Conquest of Mexico Essay

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Conquest of Mexico

In 1519 Hernán Cortés led a couple hundred other Spaniards inland to the impressive Empire of the Mexica ruled by the Great Montezuma. Many historians today tell how quickly and almost effortlessly these Spaniards conquered the Empire. They paint an image of ignorant, helpless Indians practically giving up their land out of fear of this group because certainly the Spaniards must be gods since they have powerful weapons and strange animals. We know neither Cortés nor any of his men were gods, of course, but what was it that allowed Cortés to prevail over the inhabitants of the land?

The First Expeditions

To begin, in 1517 Francisco Hernández de Córdova, Bernal Díaz del Castillo, and
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Finding additional men for the journey proved uncomplicated. Word spread quickly about the attainable riches to be had in the new land; so 240 men were quickly put together for the mission. (Díaz)
Using Córdova and his crew’s experience in Champoton, Grijalva approached the land carefully anchoring the ships one league from shore. The Indians, puffed-up from their previous victory over the Spaniards, waited on shore for the party to land. Supplying themselves with crossbows and guns, a portion of the soldiers embarked toward shore. The Indians volleyed arrows with such constancy, more than half the men were wounded prior to landing. However, upon landing, the Spaniards were able to drive the Indians back to the swamps because of their use of good swordplay, the crossbows, and the guns. (Díaz)
The Indians stayed to the swamps and Grijalva and his men advanced to the town. There they found masonry buildings used to make sacrifices to their idols. They explored the surroundings for three days but found nothing of value to take. They returned to their ships and traveled along to Rio de Tabasco. (Díaz)
At Rio de Tabasco they stumbled on a strait. Being too shallow to allow the ships’ passage, a party embarked on their small boats to investigate. In the woods along the strait, the men could hear the locals preparing stockades and barriers in preparation for a fight with the
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