The Conquest Of The Aztecs By Cortes

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The Aztec empire flourished for almost two hundred years in central Mexico from approximately 1325 to 1521. They were known for their military and political dominance on the entire region, their skill as warriors, and the extremely well organized and advanced society in which they lived and flourished. But one day in February of 1519, everything that they knew would begin to change. Within two years, the mighty Aztec empire would be in ruins and the majority of its people killed or enslaved. It was the arrival of Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes in February of 1519 and it would be the beginning of the end for the Aztec and many other indigenous civilizations. Commissioned by Governor Velazquez of Cuba, Hernan Cortes was sent with roughly 500 soldiers to the eastern shores of Mexico to gain information on the indigenous people there and establish friendly relations. But Cortes, a man consumed by greed, had heard of legends that told of vast riches and treasures within Mexico, and with that the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs had already begun. In direct defiance of Velazquez’s orders not to engage in a war of conquest, Cortes arrived with the intentions of a complete Spanish conquest over the indigenous people, whom he would learn called themselves the Aztec. Initially, small tribes greeted them and bestowed them with gifts, and Cortes even acquired a translator named Malinche who would play a crucial role in the downfall of her own people. As the Spaniards moved further inland towards the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, they encountered larger groups of Indians, but there was little to no resistance. The question has often been discussed of why the Aztecs did not attack the Spaniards at this point. Cortes and his men were an obvious threat, and the Aztecs could have easily raised an army that would have far outnumbered Cortes’ 500 soldiers. The answer is that the
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