Passport for Hernan Cortes


Hernan Cortes was born in 1484 in the town of Medellín in Spain. As a young man he studied law at the University of Salamanca. Eventually Cortes received a bachelor’s degree in law. He spent a year in a notary’s office in Valladolid. He learned all about the Spanish laws because notaries were responsible for creating wills and they were very involved in business contracts. This training benefited him a lot for when he went to conquest the Aztec empire.


In 1504 Cortes sailed from Spain to San Juan de Ulua and from there to Santa Domingo. There he was employed and assigned to control a large number of Indians. He was very successful and held many offices. From Santa Domingo he traveled to Cuba. There he married Maria de Toledo. He employed himself and his Indians in getting gold.


He set of on his voyage to Mexico on November 18, 1518. Cortes was sent to Mexico by the governor. Grijalva, a lieutenant of Velasquez had discovered Mexico, but he didn’t succeed at settling there. The governor was not happy about this and appointed the expedition to Cortes. He left Santiago with 10, vessels, 550 Spaniards, about 300 Indians, 10 brass guns, and a dozen horses. On his way to Mexico he stopped at Trinidad, Havana, and Yucatan. On March 4 he finally landed on the shores of Mexico. While he was at San Juan de Ulua he had learned of the riches that Mexico held. This caused him to urge the conquest of the empire.


Cortes had many great achievements and he had traveled to many more places. He finally retired after one of his expeditions failed. He stayed in a small estate near Seville death in 1547. He died at the age of 62.