Hernan Cortes

Hernan Cortes

“Spanish soldier and explorer”

Born: 1485
Died: 1547

In the year of 1485 Hernan Cortes (Hernando Cortez) was born in the small town of Medellin, Spain. When Cortes was a child he decided he wanted to be a Spanish conquistador (conqueror).

At the age of 18 Hernan Cortes sailed for the island of Hispaniola, then to the Spanish headquarters of the West Indies. There he became a soldier and a farmer for the Spanish government. He later sailed with the conqueror Diego Velasquez to help conquer Cuba in 1511. After the conquer of Cuba Velasquez became governor of Santiago, and Cortes mayor-judge or Alcalde.

During this time Cortes was living in Santiago when Velasquez told him to go establish a colony in Mexico. Velasquez soon called off the order. Cortes still got people together and set sail. During the battle of the Indians Cortes captured and brutally beat the people he caught. This also includes an Aztec princess which he called Marina. She later became his adviser, interpreter, and lover.

Cortes continued to sail. On April 21, 1519, he landed on the site of Vera Cruz. When there to prevent all thought of retreat, he burned his ships. After 3 warlike battles with the Tlaxcalans, a brutal army of Indian warriors, they became friends. On November 8, 1519, Cortes reached Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City) and was graciously received by Montezuma, Aztec emperor. After Cortes established headquarters in the capital he learned the Aztecs had plundered Vera Cruz. Cortes later captured Montezuma and forced him to send the attackers. When the attackers got there. He had them EXUCUTED! Velasquez had sent an army to have Cortes arrested. He later defeated this army and enlisted the survivors into his army.

When he had returned to the Aztec capital the leader of the garrison there had slaughtered 600 Mexican nobles. Cortes reached the heart of the city he was attacked by hundreds of Aztec warriors.

Montezuma was brought there by his people, but they stoned him, and later he died of his wounds. Cortes’ army was then surrounded and apparently doomed. But he and three others found the chieftain and killed him. Dismayed by the “miracle”, the Aztecs withdrew. With fewer than 500 of his men left alive, Cortes in July 1520 made his way back to his Tlaxcalan allies. Cortes besieged Tenochtitlan again, from ships, the following May. Then, on august 13, 1521, Guatemoc, the new Aztec emperor, surrendered. This was the end of the great empire of Aztec.

Among the next seven years Cortes established peace upon the Indians in Mexico and developing mines and farmlands. In 1528 he went home and was received back with great honor. On his visit to Spain (1528-1530) Cortes was made marques de Valle de Oaxaca.

When Cortes died it was on Dec. 2, 1547 near Seville.