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Spanish Arrival in Mesoamerica


They saw the inland city of Tenochtitlan from there. Basin of Mexico ... were shown their lodgings in the city which were richly decorated. Stay in Mexico City ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Spanish Arrival in Mesoamerica

Spanish Arrival in Mesoamerica
  • Arrival
  • Conquistadors
  • Aztec Accounts

ArrivalA.D. 1519
  • The first city the Spanish saw was Cempoala on
    the Veracruz coastal plain.
  • Received by the Totonac ruler.
  • city with five pyramids and a round temple
    dedicated to Quetzalcoatl.
  • walled and raised above ground level for defense
    and floods.
  • Impressed by the pottery and architecture of
    these savages
  • Traveled above the coastal plain and through the
    volcanoes-Popcatpetl and Iztaccihuatl.
  • Beneath them was the Basin of Mexico.
  • 7700 sq km, with forested mts surrounding it.
  • center was a chain of five lakes.
  • They saw the inland city of Tenochtitlan from

Basin of Mexico
Volcanoes-Popcatpetl and Iztaccihuatl
  • (1485-1547), Spanish explorer and conqueror of
    the Aztec Empire of Mexico.
  • Cortés was born in Medellín, Extremadura. He
    studied law at the University of Salamanca but
    cut short his university career in 1501 and
    decided to try his fortune in the Americas.
  • Cortés sailed for Santo Domingo (now the
    Dominican Republic) in the spring of 1504. In
    1511 he joined Spanish soldier and administrator
    Diego Velázquez in the conquest of Cuba and
    subsequently became alcalde (mayor) of Santiago
    de Cuba.
  • In 1518 Cortés persuaded Velázquez, who had
    become governor of Cuba, to give him the command
    of an expedition to Mexico. The mainland had been
    discovered the year before by Spanish soldier and
    explorer Francisco Fernández de Córdoba and
    subsequently by Juan de Grijalva, nephew of
  • On February 19, 1519, Cortés, with a force of
    some 600 men, fewer than 20 horses, and 10 field
    pieces, set sail from Cuba.
  • Cortés sailed along the coast of Yucatán and in
    March 1519 landed in Mexico, subjugating the town
    of Tabasco. From the native inhabitants of
    Tabasco, Cortés learned of the Aztec Empire and
    its ruler, Montezuma II.

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  • Bernal Diaz del Castillo
  • One of Cortes conquistadors.
  • 1495 (Spain) to 1584 (Guatemala).
  • Account written in 1555, many years after the
  • Left Spain in 1514 where he went to Cuba where a
    relation was governor.
  • joined Hernandez de Cordova and went to Florida
    where they received a hostel reception.
  • Back to Cuba where he eventually joined Cortes in
    1519 where they set sail from Port of Trinidad to

March Inland
  • Forced their way inland to Basin of Mexico where
    they met with little resistance until Tlaxcala.
  • Castillo was wounded on the head and thigh and
    eventually Cortes made peace and formed an
    alliance with the inhabitants.
  • Continued their march where they massacred people
    at Itzcalpan, Tlamanalco, and Itztapalatengo.

Inland Route
Meeting between Cortes and Moctezuma II
  • An emissary of Moctezuma II met them and welcomed
    them and crossed the causeway.
  • Received by Moctezuma with much pomp and
    circumstance and offered them the city with
    little resistance.
  • There they stood by them and Montezuma approached
    on a litter.
  • Moctezuma was dressed very richly.
  • covered by a rich canopy of green colored
    feathers with gold and silver embroidery.
  • Montezuma had on sandals with soles of gold and
    the upper part adorned with precious stones.
  • As he walked his servents swept the ground and
    put cloth on it so he need not touch the dirt.
  • there they were shown their lodgings in the city
    which were richly decorated.

Stay in Mexico City
  • Received after a banquet at Montezumas court and
    exchanged more gifts.
  • Castillo repeatedly refers to the reverence
    Moctezuma paid to the Emperor of which he
    believed Cortes to be an emissary.
  • Moctezuma later says that now that he has seen
    them and seen that they were flesh and bone
    like himself and he would share his possessions
    with Cortes.

  • Moctezuma was kept prisoner in his palace by the
    Spanish and gave up the lords of the cities who
    had resisted the Spanish.
  • Many native chieftans were burned to death.
  • Finally swore fealty to King of Spain
  • Provided the Spanish with seven hundred thousand
    dollars in gold, as well as cloth and women.

Death of Moctezuma II
  • Cortés called on Montezuma to quell the revolt.
  • But the Aztec ruler was stoned while addressing
    his subjects.
  • He reportedly died three days later. Montezuma
    was succeeded by Cuitlahuac, who died of small
    pox 80 days later
  • Then, Moctezumas nephew, Cuatemotzin, succeeded
    and became the last Aztec ruler.

  • Governor of Cuba-Valasquez sent troops to see
    what was going on, because Cortes was keeping all
    the riches to himself.
  • Troops led by Navarez
  • fleet of nineteen ships and fourteen hundred
  • armed with cannons, guns, and horses.
  • Cortes left for the coast and fought with troops,
    but won them over with gold.
  • Meanwhile, the Aztecs had risen against those
    left behind and forced them away.
  • They fled to Tlaxcala where they were fortified
    by reinforcements from Cuba as well as Natives.

Mexico Revolts
  • Cortes hears word that Mexico has revolted in
    their absence.
  • After several squirmishes they retreated to
  • Here they got 4,000 soldiers from the Tlaxcalans.
  • more followed from other areas.
  • Cortes built launches with the native labor.
  • Unfortunately suffered many defeats.
  • every causeway they captured and barricaded was
    recaputured and opend at night by the Mexicans.
  • July 15 Cortes is resupplied by Vera Cruz with
    weapons from Ponce de Leon.

The 80 day siege
  • The siege began on May 21, 1521 and lasted for 85
  • Finally ended when the Spanish captured the
    northeast section of the city and eventually
    conquered the remaining Aztecs.

Mexico Surrenders
  • Cuauhtemoc, the nephew of Moctezuma II sets our
    from the city and surrenders to Cortes sometime
    around August 14, 1521.
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