At the age of 19, he travelled to the Spanish controlled colonies in the Caribbean. She soon came to be known as Malinche, or Doña Marina. The fortunes of the kingdom of Moctezuma, however, were doomed to a swift and spectacular decline once Cortés and his men disembarked on the Mexican coast. After two weeks of bloody fighting, Tlaxcalan leaders convinced the military and civil leadership of Tlaxcala to sue for peace. Wounded in one leg, the Spanish leader was ultimately rescued by his captains. Following a military victory over another native people, the Tlaxcaltec, Cortés incorporated more warriors into his army. Two of the Cempoalan emissaries were allowed to escape and report to Cortes. The Tlaxcalans would supposedly welcome the Spanish but would send their Otomí allies to attack them. The fall of the Aztec City of Tenochtitlan to the Spanish led by Conquistador Hernan Cortes marked the end of an era as the Old and New Worlds collided with catastrophic results for the New World which would be decimated by War, famine and disease.. On his arrival, Hernan Cortes was accompanied by a force of 530 Armed Europeans and a few hundred Cuban natives and African slaves. From 1518-1521, Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes and his army brought down the mighty Aztec Empire, the greatest the New World had ever seen. The Mexica originated from northern Mexico. The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire was one of the most significant and complex events in world history. Between 1519 and 1521, Spanish conquistadors, led by Hernán Cortés, overthrew the Aztec Empire.This event is called the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire.Cortés helped old enemies of the Aztecs defeat them in one of the most important events in the Spanish colonization of the Americas.. After the Spanish fled Tenochtitlan, they retreated to Tlaxcala to rest and regroup. According to the pictographic codices in which the Aztecs recorded their history, the place of origin was called Aztlán. A. Roman B. Incan C. Mayan D. Aztec One of them, a young woman, could speak several local languages and soon learned Spanish too. Eventually, the Tlaxcalans saw that the Spanish were a greater threat than the Mexica (and had been so all along). During the day, the Tlaxcalans and their Otomi allies would attack, only to be driven off by the Spanish. In the fifteenth century, long-distance trade shifted to A) East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean Order of the social class in the Aztec Empire. At first, colonization by the burgeoning new world power, Spain, was centered on the islands of the Caribbean, with little contact with the complex, indigenous civilizations on the mainland. Were the Tlaxcalans traitors? (See also: New clues to the lost fleet of Cortés .). He gained valuable insights into the organization of the islands’ indigenous peoples and proved an adept arbiter in the continual squabbles that broke out among the Spaniards, forever vying to enlarge their estates or snag lucrative administrative positions. Although the Spanish were weakening, the Tlaxcalans were dismayed to see that they were not gaining the upper hand, even with their superior numbers and fierce fighting. The capital of the Aztec Empire. This vast territory would reach its greatest extent in the 18th century, with territory throughout North and South America. A Spanish Officer named Pedro De … When the Spanish re-conquered Tenochtitlan in 1521, thousands of Tlaxcalan soldiers joined them. The Spanish conquest was devastating to the Aztec people.By 1680, 94% of the Aztec population had died. The first killing was a massacre of Aztec nobles gathered for a religious ceremony. By 1519, only a few isolated holdouts remained. \"He arrived in the great Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán in 1519,\" said Cosme. In the end, Cortes did not make it a condition of their alliance, but he continued to pressure the Tlaxcalans to convert and abandon their previous "idolatrous" practices. By 1519, only a few isolated holdouts remained. Moctezuma died a few days later, but his successors would fare no better than he did. Born to modest lower nobility in the Spanish city of Medellín in 1485, Cortés stood out at an early age for his intelligence and his restless spirit of adventure inspired by the recent voyages of Christopher Columbus. Fear gripped the huge Aztec capital on Cortés’s entry, the chroniclers wrote: Its 250,000 inhabitants put up no resistance to Cortés’s small force of a few hundred men and 1,000 Tlaxcaltec allies. ), Having rapidly imposed control over the indigenous population in the coastal region, Cortés was given 20 slaves by a local chieftain. Whole swaths of the Americas rapidly fell to the Spanish crown, a transformation begun by the ruthless conqueror of the Aztec Empire, Hernán Cortés. The Tlaxcalans' hatred of the Mexica ran very deep. \"Although he was kindly received by the Aztec emperor Montezuma, Cortés' intentions were less benevolent.\" He set out to rule them. Cortés Conquers the Aztecs Cortés became worried that some of his crew would steal his ships and desert him so he sunk his fleet before marching to... After Montezuma II was killed the Aztecs elected Cuauhtemoc as their new king. Rare Aztec Map Reveals a Glimpse of Life in 1500s Mexico. One important aspect of their extended stay was that they could rest, heal their wounds, tend to their horses and equipment and basically get ready for the next step of their journey. For several days, the Spaniards vainly used Moctezuma in an attempt to calm tempers, but his people pelted the puppet king with stones. WATCH: In the southern part of what is now Mexico City, archaeologists have discovered a 2,400-year-old gravesite with ten bodies entwined in a circle. Meanwhile, the Tlaxcalans were trying to decide what to do about the Spanish. There was now no turning back. The loss of human life was staggering, both in absolute figures and in its disproportionality. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- Ever since the conquest, some Mexicans have considered Tlaxcalans to be "traitors" who, like Cortes' enslaved interpreter Doña Marina (better known as "Malinche") aided the Spanish in the destruction of native culture. The outbreak weakened the Aztec while giving Cortés time to regroup. Even after two weeks of constantly battling the Spanish, the Tlaxcalans still had thousands of warriors, fierce men who were loyal to their elders (and the alliance their elders made) and who despised the Mexica. Leader of the Aztec empire when the Spanish arrived. Hernan Cortés was the Spanish conquistador that led the expedition to explore and conquer the Aztec Empire. The Aztecs tried repeatedly to conquer and subjugate them but always failed. Aztec, self name Culhua-Mexica, Nahuatl-speaking people who in the 15th and early 16th centuries ruled a large empire in what is now central and southern Mexico.The Aztecs are so called from Aztlán (“White Land”), an allusion to their origins, probably in northern Mexico. But the most important thing the Spanish gained in their stay in Tlaxcala was an ally. It was not long, however, before the lure of wealth spurred Spain’s adventurers beyond exploration and into a phase of conquest that would lay the foundations of the modern world. The news of the foreigners’ arrival soon reached the Aztec emperor, Moctezuma, in Tenochtitlan. It was a very productive time for Cortes and his men. 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. The war between Spain and the Aztecs went from 1519 to 1521. Cortés’s forces seemed invincible. Any resistance was brutally crushed: Many indigenous enemies were captured as slaves and some were even branded following their capture. One by one, the Mexica had conquered and subjugated dozens of neighboring cultures and city-states, turning them into strategic allies or resentful vassals. They fought the Spanish and then, when offered an alliance by these formidable foreign warriors against their traditional enemies, decided that "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." At the beginning of 1520 he was forced to leave Tenochtitlan to deal with a punitive expedition sent from Cuba by the enraged Diego Velázquez. Xicotencatl the Younger, who had been leery of the Spanish all along, tried to openly break with them in 1521 and was ordered publicly hanged by Cortes; it was a poor repayment to the young Prince's father, Xicotencatl the Elder, whose support of Cortes had been so crucial. After sending messages back and forth for a few days with not only the elders of Tlaxcala but also Emperor Montezuma, Cortes decided to go to Tlaxcala. Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire has been listed as a level-4 vital article in History. Christopher Minster, Ph.D., is a professor at the ​Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. To appease the Spaniards, he sent envoys and gifts to Cortés, but he only succeeded in inflaming Cortés’s desires for more Aztec riches. In Cholula, the Tlaxcalans warned Cortes of a possible ambush: they participated in the ensuing Cholula Massacre, capturing many Cholulans and bringing them back to Tlaxcala where they were to be either enslaved or sacrificed. In this, they were helped enormously by two factors. In August of 1519, the Spanish were making their way to Tenochtitlan. Tlaxcala and the Aztec Empire in 1519 . During this setback for the conquistador, the Aztec warriors managed to regain lost ground and rebuild the city’s fortifications, pushing the Spanish onto the defensive for nearly three weeks. According to Aztec mythology, this must be provided to the sun or it will fail to rise, bringing about the end of the world. This stigma persists today, albeit in a weakened form. The conquest of Tenochtitlan and the subsequent consolidation of Spanish domination over the former Aztec Empire was the first major possession in what became the Spanish Empire. On the way to Tenochtitlán, he clashed with local Indians, but many of these people, including the nation of Tlaxcala, became his allies after learning of his plan to conquer their hated Aztec rulers. In just a few years, he would lose many of his lands in the New World. The warriors and noblemen who were not killed immediately died later from rampant smallpox and other diseases. Spain would win the Battle of Otumba a few days later. A. Cortés once described the land near Veracruz, the city he founded on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, as rich as the mythical land where King Solomon obtained his gold. Meanwhile, envoys from Mexica Emperor Montezuma showed up, encouraging the Spanish to keep fighting the Tlaxcalans and to not trust anything they said. Decades of rapid expansion in the Americas seemed to have eclipsed his own exploits, and few bells tolled for the man whose ruthlessness and cunning transformed the Americas. Despite being made a marquis years later, the Conqueror of Mexico did not have a glorious end. In 1547, at the age of 62, he died in a village near Sevilla, Spain, embroiled in lawsuits and his health broken by a series of disastrous expeditions.