Hernando Cortez: Exploring Mexico

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Hernando Cortez was originally from Cuba but he explored Mexico (Central America). He was born into an upper class family, though his parents were not extremely wealthy. His father was Martín Cortez de Monroy and his mother was Catalina Pizarro Altamirano. Through his mother, Hernando was the second cousin to Francisco Pizarro, who conquered the Incan empire in modern-day Peru. In 1506, for his participation in the conquest of Hispaniola and Cuba, Cortez was granted a large estate as well as some native slaves. Cortez first served as a soldier in an expedition of Cuba led by Diego Velázquez in 1511, but he ignored those orders and traveled to Mexico with about 500 men and 11 ships in 1519. He explored for Spain and found the Aztecs. He wanted to …show more content…
Moctezuma sent gifts of turquoise (an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum), feathers, etc. to keep Cortez from Tenochtitlan because of his fear of him. Eventually, the Spanish arrived in Tenochtitlan, where they were dazzled by the grandeur of the city. Moctezuma welcomed Cortez but the relations between the Aztecs and the Spaniards grew strained. The Spanish didn’t like the Aztecs’ religion and sought to convert them to Christianity. Later Cortez forced Moctezuma to sign over his land and treasure to the Spanish. The Aztecs eventually drove the Spanish from the city, but Cortez returned again to defeat them and take the city. In 1521, Cortez and his Indian allies captured and demolished Tenochtitlan. After this victory, Cortez continued to seek opportunities to gain wealth and land. He sent more expeditions out into new areas, including what is present-day Honduras. He spent much of his later years seeking recognition for his achievements and support from the Spanish royal court. Smallpox had spread among the Aztecs from 1519, eliminating the

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