Hernando Cortes

Topics: Hernán Cortés, Spanish colonization of the Americas, Mexico City Pages: 5 (1802 words) Published: February 9, 2010
Hernando Cortes on Meeting Moctezuma & Destroying the Aztec Empire

In the early 1500’s, people traveled their whole lifetime, all across the world, just to find two things, gold and property. Gold, the world basically revolved around it and you would do anything to just get your hands on it. It determined who you were in life, your social status and what kind of life you lived. You also wanted to own as much property as you could for multiple reasons. Having more land, led to more people, creating bigger cities, dominant armies, and basically power to one. Starting out with very small possessions and little to accompany him in his journey, Hernando Cortes, a Spanish conquistador, traveled halfway across the world searching for these precious items. He would write to his king during his expedition, informing him of conquering city by city and gaining more power by the day, all in favor of fulfilling his dreams.

Hernando Cortez was a Spanish conquistador that is mainly known for defeating and conquering the Aztec Empire. He was born in Medellin, Spain in 1485 from a high class family with low wealth, but that did not stop his big ambitions and dreams. Cortes spent most of his early years as a farmer, although he did go to a prestige university to study law and Latin at age 14. Soon after this, he wanted to conquer his dreams of finding the New World. He missed his first chance of capturing his dreams when he was late to board the ship due to injury, having an affair with a local lady. Hernan soon became a soldier and boarded a ship with the famous and ambitious Alonso Quintero. In Santo Domingo, Hispaniola, you have to be eighteen years old to purchase land to farm and to start a building plot. Cortes, just meeting the requirement, went right along and started building his colony. Over the next few years, he earned slaves from the governor and took part in conquests in Hispaniola and Cuba, which earned him more native slaves. Eventually, Hernando started to get a name for himself, becoming a notary and a governor of a small town. The great Spanish conquistador stayed in Cuba for almost fifteen years and gained loads of experience in government and took many expeditions. Cortés continued to build a reputation as a courageous and brave leader. He served many political positions during this time. He started out being a treasurer and ending up commanding an army as captain general. Having an enormous reasonability and leadership, he gathered up eleven ships, five hundred soldiers, a hundred sailormen, seventeen horsemen, and a large armory of weapons. After getting married to the governor’s sister in law and growing older, Cortes was preparing for the biggest mission of his life. In 1518, Hernando travels to Mexico to explore the interior of Mexico for colonization and money. Governor Velazquez was getting curious of his intentions and goals and cancelled his commission, just before he set sail. Cortes ignored Velázquez and set out for his mission. Knowing that the first Spaniards to arrive in Cuba were given land and Indians to use as slave labor, he quickly gathered many friends and an undersized army to accompany him. He quickly ran into multiple unknown territories and various types of cultures. For instance, the Mayans, all sharing cultural characteristics such as a complex writing system and a highly complicated calendar, the Spaniards have never seen such intense mathematics before. Meeting a handful of new people from different lifestyles and religions, they helped him translate and get adapted to the new world. Although learning new languages, he found abandoned slaves that were accustomed with routes and quickly enlisted them for their exploration abilities. With his good fortune and luck, Cortes found it almost effortless to hire new workers and soldiers. Defeating city by city as they travel, rapidly gaining authority and power, his army continues to populate as if it originated in Mexico. Fighting...
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