World Civilization II
September 3, 2012
Cortes and The Aztecs
Spanish Conquest of the Aztecs
Hernán Cortés was the leader of the Spanish Army that conquered and destroyed the Aztec Empire. There are multiple theories of the motivation behind the conquering of these indigenous people one of them being the ever present practice of human sacrifice in this culture. The ritual was a religious practice to the Aztecs but a gory act of barbarianism to the Spaniards. The most common type of human sacrifice involved cutting the stomach of a victim and pulling out his/her still beating heart. The Spanish intervened; the invasion began in February of the year 1519, and ended on August 13, 1521. Cortés begins his mission to conquer by creating allies with tribes against the Aztecs. Cortés arrives in Tlaxcala on September 18, 1519. Tlaxcala was an independent confederacy of towns and tribes who had not yet been conquered by the Aztecs. Cortés initially tried to battle Tlaxcala, but an elder within the Tlaxcala tribe recognized the value in becoming allies instead. With his army now fortified with new soldiers, the Spanish leader moves on to the city of Cholula. On October 12, 1519 Cortés and his army invade the city of Cholula where he massacres over 3,000 people and burned down the city. This massacre caused surrounding tribes to ally with the Aztecs and to prepare themselves for the inevitable war with the Spanish conquistadors. These acts eventually lead to an invitation from the Aztec ruler Moctezuma II for a meeting in Tenochtitlan the Aztec capital. Moctezuma was taken captive on November 14, 1519 because of alleged resistance against Spanish armies along the coastline. In April 1520, Cortés defeated a Spanish army whose mission was to bring him to trial in Cuba for treason. He then returned to Tenochtitlan to discover many of the Aztec nobility had been killed. This caused sporatic resistance to the Spanish army over the next several weeks; The Spanish and their...
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