The leadership of Cortes was for sure one of the key aspects that helped lead to the capture of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec kingdom and then later to the capture of Mexico itself. To properly assess the significance of Cortes in the conquest of Mexico, then we must look at his role as a leader. Many sources show us that he was inspiring, lucky, ambitious and resourceful but these qualities must be compared to others factors such as hatred of the Aztecs by local people, spread of European disease, the Spanish military resources, attitude to the conflict from the Spanish and the Aztecs, and finally the more ruthless nature of the Spanish.
Cortes played a large role for the Spanish victory over Aztecs. This can be seen in one example by the fact that he was able to make allies with the local Mexican people, as a result it made his conquest stronger, and likely to be more successful as it meant he could use local knowledge and local resources, “He [Cortés] … left them a large wooden cross set up on an elevation, and they remained very satisfied … thus these Indians became our friends”. Although this source is from a group that supported Cortes, and therefore likely to promote his achievements, as they were at the event they are likely to correctly reflect the relationship created between Cortes and the local people. Cortes’ ability to seize an opportunity, and the relative luck he had, benefitted the conquistadors expedition. Cortes was given Malinche, an Aztec slave girl who knew Spanish. If he had not received this amazing gift then, as an Aztec account implies, Cortes would have struggled in his dealings with Montezuma, “La Malinche translated this speech and the Spaniards grasped Montezuma 's hands and patted his back to show their affection for him” . Had Cortes not had Malinche to translate Montezuma’s message for him, then Cortes may have