The biography of Hernando Cortes, a Spanish conquistador known for leading the expedition that conquered the Aztec Empire in Mexico.
Born in 1485 in Medellín, in Extremadura, Spain, Cortes grew up in a noble family and received a good education.
This biography offers a glimpse into the life of Hernando Cortes.
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Early Life and Career of Hernando Cortes
As a young man, Cortes studied law at the University of Salamanca, but he quickly became restless and left school to seek his fortune in the New World.
In 1504, he sailed to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, where he worked as a farmer and miner.
Cortes soon moved to Cuba, where he became involved in the island’s colonization.
He was appointed to the position of secretary and interpreter for the governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez.
It was through Velázquez’s patronage that Cortes was able to organize his expedition to Mexico.
The Conquest of Mexico
In 1519, Cortes set sail from Cuba with a small fleet of ships and around 600 men.
He landed on the coast of Mexico near present-day Veracruz and founded the town of Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz.
From there, Cortes began his march inland, making alliances with local tribes who were enemies of the Aztecs.
Cortes eventually arrived in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, ruled by the emperor Montezuma II.
Despite Montezuma’s initial hospitality, Cortes and his men were eventually forced to flee the city.
In 1521, after a long and bloody campaign, the Spanish conquered the city, and the Aztec Empire fell.
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Legacy of Hernando Cortes
Cortes is one of the most important figures in the history of the New World.
His conquest of Mexico brought vast territories under Spanish control and opened up new avenues of trade and commerce.
However, his methods were often brutal, and he was criticized for the violence and oppression accompanying his conquest.
Despite this, Cortes is also celebrated for introducing Western culture and technology to the New World.
He brought horses, guns, and steel weapons to the Aztecs, which gave the Spanish a significant advantage in battle.
Cortes’s legacy is complicated and controversial, but his impact on the history of the New World cannot be denied.
Key Accomplishments of Hernando Cortes
- Led the expedition that conquered the Aztec Empire
- Founded the town of Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz in Mexico
- Introduced Western culture and technology to the New World
- Brought vast territories under Spanish control
- Employed brutal methods in his conquest of Mexico
- Contributed to the oppression of the native peoples of Mexico
- Destroyed many priceless works of art and architecture during his campaign
- Ignored the authority of the Spanish crown and acted independently
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Hernando Cortes was a complex and controversial figure whose impact on the history of the New World cannot be denied.
He brought vast territories under Spanish control and introduced Western culture and technology to the Aztecs.
However, his methods were often brutal, and he received criticism for his treatment of the native peoples of Mexico.
Despite his controversies, Cortes remains a significant figure in the history of the New World, and his legacy continues to be debated and examined to this day.