Hernan Cortes

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Hernan Cortes

Hernan Cortes

LifeHernan (Hernando) Cortes was a Spainish conquistador and exploerer. He was born Medellin, Spain in 1485. Cortes' first expedition was in 1511 when he was 33. Ignoring orders, Hernan set his sights on overthrowing the Aztec empire. He was sucessful. He spent much of his later years seeking recognition for his achievements and support from the Spanish royal court. He died in 1560s.

Cortés became allies with some of the native peoples he encountered, but with others he used deadly force to conquer Mexico. He fought Tlaxacan and Cholula warriors and then set his sights on taking over the Aztec empire. He marched to Tenochitilán, the Aztec capital and home to ruler Montezuma II. Cortés took Montezuma hostage and his soldiers raided the city. Cortés left the city after learning that Spanish troops were coming to arrest him for disobeying orders.

In Mexico

LegacyFor the Aztecs, Cortes was a murderer, a cheater, a liar. But for the Spainish, he was a hero for helping establish Mexico and Mexico City. He will forever live on as the exploerer who defeated the great Aztec empire.


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