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Hernán Cortés

Hernán Cortés
Hernán (Hernando) Cortés

Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca is a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early. Cortés was part of the generation of Spanish colonizers who began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas.

Born in Medellín, Spain, to a family of lesser nobility, Cortés chose to pursue a livelihood in the New World. He went to Hispaniola and later to Cuba, where he was elected captain of the third expedition to the mainland, an expedition which he partly funded. His enmity with the Governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, resulted in the recall of the expedition at the last moment, an order which Cortés ignored.

Arriving on the continent, Cortés executed a successful strategy of allying with some indigenous people against others. He also used a native woman, Doña Marina, as an interpreter; she would later bear Cortés a son. When the Governor of Cuba sent emissaries to arrest Cortés, he fought them and won, using the extra troops as reinforcements. Cortés wrote letters directly to the king asking to be acknowledged for his successes instead of punished for mutiny.

ScuttleFleetNHMDF
Cortés scuttling his own fleet off the coast of Veracruz in order to eliminate the possibility of retreat.
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