:
"The Cartas de relación have enjoyed an unequaled popularity among students of the Conquest of Mexico
Spanish conquest of Mexico
The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire was one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. The invasion began in February 1519 and was acclaimed victorious on August 13, 1521, by a coalition army of Spanish conquistadors and Tlaxcalan warriors led by Hernán Cortés...

. Cortés was a good writer. His letters to the emperor, on the conquest, deserve to be classed among the best Spanish documents of the period. They are, of course, coloured so as to place his own achievements in relief, but, withal, he keeps within bounds and does not exaggerate, except in matters of Indian civilization and the numbers of population as implied by the size of the settlements. Even there he uses comparatives only, judging from outward appearances and from impressions.

Historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

s, sociologists and political scientists use them to glean information about the Aztec Empire and the clash between the European and Indian cultures. However, as early as the 16th century doubt has been cast on the historicity of these Conquest accounts. It is generally accepted that Cortés does not write a true "history", but rather combines history with fiction. That is to say, in his narrative Cortés manipulates reality in order to achieve his overarching purpose of gaining the favor of the king. Cortés applies the classical rhetorical figure of evidentia as he crafts a powerful narrative full of "vividness" that moves the reader and creates a heightened sense of realism in his letters."


His first letter is lost, and the one from the municipality of Veracruz
Veracruz, Veracruz
Veracruz, officially known as Heroica Veracruz, is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located in the central part of the state. It is located along Federal Highway 140 from the state capital Xalapa, and is the state's most...

 has to take its place. It was published for the first time in volume IV of "Documentos para la Historia de España", and subsequently reprinted. The first carta de relación is available online at

The Segunda Carta de Relacion, bearing the date of October 30, 1520, appeared in print at Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 in 1522. The "Carta tercera", May 15, 1522, appeared at Seville in 1523. The fourth, October 20, 1524, was printed at Toledo
Toledo, Spain
Toledo's Alcázar became renowned in the 19th and 20th centuries as a military academy. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 its garrison was famously besieged by Republican forces.-Economy:...

 in 1525. The fifth, on the Honduras expedition, is contained in volume IV of the Documentos para la Historia de España. The important letter mentioned in the text has been published under the heading of Carta inédita de Cortés by Ycazbalceta. A great number of minor documents, either by Cortés or others, for or against him, are dispersed through the voluminous collection above cited and through the Colección de Documentos de Indias, as well as in the Documentos para la Historia de México of Ycazbalceta. There are a number of reprints and translations of Cortés's writings into various languages.

See also


  • Barbary pirates
  • "Cortez the Killer
    Cortez the Killer
    "Cortez the Killer" is a song by Neil Young from his 1975 album, Zuma. It was recorded with Young's band Crazy Horse and ranked #39 on Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Solos and #321 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time....

    ", a song by Neil Young
  • History of Mexico
    History of Mexico
    The history of Mexico, a country located in the southern portion of North America, covers a period of more than two millennia. First populated more than 13,000 years ago, the country produced complex indigenous civilizations before being conquered by the Spanish in the 16th Century.Since the...

  • History of Mexico City
    History of Mexico City
    The city now known as Mexico City was founded by the Mexica, also called the Aztecs, in 1325. The old Mexica city is now referred to as Tenochtitlan. The Mexica were one of the last of the Nahuatl-speaking peoples who migrated to this part of the Valley of Mexico after the fall of the Toltec Empire...

  • Ottoman-Habsburg wars
    Ottoman-Habsburg wars
    The Ottoman–Habsburg wars refers to the military conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg dynasties of the Austrian Empire, Habsburg Spain and in certain times, the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary. The war would be dominated by land campaigns in Hungary and present day...

  • Francisco Pizarro
    Francisco Pizarro
    Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

  • Fall of Tenochtitlan


Primary sources


Secondary sources

  • Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs by Buddy Levy 2008 ISBN 9780553805383
  • Myth and Reality: The Legacy of Spain in America by Jesus J. Chao. Culture/Society Opinion. February 12, 1992. The Institute of Hispanic Culture of Houston
  • Crow, John A. The Epic of Latin America. 4th ed. New York: University of California P, 1992.
  • Hernando Cortés by Jacobs, W.J., New York, N.Y.:Franklin Watts, Inc. 1974.
  • The World’s Greatest Explorers: Hernando Cortés. Chicago, by Stein, R.C., Illinois: Chicago Press Inc. 1991.
  • Maura, Juan Francisco.“Cobardía, falsedad y opportunismo español: algunas consideraciones sobre la “verdadera” historia de la conquista de la Nueva España” Lemir (Revista de literatura medieval y del Renacimiento) 7 (2003): 1-29.
  • Passuth, László. The Rain God cries over Mexico
  • Restall, Matthew. Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest Oxford University Press (2003) ISBN 0195160770
  • Hernando Cortés by Fisher, M. & Richardson K.
  • Hernando Cortés Crossroads Resource Online.
  • The Conquest of America by Tzvetan Todorov
    Tzvetan Todorov
    Tzvetan Todorov is a Franco-Bulgarian philosopher. He has lived in France since 1963 with his wife Nancy Huston and their two children, writing books and essays about literary theory, thought history and culture theory....

     (1996) ISBN 0061320951
  • Thomas, Hugh (1993). Conquest: Cortés, Montezuma, and the Fall of Old Mexico ISBN 0671511041
  • White, Jon Manchip
    Jon Manchip White
    Jon Manchip White is the Welsh American author of more than thirty books of non-fiction and fiction, including Mask of Dust, Nightclimber, Death By Dreaming, Solo Goya, and his latest novel, Rawlins White: Patriot to Heaven, to be published in the second half of 2011...

    . (1971) Cortés and the Downfall of the Aztec Empire ISBN 0786702710

External links