The Life Of Hernando Cortes Essay Research

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The Life Of Hernando Cortes Essay, Research Paper Hernando Cortes was born in 1485 in a town called Medellin in Extremadura Spain. During the time of Cortes youth, the town of his birth was like the setting of a carnival for a growing boy (Marks 3). Medellin was the home of an old castle from the days of the wars between the Spanish and the Moors; the young boys of the town found this castle most entertaining. Later in his life Cortes started attending the University of Salamanca in Salamanca, Spain. His law school years were cut short in 1501 when he decided to try his luck in the New World. In the spring of 1504, Cortes set sail for the land of Cuba. After arriving in Cuba in 1511, he joined the Spanish soldiers and Administrator Diego Velasquez in the conquest of the land,

and there he became mayor of Santiago de Cuba. In 1518 he persuaded Velasquez to give him command to the expedition of Mexico that had recently been discovered by Juan de Grijalva, nephew of Velasquez. Despite Velasquez s cancellation on his payment to Cortes due to suspicion that he was exploring and discovering for his own glory, Cortes set sail west from Cuba on February 19, 1519. Cortes took with him about 600 men, less than 20 horses, and 10 field pieces. Cortes sailed along the east coast of Yucatan and in March 1519 landed in Mexico and quickly neutralized the town of Tabasco. The artillery, the ships, and especially the horses had the natives captivated from the minute they landed. Quickly after Cortes had taken Tabasco, the natives began telling him the stories of the

Aztecs and their ruler Montezuma. These intriguing stories struck Cortes attention, and he began asking more questions about these mysterious Aztecs. At the beginning of Cortes search for the Aztecs, he and his men took many of the locals captive, one of which they found special, so they baptized her and renamed her Marina. Marina quickly became Cortes lover and out of loyalty to him also served as his interpreter, Translator, Guide, and Counselor. Cortes and his men quickly found a better harbor spot a little North of San Juan, this spot would be named La Villa Rica De La Vera Cruz, or The Rich Village Of The Vera Cruz. Later this name would be shortened to Vera Cruz. Just as Velasquez had predicted, Cortes went off on his own, and abandoned the authority of everyone else in the

new world. Using some strategic thinking, Cortes quickly eliminated some of his less trustworthy men, for fear that they would rise up against his personal crusade in Mexico. Shortly after eliminating these men, Cortes began his historic march to inner Mexico. Despite a peace agreement with Montezuma, Cortes began his march toward the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan. On his way to Tenochtitlan, Cortes took control of a tribe of natives known as the Tlascalans. These Tlascans were quickly made allies to Spain due mostly to the fact that they were enemies of the native Aztecs. Throughout Cortes march Montezuma had hoped for a treaty of peace. Not getting the same interest from Cortes, Montezuma stayed peaceful, was determined to wait on the Spanish, and to find out more about

their purpose in Mexico. On November 8, 1519, Cortes and his men finally entered the Aztec capital and created a Spanish stronghold. Upon entering the capital city, Cortes was looked at by the Aztecs as a god, whose return had been prophesized for many generations. Cortes gave his men privilege to wander among the village on their own. Despite a friendly welcome from the Aztecs, Cortes still feared an Aztec uprising against his establishment. In order to keep himself and his troops safe, Cortes took Montezuma hostage and demanded a hefty ransom of gold and jewel s. In April of 1520, Cortes found out that another Spaniard came to Mexico, of course Cortes was very displeased with this, and he decided to leave the Aztec capital to meet his competition at the shore. Upon receiving