Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro

In the year 1518 Cortes was entrusted with the command on an expedition that was to explore and secure the interior os Mexico. The motive of this expedition was to make Mexico a colony of Spain. Cortes with around 600 men landed in Yucatan Peninsula in Maya territory. Cortes managed to win a battle against the natives of Tabasco (March 1519). In July 1519, Cortes occupied Veracruz. The battle of Veracruz has significant meaning in Cortes’ career. This battle put him directly under the control of the Spanish emperor Charles V and freed him from the governor of Cuba.

Leaving 100 men in Veracruz, Cortes set for Tenochtitlan (August 1519). At that time he was left with 400 men, 15 horsemen, 15 cannons and interestingly, 100 indigenous people whom he received from the previous battles. This inclusion of indigenous people into the army was possible because of the Mayanese interpreters within the army.
Moreover, Cortes did develop a relationship with a Mayanese woman, La Malinche, who was comfortable in both Nahuatl and Maya languages. This lesson helped Cortes become well versed in both the languages and hence he could convince the local people to join his group while by marrying La Malinche, won their trust and respect.

Furthermore, on the way to Tenochtitlan Cortes formed alliances with the native American population like Nahuas, Tlaxcala, and the Totonacs. A. these alliances proved very fruitful for Cortes in the latter part of his conquests. He was joined by around 3000 Tlaxcalteca and merged to the second largest city of Central Mexico, Cholula (October 1519). At this point, the foresight of Cortes is well explained in his massacre of the natives of Cholula. It was done to inflict fear upon the minds of the Aztecs waiting for him at Tenochtitlan.

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