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Conquistadores and Aztecs

Cortés and the Conquest of Mexico

by Rinke, Stefan

500 years ago, a Spanish flotilla under the command of Hidalgos Hérnan Cortés landed on the coast of Yucatán. The official goal of the expedition was to do Christian missionary work; yet all involved knew the real purpose of the trip: they were there to hunt for gold and slaves.

That a few hundred Spaniards destroyed the Atztec Empire – a highly developed culture with centuries of history – is an old hat. The conquistadores of all convenient means did not gain victory alone. They met groups like the Tlaxcaltecs, who suffered under Aztec predominance and were ready to ally themselves to the strangers to overthrow their old enemy. They were also aided by European diseases killing the natives in their thousands. This new account of the conquest of Mexico, alongside gripping accounts of dramatic events like the fall of Tenochtitlan and the flight of the conquerors in the ‘noche triste’, gives due attention to the protagonists on both sites, their diplomacy, and their battles.

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