The Aztecs Fall from Greatness

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The Aztec’s Fall From Greatness The Aztec people created a mighty empire in Mexico. The ingenious Aztec society possessed a powerful military. According to, “They had to conquer powerful rivals to control the region and establish Tenochtitlan as their capital city.” (Aztecs) It was the beginning of the end for the Aztec people when Hernan Cortes, a Spanish conquistador, intruded on the east coast of Mexico. How did Cortes and his soldiers defeat the mighty Aztecs? Many factors influenced the conquering of the Aztec people by the Spaniards including the Aztec’s religion, Spain’s superior weapons, alliances, and disease. The first cause of the Aztec’s fall was their religion. They practiced polytheism and used human sacrifice to keep their gods happy. The Aztec’s believed their god Quetzalcoatl planned to return in human form and rule them. The Aztec people mistook Cortes and his soldiers for Quetzalcoatl. Stein says, “The similarities between Quetzalcoatl and Cortes were coincidences, but to Montezuma they were the fulfillment of prophecy. The mighty Aztec empire was doomed” (8). The Aztec emperor, Montezuma welcomed Cortes warmly and presented him with gifts of gold and emeralds. This was a costly mistake. The greedy Spaniards wanted the gold and treasure the Aztecs collected. Reid wrote, “Gold, silver, and jewels were what they had sailed all the way from Spain to find” ( 25). Schaffer 2 Another factor contributing to the Aztec’s fall was Spain’s superior weapons. Stein points out, “The Aztecs were known for their skills as warriors. They were feared and respected by their neighbors. So how were the Spanish able to defeat to defeat them?” (27) The advanced weaponry gave the Spaniards an advantage over the Aztecs.
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