Thesis: Hernan Cortez With the Discovery

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Hernan Cortez

With the discovery of the American continent and its riches, the Europeans were determined to take advantage of the new land. Hernan Cortez, a troubled Spanish in search of glory, had been the first to break the peaceful relationship between the Europeans and the American continent. One of the first major clashes between the two had turned out as a result of the divergences between the Aztecs and the Spanish conquerors.

People have been trying to gain as much land and riches as they possibly could ever since the early ages. This act has triggered the process of globalization because of the frequent interaction between nations that man has made with time. After the great conquests done by the early empires the world has stood still when concerning people's appetite for further conquering unknown land. However, the situation began to change with the rise of the Spanish and the Portuguese as great masters of the sea.

Christopher Columbus had been among the first visionaries to embark on an expedition that, he believed, would succeed in finding the West Indies and turn him into a triumphant explorer. Instead of finding the Asian continent, Columbus stumbles upon the American continent in 1492 and opens an age of conquests of the new land. Following the first step made by a European on American land, the Spanish become fascinated in conquering and exploring America. In a short amount of time the Spaniards manage to expand their power across large portions of land.

The Spanish expeditions were made possible also because of the fact that Spain had just united its two kingdoms with the marriage of Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon. During Columbus's expedition, Spain had been dealing with a wave of anti-Jewish propaganda meant to remove all the Jews from within its borders. The series of Spanish conquests started with the capturing of the kingdom of Granada from Emir Boabdil. After the death of both Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, King Charles I of the Habsburg Dynasty came in Spain's throne.

The Spanish conquerors have been known for their mercilessness and for their insatiability regarding the American treasures. Conversely, they often brought friars along with them in order to provide help to the allegedly savage inhabitants of America. The Spanish have begun their conquest of the new land with Diego Velasquez de Cuellar that had been sent from Hispaniola to takeover the island of Cuba along with 300 of his men.

The Cubans surrendered without opposing any resistance, but regardless of the fact, the Spaniards once again proved their brutality by massacring numerous innocent natives. Bartolomeo Las Casas had been among the friars witnessing the slaughter and shortly after he became dedicated to protecting the Indians that, he claimed, were normal human beings.

Subsequent to the early conquerors, new conquistadores were on their path to success. Born in 1485 in Castile, Hernando Cortes Pizarro had been his parents' only son. After failing to have success in school, despite his talent in writing, Cortez decides to become an explorer after hearing about conquests in the new world. Attempting to leave the country as a soldier, he misses his ship because of an unfortunate accident which renders him immobile for some time. At last, Cortez manages to board a ship commanded by Alonso Quintero which was heading for the new land. Cortez reached the American soil in Hispaniola firm on becoming rich with gold, but instead he had to abide by owning only land and slaves.

Keen on succeeding, Cortez joined the military and conducted several military operations over the years, which increased his reputation. Because of his actions in the conquering of Cuba, Cortez was granted with more land and slaves, and ultimately he was designated mayor of Santiago, which had been the Spanish capital of Cuba at the time. Las Casas refers to Cortez as being one of the cruelest people and as being untouched considering the number of Indians dying in the process of extracting gold from his mines.

During the period in which the Spanish conquerors were expanding their territory into America, the Aztec empire, which was not far from Cuba, had been flourishing. It did not take much before the Spanish discovered the Aztecs with the help of Juan de Grijalva. The Aztec empire stretched from the Valley of Mexico in central Mexico east to the Gulf of Mexico and south to Guatemala. It is believed that the Capital city of the empire, named Tenochtitlan, had been the largest city in the world at that time. When going to war, the Aztecs were attempting to bring their concepts and traditions within the enemy country in order for the Aztec empire to expand.

The Aztecs were extremely religious people and relied on the help of their gods in the cases in which the Empire had deficiencies. The Aztec calendar was created in order for the people to know the proper times for planting and harvesting crops. At its peak the Aztec empire governed over approximately 15 million people that all obeyed their king Montezuma II in the capital city of Tenochtitlan. The Aztec empire had been formed from numerous different communities that shared a common cultural and historical background. (Schmal)

The people in the Tenochtitlan that ruled over the rest of the Aztec empire were believed to have come to the Mexico Valley from a northwestern mythical place called Aztlan. Most probably, the Mexica (as the Aztecs inhabiting Tenochtitlan were called) were migrating in search for a territory which would have all that is needed for a civilization to thrive. After settling in Tenochtitlan, the Mexica worked together to build a complex chain of canals and buildings on the prolific land. Over time, the Mexica increased their power by training their soldiers and resorting to intermarriage as a mean to keep the power within their group.

During the 15th century, the Mexica made efforts in subduing all the surrounding communities under their power and made alliances so that they would be able to overthrow any nation in their vicinity. The Aztecs were convinced that the only method through which their gods would be pleased and provide them with their daily needs would be if humans would be sacrificed constantly. The Aztec culture had been very complex and schools had been built in order for the Aztec children to learn about how to develop correctly in their society.

In the early sixteenth century the Aztec empire had been among the most dominant powers from the American continent. But despite the influence that it had, uprisings were commonly seen within the empire because of unsatisfied communities. The reason for which the rebellions took place is that more than a few members of the empire did not approve with the harsh administration. Despite the rapid expansion of the Aztecs, there are a few areas around the Valley of Mexico that they were not able to conquer. The most important community which had been unwilling to give in to the pressure from the Aztecs was the Tlaxcala, the main enemy of the Aztec empire. The Spaniards hurried to take advantage of the situation between the Aztecs and the Tlaxclans by offering to support Tlaxcala in a campaign against Aztec.

The Aztec empire had begun to have problems since the coming of king Montezuma II in the leadership of the state. Concomitantly with the crowning of the new king several districts inside the empire started to protest against their leaders. The inhabitants of Tenochtitlan perceived the protests as a bad prophecy that the empire would crumble.

After the discovery of Mexico in 1518 by de Grijalva, Velasquez decided to put Cortez in charge of building a colony in the newly found land. After considering the situation and being aware of Cortez's impatient nature, Velasquez changed his mind and aborted the expedition. Despite his orders, Cortez had already embarked toward Mexico along with his army. Unlike the common Spanish explorers that were peaceful and were only dedicated to trading, Cortez had been single-minded and greedy. His intentions were to subdue the Aztec people and to conquer all of the Aztec empire. After setting foot on Mexican land, Cortez sunk all of his ships in order to prevent his companions from leaving him. In the beginning Cortez attacked the Tlaxclans that were stunned at the sight of the Spanish and fled in terror from the strange white people. The Tlaxclans than offered to make peace with Cortez and to form an alliance against their common enemy: the Aztec empire. Consequent to the battle with the Tlaxcala people, Cortez took captive a young native girl that later became his interpret and advisor. During his journey towards the Mexican capital, Cortez's troops encounter resistance from troops sent by king Montezuma to kill the newcomers.

Finally, on the 8th of October 1519, Cortez reaches the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan and is greeted by king Montezuma himself that brings gifts for the white people. Montezuma believes the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Hernan Cortez With the Discovery.  (2008, November 11).  Retrieved July 24, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/hernan-cortez-discovery/523610

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"Hernan Cortez With the Discovery."  Essaytown.com.  November 11, 2008.  Accessed July 24, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/hernan-cortez-discovery/523610.