cortés describes tenochtitlan

This article was first published in the November 2007 issue of BBC History Magazine, Save over 50% on a gift subscription to their favourite history magazine. Between July 1519 and September 1526, Hernán Cortés (1485‒1547), the soldier and adventurer who in 1519‒21 conquered for Spain what is now central and southern Mexico, sent five extended letters to Emperor Charles V in which he described his exploits and placed himself and his actions in a favorable light. Letter, Hernán Cortés This excerpt from Cortés’ Second Letter, written to Charles V in 1519 and first publishedin 1522, is one of only two instances in Cortés’ letters to the King that explicitly mentions his Every kind of merchandise is sold in a particular street or quarter assigned to it exclusively, and this is the best order is preserved. This was the major source of Cortés’ letters that I used in the construction of this Web site. Cortés' initial land claim and town founding set the precedent by which Cortés would move from the Yucatan toward Tenochtitlan. A clear and ambitious tactician, he was devout, brave and single-minded in pursuit of his goals. Trapping the unarmed Aztecs, the conquistadors slaughtered them mercilessly until, according to the Nahuatl (Aztec language) chronicles, “the blood of the warriors flowed like water”. A huge marketplace drew thousands of people every day from all over this “empire” (as some historians have called it) and a ceremonial precinct lay at the centre of the city, from which the pyramid of the Great Temple towered over the grid of canals and streets. *** C.The Aztec army attacked Cortés and his soldiers. The Spanish revulsion at human sacrifice has often been described as nothing but a justification for their invasion, but the religious impetus to conquest should not be underestimated. Much has been made of the Aztecs’ “superstitious” belief that Cortés was a god, and that Montezuma was paralysed with fear by a series of omens predicting the downfall of the city. Colonialism cannot be justified by the doubtful measure of progress but, for better or worse, conquistadors helped to create the global world in which we live. Cortés in Tenochtitlán Hernando Cortés was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who landed on the coast of Mexico in 1519. The city was the capital of the expanding Aztec Empire in the 15th century until it was captured by the Spanish in 1521. The Spaniards and their allies flee Tenochtitlan on the Night of Tears. It was believed that the gods had destined the Aztecs to be a warrior people, and they became increasingly focused on warfare and military achievement, even practising “flowery wars” specifically for the purpose of securing victims. Cortés was a devout Christian. It has been estimated that during that period, only a handful of cities could matc… Excerpts from. Having skirmished their way along the coast, and met with Montezuma’s emissaries, Cortés and the conquistadors set out for Tenochtitlan from their settlement of Vera Cruz. Hernán Cortés was born in Extremadura, Spain, in the mid-1480s of respectable but undistinguished hidalgo (minor noble) birth. Wood and coals are seen in abundance, and braziers of earthenware for burning coals; mats of various kinds for beds, others of a lighter sort for seats, and for balls and bedrooms. After returning to Spain in 1540 to plead his cause, he died disillusioned in Seville in 1547. Cortés’ expedition had arrived in Mexico in the early part of 1519, and by the end of the same year the Spanish had laid their eyes on Tenochtitlan for the first time. Cortés then married Doña Isabel to another conquistador, with whom she had two children. After Christmas 1520, the conquistadors set out to return to Tenochtitlan. In 1506, he sailed to the Indies where he helped in the conquest of Cuba and married a relative of its first governor. The conquistador Bernal Díaz, who wrote a famous history of the conquest, described it graphically: “The walls of that shrine were so splashed and caked with blood that they and the floor too were black… the stench was worse than that of any slaughterhouse in Spain”. There is a building in the great square that is used as an audience house, where ten or twelve persons, who are magistrates, sit and decide all controversies that arise in the market, and order delinquents to be punished. Before I beam to describe this great city and the others already mentioned, it may be well for the better understanding of the subject to say something of the configuration of Mexico, in which they are situated, it being the principal seat of Moctezuma's power. Retreating to Tlaxcala, he marshalled his remaining forces and allies, not without difficulty, and determined to reverse their fortunes. While Cortés held Tenochtitlán through Montezuma, a Spanish force from Cuba landed on the coast of Mexico. Between July 1519 and September 1526, Hernando Cortés (1485-1547), the soldier and adventurer who in 1519-21 conquered for Spain what is now central and southern Mexico, sent five extended letters to Emperor Charles V in which he described his … Phone: 202.544.2422Email: info@historians.org, Payments: PO Box 347214, Pittsburgh PA 15251-4214, Guiding Principles on Taking a Public Stance, Policies and Procedures for Considering Amicus Brief Requests, AHA Endorsement of $1 Billion Senate Bill for Civics Learning (December 2020), Lawsuit to Protect Historical Records (December 2020), AHA Statement Concerning Access to French Archives (November 2020), AHA Letter Expressing Concern over Legislative Request to Monitor Teaching of 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory (November 2020), AHA Letter Urging Reconsideration of History Program Closure at Guilford College (November 2020), AHA Letter Opposing Cuts in NHPRC Funding (November 2020), AHA Comment on Proposed Rule Change for International Scholar Visas (October 2020), AHA Letter Expressing Grave Concern for Russian Historian (October 2020), AHA Issues Letter Defending AHA Member’s Right to Free Speech (October 2020), AHA Statement Urging Retraction of Executive Order Prohibiting the Inclusion of “Divisive Concepts” in Employee Training Sessions (October 2020), Amicus Brief in Ahmad v. 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On Good Friday, Cortés and his expedition disembarked, built a small camp, and made contact with the local Indians, members of a powerful nation called the Aztecs.” ― Irwin R. Blacker, Cortés … It was believed that sacrifice led to a privileged afterlife and some Aztecs themselves became victims, but captives were most commonly used for this purpose. The enraged Aztec … The city is as large as Seville or Cordova; its streets . His letters to Charles V show the profound belief that if the “evil practices” of the Aztecs could be stopped then they would “worship the true God with… fervour, faith and diligence” and his attitude is typical of many Catholics in this period. D.Cortés immediately killed the Aztec leader Moctezuma and burned the city. The figure of Marina epitomises the controversy of the conquest’s legacy. Alliances with the Aztecs’ enemies and disgruntled subjects ensured the conquistadors an almost unending supply of warriors, auxiliary support, food and other supplies. . Having arrived in the Gulf of Mexico with the largest force yet seen in the New World, Cortés ordered that most of the 10 ships of his fleet be disabled, depriving the conquistadors and sailors of any choice but to follow him into the jungle. . Then again, it's also the source of many fascinating rumors and half-truths. Smallpox certainly added to the rigours of the siege and disrupted the Aztec chain of command, but it also affected other indigenous peoples, including Cortés’s allies. Cortés, Hernán , Cartas y documentos, México, Porrúa, 1963 [1678], pp. A.The Spanish army became ill with smallpox. 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They approached in two processions along the walls of the street, which is very broad and straight and very beautiful. The brigantines were launched and Cortes and his men marched on Tenochtitlan. At its peak, it was The Aztecs were able to settle as water served for a natural defence from enemies. . Cortes was a self-made man who was a bastard son to a Spanish noble. . Michael Smith, a professor at the State University of New York at Albany, notes that when Cortés landed in Mexico in 1519 he was, initially, greeted with gifts of gold from Tenochtitlán’s ruler Motecuhzoma (or Montezuma) II. Cortés immediately recognised the city’s value and hoped to present it intact to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Wanting to secure the city peacefully, Cortés negotiated his way into Tenochtitlan as an ambassador of Charles V and was magnificently received by Montezuma, who entertained the Spaniards and their allies lavishly. They marvelled at the towering temples, grand palaces, beautiful gardens and great markets, but were revolted by the terrible spectacle of human sacrifice. Smallpox was particularly devastating during the conquest of Mexico and, in the following years, other illnesses such as measles, mumps, typhus, influenza and the plague brought many indigenous American populations to near extinction. Originally founded on inhospitable marsh and small islands in Lake Texcoco, by the 16th century their great island capital of Tenochtitlan had grown into a spectacular metropolis, linked to the mainland by three tremendous causeways and the heart of a network of nearly 400 subject and allied cities. Hernan Cortes (1485 – December 2, 1547) was a Spanish Conquistador known for his bravery, ambition, thirst for gold, brutality, and extraordinary leadership. Cortés defeated the Spanish force, but when he returned to Tenochtitlán he was met with a shock. Build on a marshy island in Lake Texcoco with pyramids, storehouses, and palaces. The people of Tlaxcala in particular had long been enemies of Tenochtitlan and, after first resisting the Spanish incursion ferociously, they accepted the military superiority of the Europeans and agreed to support them against Montezuma’s rule. . are very wide and This 'germ warfare' profoundly impacted on the New World as a whole, as indigenous populations, lacking any natural resistance, were devastated by European diseases Cuitlahuac probeerde te vluchten, maar werd gevangengenomen en opgehangen. An artistic rendering of the retreat of Hernán Cortés from Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital, in 1520. . You're now subscribed to our newsletter. Bernal Díaz del Castillo, who accompanied Cortés and ended up writing what is the definitive Conquistador account, best describes the early part of the causeway slog thusly: When we left a bridge or barricade unguarded after having captured it with much labour, the enemy would retake and deepen it that same night, and construct stronger defences 1 Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. It was established in 1325 and became one of the flourishes until it succeeded by Spanish in 1520. By entering your details, you are agreeing to HistoryExtra terms and conditions and privacy policy. He told Cortes that he came from Montezuma to bid him welcome to Tenochtitlan, and, as proof of Montezuma's friendship, Cacama gave Cortes three large pearls. Especially important were his descriptions of the Valley of Mexico, particularly Tenochtitlan, and his explanations for the actions he took. Adorned with feathers and paint, the Aztec warriors whirled, dancing and stamping, their song rising in an intoxicating crescendo to honour the gods. Recommended to you based on your activity and what's popular • Feedback Aztec Empire In 1518, Cortés … What happened to the lost colony of Roanoke Island? Smith notes that this force was made up … On 13 August 1521, Cuauhtemoc was captured and the Aztecs admitted defeat. But your Majesty may be assured that if there is any fault in my relation, either in regard to the present subject, or to any other matters of which I shall give your Majesty an account, it will arise from too great brevity rather than extravagance or prolixity in the details; and it seems to me but just to my Prince and Sovereign to declare the truth in the clearest manner, without saying any thing that would detract from it, or add to it. Reality is far more impressive when Cortés and his men marched on.... 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