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Hernando Cortes



The conqueror from Spain by the name of Hernando Cortes was born in 1485 and was best known for conquering the famous Aztec Empire. Cortes was born in a small town of Spain known by the name of Medellin.

Hernando Cortes sailed to Hispaniola in West Indies at the age of 18 years which was then the headquarters of the Spanish there. Before his participation in the conquest of Cuba in 1511, he was known to be a farmer and a soldier.

He became the mayor-judge of Santiago when Velasquez was the governor. He was chosen to build a colony in Mexico for which he later defied Velasquez and continued with the expedition in spite of the latter's objections.

He reached Tabasco and took the princess of Aztec as a captive during his battle against the Indians. He made her in to his advisor as well as his interpreter in order to communicate and understand the natives better.

After this he continued his journey and on reaching Veracruz, he burnt his ships to ensure that he was not tempted to retreat under any circumstances. He left few of his people at the shore and led most of his men in to the land where they were attacked and outnumbered by the natives.

After this he and his men reached the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, where he was honorably received by the emperor of Aztec. He made it his base and on hearing about the plunder of Veracruz, he captured the emperor and killed the attackers of Veracruz. In the mean time, Cortes also defeated the army sent by Velasquez against him and forced most of the men on his opponent side to join him.

Although it seemed that Cortes had almost won over the Aztecs it was not that easy either. The Aztec people defied and attacked him and his men. In fact when the emperor tried to pacify them, they injured him which later caused his death. However, Cortes managed to kill the Aztec chieftain and this prompted the natives to retreat. After a year Cortes once again attacked the capital in August 1521.

This time the then emperor totally surrendered to him and this marked the fall of the famous Aztec empire. On returning to his homeland in 1528, Cortes was honoured by Charles V and was made military commander of Mexico.

The years 1534 and 1535 were marked by his explorations of the Lower California where he fought Algerian pirates and he later went on an expedition to Yucatan. He died near Seville on 2nd December, 1547.

Hernando Cortes was indeed a great man. Perhaps his greatest contribution was in the form of the 'Cartas de relacion' where he had narrated his conquest of Mexico through five famous letters to Charles V. Through these letters his expeditions and experiences are alive even today upholding a living glimpse of the adventures and people of the time!



   
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