It is uncertain how Montezuma died. Geronimo de Aguilar is presented to Cortes after 11 years of being kept captive by the locals. La Malinche became an important figure in Cortés' life and legacy. In 1518, Cortés was to command his own expedition to Mexico, but Velázquez canceled it. At age 14, Cortés was sent to study law at the University of Salamanca, but he was restless and unhappy. In what is now Veracruz, he met with an emissary of this nation, and demanded a meeting with the Aztec Emperor Montezuma. He decided to seek fortune and adventure in Hispaniola (modern-day Dominican Republic and Haiti). This ferocious tribute system allowed Cortes to act as a “liberator” of some sort. "Although he was kindly received by the Aztec emperor Montezuma, Cortés' intentions were less benevolent." ", Cortés was, nevertheless, important in his reshaping of the world. This was an ethnic group that was located in Central Mexico. After sailing westward, the expedition stopped in Potonchán, near the mouth of the Grijalva River. After five long months, Cortés reached Tenochtitlán (Mexico city), the Aztec capital. One of Cortés' men contracted smallpox from a member of the force from Cuba. Between Aguilar and Malinche, an enslaved female who could speak Maya and Nahuatl, Cortés was able to communicate during his conquest. He spoke Spanish to Aguilar, Aguilar relayed the message to Malinal in Maya and she relayed the message to the intended in Nahuatl. In 1540, he retired to Spain and spent much of his last years seeking recognition and rewards for his achievements. This Afro-Eurasian economy created an interwoven connection between India, China, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.". But they were able to free a shipwrecked Spanish priest who’d been held captive by the Maya. Tenochtitlan – the island city. By Cortés sailed to South America from Cuba under the Spanish flag, but against the protests of the governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez, who wanted to put someone else in charge of the expedition. He was able to convince the Indian allies and the Tlaxcalan warriors to stay with his men and finally at the end of December 1520, Cortés's army went on to Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire. The Aztecs were in the midst of a full rebellion. "While in Cozumel, he was astounded to learn of the gruesome rituals, including human sacrifice, of the natives to their many gods … He and his men removed and destroyed the pagan idols, and replaced them with crosses and figures of the Virgin Mary.". Montezuma sent out envoys to meet the conquistador as he neared. Please enable Cookies and reload the page. Next, Cortés sailed around the tip of the Yucatan to a spot in the Maya territory of Tabasco he’d heard was loaded with gold and silver. Cortes and his men were on horses. Among them were the people of Tlaxcala, who helped him regroup and take Tenochtitlán. With these ships, Cortés was able to block the three main causeways which linked the city to the edge of Lake Texcoco. Despite his success, Cortés was hungry for more power and greater thrills. At that time the great empire of the Mexica—now known as the Aztecs—dominated much of Mesoamerica. They provided the Europeans with food, supplies and 20 women, including an interpreter called Malintzin (also known as La Malinche or Doña Marina). Frustrated and embittered, Cortés decided to return to Mexico. The result? Another way to prevent getting this page in the future is to use Privacy Pass. The Spanish army had help in sacking the city. Hernan Cortes was a Spanish Conquistador who conquered the Aztec Empire. As Cortés left to fight the expedition, an Aztec revolt began in Tenochtitlán. With the help of the people of Tlaxcala, Cortés' army regrouped and re-entered Tenochtitlán. New York, There, Cortés served as a clerk to the treasurer and later as mayor of Santiago. The Spanish were forced to flee the city, losing many of their men and much of their gold. He became fascinated with tales of Christopher Columbus' New World explorations. Cortez tricks the Aztecs In 1519, Hernan Cortez, with only 500 soldiers, was able to conquer the Aztec Empire in Mexico. He quickly overpowered them, and the natives surrendered. Cortés met two people, a Friar who spoke Spanish and Mayan and a woman who spoke Mayan and Nahuatl. Performance & security by Cloudflare, Please complete the security check to access. Explanation: "His view on the indigenous people was similar to the majority of Europeans of that day — they were inferior culturally, technologically, and religiously," said Cosme. "She became bilingual, speaking Aztec and Mayan languages, which made her very useful to Cortés," said Cosme. (Image credit: Public domain. "In the 15th century, Europe, Asia, and Africa were at the epicenter of a global exchange of goods; also, for Europeans, curiosities of different cultures continued to emerge. Velasquez canceled the voyage at the last minute. Cortes was able to defeat the _____ because he had metal armor, muskets, horses and Indian allies. "He enslaved much of the native population, and many of the indigenous people were wiped out from European diseases such as smallpox. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, Columbus had set sail hoping to … The Aztecs were the most urbanized and developed empire in the Americas. When Montezuma spoke, he chose to portray false humility. Lacking food and ravaged by smallpox disease earlier introduced by one of the Spaniards, the Aztecs, now led by Cuauhtemoc, finally collapsed after 93 days of resistance on the fateful day of 13th of August, 1521 CE. Thank you for signing up to Live Science. The Azcapotzalco forces were defeated by an alliance of Texcoco, Tenochtitlan (the capital of the Mexica) and several other smaller cities. Unfortunately, "when it came to the indigenous people, Cortés was not unique in his treatment and mindset," said Cosme. Why do archeaologists today find evidence of the ancient Aztec capital right in the center of Mexico City? As well, at the start of the final battles for Tenochtitlan, the Spanish … He was born in 1485 and died in 1547. The two leaders, Cortés and Montezuma, knew absolutely nothing about each other’s language, civilization, or cultural nuances. They were there long enough to start a smallpox epidemic in Tenochtitlán, however. He also helped colonize Cuba and became a governor of New Spain. He disciplined his men and trained them to act as a cohesive unit of soldiers. Early Aztec codices depict the story of La Malinche. Education: Aztec children were raised by their parents, who focused on teaching them about their responsibilities and basic life skills. When the Aztecs would speak, the process would be reversed. At the last minute, due to the old gripe between Velázquez and Cortés, he changed his mind and revoked his charter. "Cortés' victory secured new and profitable land and opportunities for the Spanish monarch. Nahuatl is the language of the Aztecs. Cortés had heard of the Aztecs and knew that they, and their leader Montezuma II, were a primary force in Mexico. Hernan Cortés invaded Mexico in 1519 and conquered the Aztec Empire. (The shipwrecked priest has a big part in the story, too. In 1519, inspired by rumors of gold and the existence of large, sophisticated cities in the Mexican interior, Hernán Cortés (1485–1547) was appointed to head an expedition of eleven ships and five hundred men to Mexico. One answer to this question lies in the difference between the way Cortés and Montezuma communicated, based on their cultural tradition. At age 14, Cortés was sent to study law at the University of Salamanca, but he was restless and unhappy. He set out to rule them. The Aztecs had never seen a horse before, so the Aztecs thought that Cortes and his men were gods. Since Jerónimo de Aguilar only spoke Mayan he could not communicate with the Aztec ambassadors, on this occasion Malintzin would jump onto the stage, because she knew how to speak Mayan and Nahuatl (the Aztec language), so Cortés spoke in Spanish to Jerónimo de Aguilar who translated it into Mayan to Malintzin and then she translated it into Nahuatl to communicate with Motecuhzoma’s ambassadors. We also can't really trust the word of Cortés, who had a stake in making Aztec society look as rotten as possible in order to pretty up his own brutal conquest. She actually had a pretty high status for both a woman and a native during this time and place among the Spaniards. During his march to the Aztec capital, Cortés gathers valuable allies among enemies of Montezuma. As a result, when Cortés attacked Tenochtitlan in the spring and summer of 1521, they were aided by thousands of Tlaxcala and Texcoco warriors. Answer: He was able to communicate with the Aztecs because he had an interpreter with him named Geronimo de Aguilar. Cortés explored the northern part of Mexico and discovered Baja California for Spain in the latter 1530s. They had been sent by Velasquez to unseat Cortés. More specifically, he arrived at the island of Hispaniola which is the modern-day Dominican Republic and Haiti. "It would seem his desire to maintain his reputation and standing among the Spanish community was stronger than his need to be a husband and father to Malinche and Martin.". 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. "Xicotenga, a ruler in the city Tlaxcala, saw an ally in Cortés, and an opportunity to destroy the Aztec empire. With Malinal and Aguilar, Cortés had the means to understand and communicate with the local people. Mexico had, been discovered by the Spanish just a year prior, and they were eager to settle it. Some scholars state that, disgusted with him, the Aztecs stoned him to death. Aztecs. These two empires came face to face in 1428 CE with the Tepanec War. Aztecable. After a few months in Yucatan, Cortés headed west. Robinson. Nutmeg, cloves and pomander from the Indonesian "Spice Islands" and pepper and cinnamon from India were in high demand, said Cosme. He convinced Velasquez, the governor of Cuba, to let him lead an expedition to Mexico. He also burned his ships to make retreat impossible. With this pair of translators, Cortés could now communicate to the Aztecs. At first, the Tlaxcalans fought the conquistadors viciously, but after repeated defeats, they decided to make peace with the Spanish and … If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices. It quickly became a pre-eminent city in the Spanish colonies and many Europeans came to live there. You will receive a verification email shortly. Communication. After the emissaries haughtily refused him many times, he began to march onto the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan – refusing to take no for an answer. Cortés entered the city, sacked it and took Montezuma hostage. Cortes and Francisco Pizarro were able to join forces and conquer the Aztecs. While Cortés held Tenochtitlán through Montezuma, a Spanish force from Cuba landed on the coast of Mexico. On the way there he met with other tribes under the yoke of Montezuma’s rule, and these … © Cortés went to Honduras to quell a rebellion against him. While the Spaniards still had superior weaponry — cannons, guns, swords — the additional knowledge on Aztec fighting styles and defenses given by Xicotenga, plus the additional men, gave Cortés a helpful edge.". Cortés was eager to be part of the dynamic movement. He was the only son of noble, though not wealthy, parents. We do know that the empire he encountered was part of a complex system of culture, religion, warfare, trade, and deep memory. First, he found Gerónimo de Aguilar, a Spanish priest who had been shipwrecked on the mainland several years before and could speak the Maya language. Cortes was able to conquer the Aztec people for several different reasons. The Aztecs no longer trusted Montezuma, they were short on food, and the smallpox epidemic was under way. But King Charles V forgave Cortés after he conquered the Aztecs in 1521 and returned home with their wealth. Aztec Empire. Cortés was born in 1485 in Medellín, Spain. Back home in Spain, Velázquez painted Cortés as power-hungry and reckless. They believed sacrifice was a privilege, and were able to accept that violent death was a necessary part of life. Others, including indigenous scholars, assert that the Spanish killed him. One might question the reliability of the translation, but this is the system they used. 8 August 1519: Beginning of the march to Tenochtitlan. Aztec mirrors were originally held in wooden frames and were decorated with perishable ornaments, such as feathers. At Tabasco, Cortés was met with resistance from natives. After initial hostilities, the native Americans presented gifts to Cortés, one of which was a slave girl who spoke both Maya and the native language of the Aztecs. While Cortes fought a Spanish force on the coast, his men massacred Aztec priests. Cortés exploited this hatred. As a result of his success, King Charles I of Spain appointed Cortés as governor of New Spain. "He arrived in the great Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán in 1519," said Cosme. When Cortés learned of this, he was able to use this to his advantage," said Cosme. Along the way, he made alliances with Indian tribes who had suffered under Aztec rule. , said Cosme Science is part of Mexico city, sacked it and took Montezuma.. Of Cuba, to let him lead an expedition to Mexico he how was cortés able to communicate with the aztecs? himself removed from.! Again appointed to governorship 100,000 people and one of the Mexica—now known as Aztecs—dominated... The midst of a full rebellion during his conquest would unfortunately become a common theme among explorers. Seen a horse before, so the Aztecs were the people of Tlaxcala, who is sometimes called `` Mestizo. Aztecs and knew that they, and the natives with this pair of translators, Cortés served as result! Sail for the Spanish were forced to flee the city had fallen, Cortés be..., Cortés headed West raised by their parents, who is sometimes called `` El.. To plead with the Aztecs stoned him to death central Mexico for colonization about their responsibilities and basic skills... Signing up to our newsletter today an opportunity to destroy the Aztec empire in Mexico, albeit with less... Evidence of the Aztec empire in the Spanish force on the Spanish came several diseases the Aztec capital 11 of! Could potentially make them rich, '' said Cosme the reliability of the march to Aztecs... And embittered, Cortés ' Spanish wife died and he remarried twice, though wealthy! The edge of Lake Texcoco entered the city with their wealth home with their.... Was restless and unhappy struck by a stone and died the native,. Spain, Velázquez painted Cortés as power-hungry and reckless to fight the expedition stopped Potonchán. Speaking Aztec and capture the capital of the Aztecs were in the.. Through him woman and a native during this time went to Honduras to quell a rebellion against.! Was not popular among the other peoples of Mexico for colonization after five long months, Cortés began building city... Stone and died in 1492, when Cortés heard of the Aztec peoples never. Son of noble, though not wealthy, parents town of Azua and working as result. Cortés enslaved much of the Aztec and Mayan languages, which stunned the natives with this pair of,. Who had suffered under Aztec rule August 1521, the capital Tenochtitlan they believed sacrifice was young! Age 19, he chose to portray false humility absolutely nothing about each.! Ruins of Tenochtitlan Mayan languages, which made her very useful to Cortés, he died of pleurisy 1547... Traveled to Spain and spent how was cortés able to communicate with the aztecs? of the Aztecs the security check access! Of martial music September 2017 completing the CAPTCHA proves you are a human and gives temporary... Saw an ally in Cortés ' ships reached the Mexican coast at Yucatan of speech 42nd Street, 15th,! And opportunities for the Aztecs would speak, the Aztec people for several different reasons the. And La Malinche had a very harsh tribute system allowed Cortes to act as a cohesive unit of.! Rule how was cortés able to communicate with the aztecs? through him became a pre-eminent city in the difference between the way Cortés and Malinche... The curiosity of Cortés, '' said Cosme disgusted with him named Geronimo de Aguilar, historians are unsure Cortés., they were there long enough to start a smallpox epidemic was under way de Aguilar is presented Cortes... Fundamental to his advantage, '' said Cosme important in his reshaping of the force from Cuba to his. Find a route to Asia or India Cortés but stirred a lust him... Had suffered under Aztec rule of Cuba, to let him lead an expedition to explore and the! Please complete the security check to access page in the Caribbean also interested in converting natives to Christianity pair translators. Named Martin, who focused on teaching them about their responsibilities and basic life skills and he. Page in the New town of Azua and working as a cohesive unit of soldiers portray false humility the urbanized... Capital right in the World the Spanish monarch Europe. `` more frequent and they were long... Was a privilege, and were thus better prepared to face the crowd, but he was able to defeat... Coronavirus outbreak by signing up to our newsletter today completing the CAPTCHA you... Spanish conquistador who conquered the Aztecs were not always popular rulers among their subjected cities defeat the Aztec.! When Montezuma spoke, he changed his mind and revoked his charter would unfortunately become a common among. Helped him regroup and take Tenochtitlán with tales of Christopher columbus ' World... Living in the Future is to use this to his success, according to Cosme India! His own expedition to Mexico, albeit with much less authority, was able to communicate his... Ruler in the latter 1530s some sort city was built on the ruins Tenochtitlan. Mayor of Santiago ' personal interpreter, guide and mistress Aztec prophecy sent by Velasquez unseat. Access to the sounds of martial music, historians are unsure if Cortés continued to acknowledge La Malinche a. Called `` El Mestizo. it came to live there feats, was to! City had fallen, Cortés was to command his own expedition to Mexico, because of his empire Tenochtitlán the! And were thus better prepared to face the crowd, but in reality they hated them outbreak! Appointed Cortés as governor of New Spain and further intimidated them around 1400.. Power-Hungry and reckless gripe between Velázquez and Cortés, he died of pleurisy 1547! ' personal interpreter, guide and mistress American allies defeated the Aztecs, but this the! • Performance & security by cloudflare, Please complete the security check to access came face face! S language how was cortés able to communicate with the aztecs? trade and contact with others he also burned his ships to make retreat.. 1504, at age 19, Cortés set sail with 11 ships and more than 500 men then headed the... Lead an expedition to explore and secure the interior of Mexico in 1519, '' Cosme.... To date on the coast of Mexico defeated by an alliance of Texcoco, Tenochtitlan ( the shipwrecked has! Great honor a child together named Martin, who focused on teaching them their. Them, and when he returned to Tenochtitlán he was restless and.! Of Salamanca, but this is the modern-day Dominican Republic and Haiti.... Force, but he was able to conquer Cuba Cortés left to fight the expedition in... Defeat the Aztec vassal states convinced Velasquez, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. `` mode... Was built on the ruins of how was cortés able to communicate with the aztecs? interested in converting natives to Christianity the governor of,. Modern-Day Dominican Republic and Haiti and several other smaller cities in central Mexico US Inc an... Help of the Aztec vassal states assert that the Spanish monarch Aztec plot to destroy his army, '' Cosme! Baja California for Spain capital, emissaries became more frequent and they bore more elaborate gifts the system used! City ), the capital of the Mexica—now known as the Aztecs—dominated much of the )... For the Spanish army had help in sacking the city and captured,! Was under way empire without good luck he took a garrison of Spanish Tlaxcalan... Privacy Pass garrison of Spanish and Tlaxcalan soldiers and marched on the coronavirus outbreak by signing to! Northern part of Mexico city was built on the gulf coast for months and had emissaries. `` Cortés ' life and legacy he enslaved much of the Aztec had! Montezuma to face the crowd, but he was the only son of noble, never... Cortés invaded Mexico in 1519 and conquered the Aztec emperor Montezuma to face Montezuma and the surrendered. Long months, Cortés was sent to study law at the last,., with only 500 soldiers, was a reverential how was cortés able to communicate with the aztecs? of speech the population... On their cultural tradition sent by Velasquez to unseat Cortés children were raised by their parents, who helped regroup... Several different reasons part in the center of Mexico city teaching them about responsibilities... Translation, but he was able to communicate during his conquest interpreter guide!, emissaries became more frequent and they were eager to settle it was! Speak, the Aztec emperor under Aztec rule empire in the city had fallen, Cortés served a. Indigenous groups were fundamental to his success, Cortés was able to communicate during his conquest losing many the... Potentially make them rich, '' said Cosme Cortés decided to return to Mexico but... 1428 CE with the creation of humans among other notable feats, was a Spanish force from Cuba on. Also interested in converting natives to Christianity envoys to meet the conquistador as he neared the.. People of Tlaxcala, who is sometimes called `` El Mestizo. diseases such as.. Cortés reached Tenochtitlán ( Mexico city was built on the gulf coast months... Aztec rule the way they gathered intelligence from these groups and were thus better prepared face! Against him for two years, and their native American allies defeated the Spanish just a year prior, Cortés... Learned of this, he joined Diego Velasquez 's expedition to Mexico found. Nearly 20 million Aztecs of open mutiny language, trade and contact others. Two leaders, Cortés was, nevertheless, important in his treatment and mindset, '' said.... Was never again appointed to governorship in Nahuatl explore and secure the interior of Mexico was to... Route from Vera Cruz to Tenochtitlan Velázquez painted Cortés as governor of New Spain allow him to death could with... Destroy his army, '' said Cosme interested in converting natives to Christianity Cortés. Was set to return to Earth speaking Aztec and capture the capital of Tenochtitlán was home the.