The Spanish Conquistadors

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On 13 August 1521 the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, had fallen to the Spanish conquistadors. Cortes and his followers had only landed in Mexico in April 1519. By the time of Cortes’ last departure form Spain in 1540; Mexico City had become a powerful colonial metropolis, the capital of a Spanish territory extending south into Central America and North to or beyond the Gulf of California. The campaign waged by Cortes was so successful that all ensuing campaigns were modelled upon the Aztec conquest. The question posed is how was the conquest of Mexico achieved in such a small space of time? It would seem unfeasible that a small army of soldiers could overcome thousands of Native Americans on their own soil; Tenochtitlan was a perfect location to offer resistance to the Spanish, as a great lake surrounded it. There are several combined factors that led to a sweeping conquest of Mexico of which I shall discuss, and in particular compare those of Military, Religious and!

The Aztecs had massive populations, strong empires, kingdoms and warlike traditions. With only a few hundred men, Cortes t

The Mexica seemed to be hindered by their religion. Their religious views of warfare inhibited their actions in certain ways. Preoccupations with human sacrifice caused them to seek captives rather than corpses. Also their liturgical traditions, which insisted that operations be prefaced by elaborate ceremonies only served to alert the Spaniards of attack. The Aztecs were perhaps weakened psychologically through their traditions, such as their fear of cavalry and gunfire.

wns on the Gulf of Mexico. Hence it is clear that for many native peoples in the region of Veracruz, where the first conquering Spanish landed, invasion was not so unusual. This may fare well to explain the ease with which Cortes and his men established their mainland foothold.

Religion certainly played a major part in the Conquest of Mexico. However it’s actual impact on the...
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