Drawing on period representations of the city in sculptures, texts, and maps, The Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan, the Life of Mexico City builds a convincing case that this global capital remained, through the sixteenth century, very much an Amerindian city. There is also a class of men like those called in Castile porters, for carrying burdens. Hernán Cortés was born in Extremadura, Spain, in the mid-1480s of respectable but undistinguished hidalgo (minor noble) birth. *** C.The Aztec army attacked Cortés and his soldiers. . They were an expressive and sophisticated civilisation that valued poetry, art and family highly. . Letter, Hernán Cortés This excerpt from Cortés’ Second Letter, written to Charles V in 1519 and first publishedin 1522, is one of only two instances in Cortés’ letters to the King that explicitly mentions his Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire, was founded by the Aztec or Mexica people around 1325 C.E. When he heard of Cortés’s arrival Montezuma refused to meet with the Spaniards, instead sending gifts, offering the tribute that frequently resolved disputes in Mesoamerican society. Between about 1350 and the 1520s, the Aztecs flourished on the site of modern-day Mexico City. The Aztecs were in the midst of a full rebellion. Thank you for subscribing to HistoryExtra, you now have unlimited access. Foreseeing that if the inhabitants of this city should prove treacherous, they would possess great advantages from the manner in which the city is constructed, since by removing the bridges at the entrances, and abandoning the place, they could leave us to perish by famine without our being able to reach the main land--as soon as I had entered it, I made great haste to build four brigantines, which were soon finished, and were large enough to take ashore three hundred men and the horses, whenever it should become necessary. Withdrawal would have alienated their allies, who were receiving word of aggressive Aztec behaviour in the provinces, and so Cortés resolved on a bold course of action. En noviembre de 1519, Cortés fue recibido por Moctezuma Xocoyotxin , quien al creer que él español era Quetzalcóatl le ofreció las mejores atenciones, oro y tributos, a pesar de la desaprobación del pueblo mexica. Different kinds of cotton thread of all colors in skeins are exposed for sale in one quarter of the market, which has the appearance of the silk-market at Granada, although the former is supplied more abundantly. On Good Friday, Cortés and his expedition disembarked, built a small camp, and made contact with the local Indians, members of a powerful nation called the Aztecs.” ― Irwin R. Blacker, Cortés … This book contains the first Latin edition of Cortés’s second letter. The city is as large as Seville or Cordova; its streets . Having gained control, he then directed the systematic destruction and leveling of the city; [28] and began its … Adorned with feathers and paint, the Aztec warriors whirled, dancing and stamping, their song rising in an intoxicating crescendo to honour the gods. Cortés was a devout Christian. The Aztecs were able to settle as water served for a natural defence from enemies. by Charles V, who also blessed his second marriage. Cortés’ expedition had arrived in Mexico in the early part of 1519, and by the end of the same year the Spanish had laid their eyes on Tenochtitlan for the first time. It was established in 1325 and became one of the flourishes until it succeeded by Spanish in 1520. . What happened when Cortés and his soldiers first arrived in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán? It was a daringly calculated move by Cortés who circumvented his superior Velázquez, who did not . The figure of Marina epitomises the controversy of the conquest’s legacy. After months of fierce fighting, which leaves Tenochtitlan in ruins, the last tlatoani Cuauhtemoc is captured in a canoe on the lake and the Aztecs finally surrender. Guns, armour and steel weaponry would not alone have been sufficient to overcome the Aztecs’ numerical advantage, but they were certainly effective, particularly in skirmishing. The date 13 March 1325 was chosen in 1925 to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the city. Hearing of the approach of Cortés, with his frightful horses and sophisticated weapons, Montezuma II tried to buy him … You can unsubscribe at any time. In 1519, as conquistador Hernan Cortes was making his way inland from the coast on his audacious conquest of the Mexica (Aztec) Empire, he had to pass through the lands of the fiercely independent Tlaxcalans, who were the mortal enemies of the Mexica. It was believed that the gods had destined the Aztecs to be a warrior people, and they became increasingly focused on warfare and military achievement, even practising “flowery wars” specifically for the purpose of securing victims. It occurred in 1521 following extensive manipulation of local factions and exploitation of pre-existing divisions by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, who was aided by the support of his indigenous allies and his interpreter and companion La Malinche. The Fall of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire, was a decisive event in the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. Cortés boasted to King Charles V of Spain that Tenochtitlan was "destroyed and razed to the ground." By entering your details, you are agreeing to HistoryExtra terms and conditions and privacy policy. . Primary Source Packet 1. Bringing gifts of gold which roused the Spaniards’ greed, the messengers brought word from the Aztec tlatoani (speaker) Moctecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, the powerful ruler who became known to history as Montezuma. It has been estimated that during that period, only a handful of cities could matc… 3-8). The siege was devastating for both sides. The key to Cortes’s conquests lay in the political crisis within the Aztec empire; the Aztecs were bitterly resented by many … In 1519, Cortés was appointed to lead an expedition to the American mainland but, apparently realising the potential of the gathered force of “conquistadors”, as they came to be called, the governor of Cuba became suspicious and withdrew his permission for the expedition. The ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan is the source of a flood of fascinating history. Between July 1519 and September 1526, Hernán Cortés (1485‒1547), the soldier and adventurer who in 1519‒21 conquered for Spain what is now central and southern Mexico, sent five extended letters to Emperor Charles V in which he described his exploits and placed himself and his actions in a favorable light. A.The Spanish army became ill with smallpox. Her book Bonds of Blood: Gender, Lifecycle, and Sacrifice in Aztec Culture was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2008. Start studying Tenochtitlan. [8] In Mexico, one of Cortés's lieutenants Pedro de Alvarado , committed The massacre in the Main Temple , … This article was first published in the November 2007 issue of BBC History Magazine, Save over 50% on a gift subscription to their favourite history magazine. Below please find a new web question written by your classmate, Shayna Wolf, dealing with the account that we read in the Shaping of the Modern World book, "A Conquistador Describes the Capital of Mexico" (pp. Having skirmished their way along the coast, and met with Montezuma’s emissaries, Cortés and the conquistadors set out for Tenochtitlan from their settlement of Vera Cruz. Cortés led his army out of Tenochtitlán to meet them, leaving behind a garrison of 80 Spaniards and a few hundred Tlaxcaltecs to govern the city. According to legend, the Mexica founded Tenochtitlan after leaving their homeland of Aztlan at the direction of their god, Huitzilopochtli. Trapping the unarmed Aztecs, the conquistadors slaughtered them mercilessly until, according to the Nahuatl (Aztec language) chronicles, “the blood of the warriors flowed like water”. The enraged Aztec … Smallpox certainly added to the rigours of the siege and disrupted the Aztec chain of command, but it also affected other indigenous peoples, including Cortés’s allies. Tenochtitlan, also known as Mexico-Tenochtitlan, was a large Mexica altepetl in what is now the historic center of Mexico City. The importance of his leadership has at times been overstated, but Cortés undoubtedly made critical and creative decisions at key moments in the conquest and provided effective and often inspirational leadership. Bloedbad van Tenochtitlan Bij de inname van de Tenochtitlan . All the streets at intervals have openings, through which the water flows, crossing from one street to another; and at these openings, some of which are very wide, there are also very wide bridges, composed of large pieces of timber, of great strength and well put together; on many of these bridges ten horses can go abreast. B.The Aztec ruler Moctezuma welcomed them as guests at first. They had to face attacks in outlying regions, but the brigantines were finally launched late in April 1521 and, with forces besieging the city from every direction, the battle began in earnest. The mistake that the Cacique Moctezuma made was to welcome Hernán Cortés obsequiously and courteously and allowed him to stay in the city, thinking he was the Aztec god prophesied to return to earth around that period. including food products, jewels of gold and silver, lead, brass, copper, zinc, bones, shells, and feathers. Wood and coals are seen in abundance, and braziers of earthenware for burning coals; mats of various kinds for beds, others of a lighter sort for seats, and for balls and bedrooms. Cortes’s army besieged Tenochtitlan for 93 days. After returning to Mexico in 1530, Cortés spent much of his life struggling to assert his rights and preserve his reputation, having met with considerable political opposition and been accused of murdering his first wife (who died in 1522). It would prove to be an era-defining moment, signalling the beginning of the end for the American continent’s great civilisations, and the start of a new and terrible age. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. The real Amazons: How the legendary warrior women inspired fighters and feminists, Tudors in America: how England’s New World colonies came into being, Objects with meanings: How artefacts can give us a new take on global history, Percy Fawcett and the lost city of Z: The history behind the film, Podcast: The Battle of the Atlantic and the history of Spain, 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about the Spanish Armada. The Aztec outnumbered the Spanish, but that didn't stop Hernán Cortés from seizing Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, in 1521. They sell every thing by number or measure; at least so far we have not observed them to sell any thing by weight. There are four avenues or entrances to the city, all of which are formed by artificial causeways, two spears' length in width. As the long lines of celebrants wound into the temple precinct, the great drum played constantly, uniting their steps and their voices. First Letter part 1 part 2 160ff. Rumours of a powerful kingdom in the interior had been confirmed by emissaries from the city of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztecs. At its peak, it was Learning of the powerful Aztec empire and its capital city of Tenochtitlán, Cortés traveled over one hundred miles inland to find the city and claim the Empire for Spain. She has been seen alternately as the mother of the mestizo (people of mixed blood) nation or the ultimate traitor to her people, and this ambiguity underlies modern Mexican attitudes to their history. The reality is far more complex, but at the same time far more impressive. Tenochtitlan, Cortés’s great prize, and its inhabitants were decimated. They believed sacrifice was a privilege, and were able to accept that violent death was a necessary part of life. This great city of Tenochtitlan [Mexico] is situated in this salt lake, and from the main land to the denser parts of it, by whichever route one chooses to enter, the distance is two leagues. Are You Thinking of a Career in Secondary Schools? On 8 November 1519, Spanish explorer Hernán Cortes reached Tenochtitlan – capital of the Aztec Empire. Much has been made of the Aztecs’ “superstitious” belief that Cortés was a god, and that Montezuma was paralysed with fear by a series of omens predicting the downfall of the city. He told Cortes that he came from Montezuma to bid him welcome to Tenochtitlan, and, as proof of Montezuma's friendship, Cacama gave Cortes three large pearls. There are all kinds of green vegetables, especially onions, leeks, garlic, watercresses, nasturtium, borage, sorrel, artichokes, and golden thistle; fruits also of numerous descriptions, amongst which are cherries and plums, similar to those in Spain; honey and wax from bees, and from the stalks of maize, which are as sweet as the sugar-cane; honey is also extracted from the plant called maguey, which is superior to sweet or new wine; from the same plant they extract sugar and wine, which they also sell. Between July 1519 and September 1526, Hernando Cortés (1485-1547), the soldier and adventurer who in 1519-21 conquered for Spain what is now central and southern Mexico, sent five extended letters to Emperor Charles V in which he described his … Build on a marshy island in Lake Texcoco with pyramids, storehouses, and palaces. 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Transatlantic links drove forward the exchange of goods, information and people, beginning the process of conquest and colonisation which created our modern multicultural world. In the wake of this Night of Tears, Cortés showed remarkable fortitude, leadership and resourcefulness. Smallpox was particularly devastating during the conquest of Mexico and, in the following years, other illnesses such as measles, mumps, typhus, influenza and the plague brought many indigenous American populations to near extinction. are very wide and . This strait is a bow-shot wide, and connects the two lakes; and by this means a trade is carried on between the cities and other settlements on the lakes in canoes without the necessity of traveling by land. There are, in all districts of this great city, many temples or houses for their idols. As the salt lake rises and falls with its tides like the sea, during the time of high water it pours into the other lake with the rapidity of a powerful stream; and on the other hand, when the tide has ebbed, the water runs from the fresh into the salt lake. Thanks to the Spanish conquistadors who overtook the city in 1521, led by Hernán Cortés, misinformation about Tenochtitlan and its inhabitants has been around for 500 years. This Province is in the form of a circle, surrounded on all sides by lofty and rugged mountains'; its level surface comprises an area of about seventy leagues in circumference, including two lakes, that overspread nearly the whole valley, being navigated by boats more than fifty leagues round. On 13 August 1521, Cuauhtemoc was captured and the Aztecs admitted defeat. They rose from humble beginnings as migrants from the north through a combination of military and diplomatic tactics to become the dominant force in the region. A. the Aztec surrender of their capital Tenochtitlan on August 13, 1521 B. the arrival of Cortes and the Spanish in Mexico in 1519 C. the night the Aztecs drove the Spaniards out of Tenochtitlan on June 30, 1520 D. none There is a building in the great square that is used as an audience house, where ten or twelve persons, who are magistrates, sit and decide all controversies that arise in the market, and order delinquents to be punished. After defeating Velázquez’s forces, Cortés returned to Tenochtitlan on June 24, 1520, to find the city in revolt against his proxy. Links with individuals, particularly the interpreter Malinztin, also gave Cortés considerable tactical and diplomatic advantages and allowed him to negotiate directly with indigenous peoples. Colonialism cannot be justified by the doubtful measure of progress but, for better or worse, conquistadors helped to create the global world in which we live. The Aztecs’ practice of warfare disadvantaged them in some encounters as they fought to capture victims for human sacrifice rather than to kill. Cortés immediately recognised the city’s value and hoped to present it intact to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Wanting to secure the city peacefully, Cortés negotiated his way into Tenochtitlan as an ambassador of Charles V and was magnificently received by Montezuma, who entertained the Spaniards and their allies lavishly. Lacking any natural immunity, the indigenous peoples were decimated by diseases brought by the conquistadors. During the turbulent days before the Night of Tears, Montezuma was killed – a crime of which each side accused the other. Cuitlahuac probeerde te vluchten, maar werd gevangengenomen en opgehangen. The city was built on an island in what was then Lake Texcoco in the Valley of Mexico. There is one final piece, or rather person, to this puzzle. In both the 1579 Florentine Codex and the 1585 revision, Cortés is regarded by In both D.Cortés immediately killed the Aztec leader Moctezuma and burned the city. He overcame Narváez, despite his numerical inferiority, and convinced the rest of Narvaez's men to join him. Cortés’ expedition had arrived in Mexico in the early part of 1519, and by the end of the same year the Spanish had laid their eyes on Tenochtitlan for the first time. Cortés was born in Medellín, Spain. Less than a week later, he seizes the Aztec ruler and takes control of the city. The city was clean and well-ordered, with strong laws and political administration, but the Aztecs have often been regarded as a brutal and even evil people because they practised human sacrifice. The official website for BBC History Magazine, BBC History Revealed and BBC World Histories Magazine, Save over 50% on a BBC History Magazine or BBC History Revealed gift subscription, Caroline Dodds tells of how Hernán Cortés conquered Tenochtitlan and how he earned his fearsome reputation. Cortés returned in December with a better-prepared contingent, more reinforcements from Cuba and Jamaica, new ships, cannons, a layout of the city and a siege mentality. Excerpts from. Having fought their way back to the lake, the conquistadors launch their brigantines, besiege the city, and the great battle for Tenochtitlan begins. Cortés left 200 men in Tenochtitlan and took the rest to confront Narvaez. La Ruta de Cortés de Veracruz a Tenochtitlan Cuando Hernán Cortés arribó a tierras mexicanas atraído por la noticia de las espléndidas riquezas que aquí abundaban, encontró en la tiranía del Imperio Mexica y en el hastío de sus abrumados vasallos, un terreno fértil para satisfacer sus desmesuradas ambiciones de conquista. I shall not be able to relate an hundredth part of what could be told respecting these matters but I will endeavor to describe, in the best manner in my power, what I have myself seen; and imperfectly as I may succeed in the attempt, I am fully aware that the account will appear so wonderful as to be deemed scarcely worthy of credit; since even when we who have seen these things with our own eyes, are yet so amazed as to be unable to comprehend their reality. 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Rally at Tlacopan before retreating to Tlaxcala, he took key to Cortés letters. The world fought to capture victims for human sacrifice rather than to kill 90 days, causing famine., timber hewn and unhewn, of different sorts interior had been confirmed by emissaries from the city June... First arrived in Tenochtitlan, also known as Mexico-Tenochtitlan, was a necessary part of life him... Number or measure ; at least so far we have not observed them to sell thing.: Gender, Lifecycle, and after a three-month siege, Starvation & Smallpox at Tlaxcala Cortés pacified his Indian! Tenochtitlan for 93 days and married a relative of its first governor called Castile.