How did Cortes conquer the Aztecs?

Question:

How did Cortes conquer the Aztecs?

Geronimo de Aguilar:

Geronimo de Aguilar was born in 1489, and by 1510, he was serving as a missionary and friar in Panama. In 1511, a dispute forced Aguilar to leave Panama, and while on their way to Santo Domingo, their ship ran aground in Mayan territory on the Yucatan Peninsula. The first group of Mayans planned to sacrifice him and the eleven other survivors, but he and another managed to escape into the hands of another Mayan ruler. He resided as a slave with these Maya for eight years, and in 1519, he was allowed to meet with Cortes.

Answer and Explanation:

Cortes conquered the Aztecs through alliances and deception.

When Cortes landed on the Mexican coast, he was on the run from his own government, and on Cozumel Island, Cortes met Geronimo de Aguilar, who had been shipwrecked. Aguilar joined the group and served as interpreter, and after Cortes and his men unintentionally battled at Campeche, Cortes negotiated peace with the Campeche through Aguilar, and their king provided him with another interpreter, so he could speak to the Aztecs (language used was Nahuatl). From Campeche, he moved to Vera Cruz, where he met ambassadors of the Aztec leader, and he demonstrated to them a desire for peace. While the Aztec ambassadors went back to the capital, Cortes travelled and met with the Totonac leaders. From this meeting, he formed a military alliance, which increased his strength. Through a trick, he forced the Totonacs into conflict with the governing Aztec, and they moved on to attempt to win over Tlaxcala. The people of Tlaxcala battled the approaching men at first, but after negotiation, Cortes was able to get them to join forces with him. After the Spanish massacred some natives in Cholula, Cortes and his band were welcomed into Tenochtitlan by Emperor Moctezuma II as guests. After six weeks, Cortes used the killing of two Spaniards in Vera Cruz as an excuse to place Moctezuma under arrest.

In 1520, another Spanish force arrived with orders to arrest Cortes, but he was able to get the deputy leaders to betray their leader and joined him. While Cortes was away, his soldiers massacred some Aztecs in Tenochtitlan over human sacrifices, which led to an uprising by the Aztecs in the city. When Cortes returned to the city, he fought his way through to the men, and he led as many as he could out. They finally made it back to Tlaxcala, and after some rest and recovery, Cortes led a second assault on the city. On August 21, 1521, Cortes and his troops marched into Tenochtitlan, thus ending the Aztec Empire.


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