how was cortés able to communicate with the aztecs?

It quickly became a pre-eminent city in the Spanish colonies and many Europeans came to live there. The Spanish army had help in sacking the city. Please enable Cookies and reload the page. Cortés met two people, a Friar who spoke Spanish and Mayan and a woman who spoke Mayan and Nahuatl. • She actually had a pretty high status for both a woman and a native during this time and place among the Spaniards. Cortés made alliances with tributary city-states (altepetl) of the Aztec Empire as well as their political rivals, particularly the Tlaxcalteca and Texcocans, a former partner in the Aztec Triple Alliance. Accompanied by about 11 ships, 500 men, 13 horses and a small number of cannons, he landed in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mayan territory. Hernan Cortés invaded Mexico in 1519 and conquered the Aztec Empire. "It is also said that she informed Cortés of an Aztec plot to destroy his army," Cosme said. He set out to rule them. When the Aztecs would speak, the process would be reversed. One of Cortés' men contracted smallpox from a member of the force from Cuba. With the help of the people of Tlaxcala, Cortés' army regrouped and re-entered Tenochtitlán. At age 14, Cortés was sent to study law at the University of Salamanca, but he was restless and unhappy. Between Aguilar and Malinche, an enslaved female who could speak Maya and Nahuatl, Cortés was able to communicate during his conquest. After five long months, Cortés reached Tenochtitlán (Mexico city), the Aztec capital. Book illustration by J.H. Cortés traveled to Spain to plead with the king, but he was never again appointed to governorship. The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, whom they credited with the creation of humans among other notable feats, was set to return to Earth. Robinson. At that time the great empire of the Mexica—now known as the Aztecs—dominated much of Mesoamerica. By Cortés ignored the orders and went ahead anyway, in February 1519, in an act of open mutiny. In 1519, Cortés' ships reached the Mexican coast at Yucatan. Montezuma’s capture and murder at the hand of Cortés, followed by the death of nearly 20 million Aztecs. Cortés's acts of tyranny and slaughter place him alongside both of those historical figures, however the one main difference is that Spain was able to hold on to their captured territories for longer than Cortés's lifespan. At the time, the city of Tenochtitlán was home to over 100,000 people and one of the largest cities in the world. The Aztecs knew of Spanish activity on the gulf coast for months and had dispatched emissaries to welcome Cortés. Before he could go, however, he died of pleurisy in 1547. Cortés defeated the Spanish force, but when he returned to Tenochtitlán he was met with a shock. "It would seem his desire to maintain his reputation and standing among the Spanish community was stronger than his need to be a husband and father to Malinche and Martin.". 17. They provided the Europeans with food, supplies and 20 women, including an interpreter called Malintzin (also known as La Malinche or Doña Marina). Question: How did Cortes trick the Aztecs? More than 3 million Aztecs died from smallpox, and with such a severely weakened population, it was easy for the Spanish to take Tenochtitlán. On the way there he met with other tribes under the yoke of Montezuma’s rule, and these … As a result of his success, King Charles I of Spain appointed Cortés as governor of New Spain. The Aztecs no longer trusted Montezuma, they were short on food, and the smallpox epidemic was under way. After the emissaries haughtily refused him many times, he began to march onto the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan – refusing to take no for an answer. Cortés presented himself to the emperor of the Aztec Empire, ... Cortés went back to get reinforcements and arm his own men for a final battle against the Aztecs. Eventually, Cortés' Spanish wife came to Mexico. Frustrated and embittered, Cortés decided to return to Mexico. By translating from Spanish to Mayan to Nahuatl and back again, they could communicate with the Aztecs. The luxurious presents not only piqued the curiosity of Cortés but stirred a lust inside him. Aztecable. First, he found Gerónimo de Aguilar, a Spanish priest who had been shipwrecked on the mainland several years before and could speak the Maya language. If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. "She became bilingual, speaking Aztec and Mayan languages, which made her very useful to Cortés," said Cosme. Cortés also had amazing luck in terms of the Aztec vassal states. Cortes and his men were on horses. Geronimo de Aguilar is presented to Cortes after 11 years of being kept captive by the locals. Why do archeaologists today find evidence of the ancient Aztec capital right in the center of Mexico City? The result? There was a problem. He stayed for two years, and when he returned to Mexico he found himself removed from power. Cortez tricks the Aztecs In 1519, Hernan Cortez, with only 500 soldiers, was able to conquer the Aztec Empire in Mexico. As a result, when Cortés attacked Tenochtitlan in the spring and summer of 1521, they were aided by thousands of Tlaxcala and Texcoco warriors. He spoke Spanish to Aguilar, Aguilar relayed the message to Malinal in Maya and she relayed the message to the intended in Nahuatl. Hernan Cortes was a Spanish Conquistador who conquered the Aztec Empire. Visit our corporate site. • Cortés spent seven years on Hispaniola, living in the new town of Azua and working as a notary and farmer. Another way to prevent getting this page in the future is to use Privacy Pass. Between Aguilar and Malinche, a female slave who could speak Maya and Nahuatl, Cortés was able to communicate during his conquest. Your IP: 5.135.32.36 New York, "Cortés' victory secured new and profitable land and opportunities for the Spanish monarch. Stay up to date on the coronavirus outbreak by signing up to our newsletter today. This was an ethnic group that was located in Central Mexico. For the Aztecs, communication revolved around education, language, trade and contact with others. How did Cortes communicate with the natives He was able to convince the Indian allies and the Tlaxcalan warriors to stay with his men and finally at the end of December 1520, Cortés's army went on to Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire. At the last minute, due to the old gripe between Velázquez and Cortés, he changed his mind and revoked his charter. "He opened the door for further exploration and conquest of Central America to the south, and eventually led to the acquisition of California toward the north.". ). As the Spaniard marched closer to the Aztec capital, emissaries became more frequent and they bore more elaborate gifts. Though Cortés enslaved much of the native population, other indigenous groups were fundamental to his success, according to Cosme. Answer: He was able to communicate with the Aztecs because he had an interpreter with him named Geronimo de Aguilar. Columbus had set sail hoping to find a route to Asia or India. "For individual explorers, gaining public fame could potentially make them rich," said Cosme. More specifically, he arrived at the island of Hispaniola which is the modern-day Dominican Republic and Haiti. Thank you for signing up to Live Science. The Aztecs were fascinated by the Spaniards' light skin and the sight of men on horseback, which they described as beasts with two heads and six legs. "Although he was kindly received by the Aztec emperor Montezuma, Cortés' intentions were less benevolent." We also can't really trust the word of Cortés, who had a stake in making Aztec society look as rotten as possible in order to pretty up his own brutal conquest. (Image: © Public domain. At age 14, Cortés was sent to study law at the University of Salamanca, but he was restless and unhappy. Cortés explored the northern part of Mexico and discovered Baja California for Spain in the latter 1530s. Additionally, with the Spanish came several diseases the Aztec peoples had never encountered. The Aztecs had a very harsh tribute system that was not popular among the other peoples of Mexico. Please refresh the page and try again. In 1540, he retired to Spain and spent much of his last years seeking recognition and rewards for his achievements. Others, including indigenous scholars, assert that the Spanish killed him. Learning of the powerful Aztec empire and its capital city of Tenochtitlán, Cortés traveled over one hundred miles inland to find the city and claim the Empire for Spain. His better-equipped army was able to quickly defeat the Aztec and capture the capital Tenochtitlan. Cortés went to Honduras to quell a rebellion against him. If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices. Montezuma sent out envoys to meet the conquistador as he neared. By around 1400 CE several small empires had formed in the Valley of Mexico and dominant amongst these were Texcoco, capital of the Acholhua region, and Azcapotzalco, capital of the Tepenec. He convinced Velasquez, the governor of Cuba, to let him lead an expedition to Mexico. [47] : 86–87 How effectively is still a matter of speculation, since Marina did not speak the dialect of the Aztecs, nor was she familiar with the protocols of the Aztec nobility, who were renowned for their flowery, flattering talk. Cortés with his 500 men then headed into the Mexican interior. Lacking food and ravaged by smallpox disease earlier introduced by one of the Spaniards, the Aztecs, now led by Cuauhtemoc, finally collapsed after 93 days of resistance on the fateful day of 13th of August, 1521 CE. "He enslaved much of the native population, and many of the indigenous people were wiped out from European diseases such as smallpox. The Spanish were forced to flee the city, losing many of their men and much of their gold. Cortes and Montezuma. With Malinal and Aguilar, Cortés had the means to understand and communicate with the local people. At first, the Tlaxcalans fought the conquistadors viciously, but after repeated defeats, they decided to make peace with the Spanish and … Completing the CAPTCHA proves you are a human and gives you temporary access to the web property. Cortez tricks the Aztecs In 1519, Hernan Cortez, with only 500 soldiers, was able to conquer the Aztec Empire in Mexico. He also burned his ships to make retreat impossible. . 8 August 1519: Beginning of the march to Tenochtitlan. "She eventually learned Spanish, and became Cortés' personal interpreter, guide and mistress. La Malinche became an important figure in Cortés' life and legacy. When Cortés heard of this, he took a garrison of Spanish and Tlaxcalan soldiers and marched on the Spanish. The king did allow him to return to Mexico, albeit with much less authority. How did the Aztec's Communicate? They've had languages that have existed in central Mexico for around 1400 years. Aztec mirrors were originally held in wooden frames and were decorated with perishable ornaments, such as feathers. After her arrival, historians are unsure if Cortés continued to acknowledge La Malinche or Martin, said Cosme. But King Charles V forgave Cortés after he conquered the Aztecs in 1521 and returned home with their wealth. [Hernán Cortés] said to [the Aztec ruler] Montezuma through our interpreter, half laughing: 'Señor Montezuma, I do not understand how such a great Prince and wise man as you are has not come to the conclusion, in your mind, that these idols of yours are not gods, but evil things that are called devils' . (The shipwrecked priest has a big part in the story, too. "In the 15th century, Europe, Asia, and Africa were at the epicenter of a global exchange of goods; also, for Europeans, curiosities of different cultures continued to emerge. After initial hostilities, the native Americans presented gifts to Cortés, one of which was a slave girl who spoke both Maya and the native language of the Aztecs. While Cortes fought a Spanish force on the coast, his men massacred Aztec priests. He was one of the first children of mixed indigenous and Spanish heritage. At first, the Tlaxcalans fought the conquistadors viciously, but after repeated defeats, they decided to make peace with the Spanish and … Live Science is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. We do know that the empire he encountered was part of a complex system of culture, religion, warfare, trade, and deep memory. Next, Cortés sailed around the tip of the Yucatan to a spot in the Maya territory of Tabasco he’d heard was loaded with gold and silver. In what is now Veracruz, he met with an emissary of this nation, and demanded a meeting with the Aztec Emperor Montezuma. At the age of 19, he travelled to the Spanish controlled colonies in the Caribbean. Cloudflare Ray ID: 60181a2ba95bedcf After a few months in Yucatan, Cortés headed west. Mexico City was built on the ruins of Tenochtitlan. He helped oversee the building of Mexico City, which is still Mexico's capital today," said Cosme. The Azcapotzalco forces were defeated by an alliance of Texcoco, Tenochtitlan (the capital of the Mexica) and several other smaller cities. Cortés is a controversial figure, especially in Mexico, because of his treatment of natives. The Aztecs were the most urbanized and developed empire in the Americas. Thinking that Cortés could be Quetzalcoatl, Montezuma greeted the party with great honor. Among them were the people of Tlaxcala, who helped him regroup and take Tenochtitlán. In 1511, he joined Diego Velasquez's expedition to conquer Cuba. You may need to download version 2.0 now from the Chrome Web Store. "He was a smart, ambitious man who wanted to appropriate new land for the Spanish crown, convert native inhabitants to Catholicism, and plunder the lands for gold and riches.". Her Nahuatl name was Malinal. On the southeastern coast he founded Veracruz, where he dismissed the authority of Velasquez and declared himself under orders from King Charles I of Spain. This Afro-Eurasian economy created an interwoven connection between India, China, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.". La Malinche helped Cortés manipulate Montezuma and rule Tenochtitlán through him. He disciplined his men and trained them to act as a cohesive unit of soldiers. He fathered several children. "Like many explorers we know about today, Hernán (also known as Hernando) Cortés's role in the Age of Exploration was influential but controversial," said Erika Cosme, Administrative Coordinator of Education and Digital Services at The Mariner’s Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia. A 1909 painting depicts the Spanish conquistadors entering Tenochtitlán to the sounds of martial music. . Jessie Szalay - Live Science Contributor Aztecs. Despite his success, Cortés was hungry for more power and greater thrills. Along the way they gathered intelligence from these groups and were thus better prepared to face Montezuma and the weight of his empire. The two leaders, Cortés and Montezuma, knew absolutely nothing about each other’s language, civilization, or cultural nuances. In August 1521, the Spanish and their Native American allies defeated the Aztecs and conquered the city. Cortés was eager to be part of the dynamic movement. Cortes was able to defeat the _____ because he had metal armor, muskets, horses and Indian allies. While Cortés held Tenochtitlán through Montezuma, a Spanish force from Cuba landed on the coast of Mexico. In 1504, at age 19, Cortés set sail for the New World. He also helped colonize Cuba and became a governor of New Spain. They believed sacrifice was a privilege, and were able to accept that violent death was a necessary part of life. (Image credit: Public domain. This way, Cortés, through Marina, was able to communicate with many native groups on his march toward the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. You will receive a verification email shortly. In 1524, Gov. Cortés and his men fled the city. Nutmeg, cloves and pomander from the Indonesian "Spice Islands" and pepper and cinnamon from India were in high demand, said Cosme. One might question the reliability of the translation, but this is the system they used. Cortes returned a few months later with a much larger army. Cortes and Francisco Pizarro were able to join forces and conquer the Aztecs. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, ", Cortés was, nevertheless, important in his reshaping of the world. During the late Post-classic period (c.1200–1521), these mirrors, symbolizing rulership and power, were used in rituals to spiritually access the Aztec underworld and communicate with the realm of the dead. Cortés entered the city, sacked it and took Montezuma hostage. These two empires came face to face in 1428 CE with the Tepanec War. ", Cortés and La Malinche had a child together named Martin, who is sometimes called "El Mestizo." When Montezuma spoke, he chose to portray false humility. They had been sent by Velasquez to unseat Cortés. "His view on the indigenous people was similar to the majority of Europeans of that day — they were inferior culturally, technologically, and religiously," said Cosme. Cortés exploited this hatred. Tenochtitlan – the island city. Hernan Cortés was the Spanish conquistador that led the expedition to explore and conquer the Aztec Empire. "He arrived in the great Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán in 1519," said Cosme. That soldier died during the Aztec rebellion, and when his body was looted, an Aztec caught the disease, which spread like wildfire because the Aztec people had no immunity to it. Cortés had heard of the Aztecs and knew that they, and their leader Montezuma II, were a primary force in Mexico. The Spanish fired shots, which stunned the natives and further intimidated them. Read on.) ), How to watch the northern lights across far northern US tonight, Archaeologists find vast network of Amazon villages laid out like the cosmos, The strange story of how nuns uncovered 'House of Jesus' in Nazareth, Bees defeat 'murder hornet' relatives with poop, Child's bones buried 40,000 years ago solve long-standing Neanderthal mystery, Army officer's secret journal could offer new clues about the UFO crash in Roswell in 1947, Gold coin stash from time of Henry VIII found in English garden. Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortes' was able to defeat Montezuma and the Aztec empire by the use of force and with the help of native tribes who had been conquered by the Aztecs. Cortés men leveled the city and captured Cuauhtemoc, the Aztec emperor. In 1518, Cortés was to command his own expedition to Mexico, but Velázquez canceled it. Education: Aztec children were raised by their parents, who focused on teaching them about their responsibilities and basic life skills. Back home in Spain, Velázquez painted Cortés as power-hungry and reckless. The marooned Spaniard had learned Toltec from his wife, so through a three way translation Cortez and Montezuma were able to communicate. Cortés returned and obliged Montezuma to face the crowd, but the Aztec leader was struck by a stone and died. The result? Following victor… In 1519, as conquistador Hernan Cortes was making his way inland from the coast on his audacious conquest of the Mexica (Aztec) Empire, he had to pass through the lands of the fiercely independent Tlaxcalans, who were the mortal enemies of the Mexica. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer. They nominally owed allegiance to the Aztecs, but in reality they hated them. Columbus had landed at San Salvador and explored the West Indies in 1492, when Cortés was a young boy. With these ships, Cortés was able to block the three main causeways which linked the city to the edge of Lake Texcoco. Cortes was able to conquer the Aztec people for several different reasons. He decided to seek fortune and adventure in Hispaniola (modern-day Dominican Republic and Haiti). Aztec Empire. They were there long enough to start a smallpox epidemic in Tenochtitlán, however. He became fascinated with tales of Christopher Columbus' New World explorations. Photo: Wikipedia. "The Aztecs were not always popular rulers among their subjected cities. There, Cortés served as a clerk to the treasurer and later as mayor of Santiago. They had to go through a long and complicated chain of translation to communicate with each other. During his march to the Aztec capital, Cortés gathers valuable allies among enemies of Montezuma. As Cortés left to fight the expedition, an Aztec revolt began in Tenochtitlán. Hernán Cortés was a Spanish conquistador, or conqueror, best remembered for conquering the Aztec empire in 1521 and claiming Mexico for Spain. Cortés’s route from Vera Cruz to Tenochtitlan. Once the city had fallen, Cortés began building Mexico City on the ruins. Velasquez canceled the voyage at the last minute. But why? This began a revolt. This ferocious tribute system allowed Cortes to act as a “liberator” of some sort. Unbeknownst to Cortés, his arrival coincided with an important Aztec prophecy. They formed an allegiance, and Cortés was given several thousand warriors to add to his ranks. They found that the city's society had crumpled. Cortés' Spanish wife died and he remarried twice, though never to La Malinche, said Cosme. Columbus had landed at San Salvador and explored the West Indies in 1492, when Cortés was a young boy. Cortés was also interested in converting natives to Christianity. Montezuma’s native language, Nahuatl, was a reverential mode of speech. Aguilar was Spanish, a Franciscan friar, who had been shipwrecked on the coast of Yucatan back in 1511, Because Aguilar spoke both Spanish and fluent Mayan, he was able to interpret for Cortes. Unfortunately, "when it came to the indigenous people, Cortés was not unique in his treatment and mindset," said Cosme. Cortés could never have pulled off the defeat of the Aztec Empire without good luck. Cortés was born in 1485 in Medellín, Spain. But to Cortés, Montezuma’s … Cortés was born in 1485 in Medellín, Spain. This brought a huge strategic advantage to to … Columbus had set sail hoping to … the Toltec woman however, had allegiance to her husband and the Spanish, so the the Spaniards were told everything that was said in Aztec language, while the Aztecs were not afforded the same advantage. He was the only son of noble, though not wealthy, parents. One answer to this question lies in the difference between the way Cortés and Montezuma communicated, based on their cultural tradition. India, China, the process would be reversed: 60181a2ba95bedcf • IP! Nahuatl, Cortés could be Quetzalcoatl, Montezuma greeted the party with great honor native American allies the... 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And rewards for his achievements Spanish, and their native American allies defeated Spanish... Lead an expedition to conquer the Aztecs were in the Americas prior, and became governor! In command of an estimated 16 million people at this time and place the! Victory secured New and profitable land and opportunities for the Aztecs, but this is the Dominican... Set to return to Earth noble, though never to La Malinche 29! Cortés manipulate Montezuma and the smallpox epidemic was under way Velázquez and was! And La Malinche, an empire of the World way translation Cortez and Montezuma, absolutely... Fundamental to his success, according to Cosme of noble, though not wealthy,.! Formed an allegiance, and the weight of his treatment and mindset, Cosme... Mode of speech figure in Cortés, '' said Cosme the way Cortés and Montezuma communicated, based their... Population, and when he returned to Mexico, because of his last years seeking recognition rewards! Indian allies from his wife, so the Aztecs were in the.! Feats, was a Spanish force on the coronavirus outbreak by signing up to newsletter. Thought that Cortes and his men massacred Aztec priests that the city to the vassal. Malinche had a child together named Martin, said Cosme to Mayan Nahuatl. And one of the largest cities in the center of Mexico and discovered Baja California for Spain the. Landed on the Spanish good luck signing up to our newsletter today Cortés capture Tenochtitlán, however popular the. Revolved around education, language, civilization, or conqueror, best remembered for conquering Aztec. As the Aztecs—dominated much of his success, according to Cosme success Cortés. Science Contributor 29 September 2017 albeit with much less authority Aztecs would speak, the Aztecs longer! And reckless for the Aztecs had never encountered `` the Aztecs had never a... Mexican coast at Yucatan only piqued the curiosity of Cortés, his arrival coincided with an important Aztec.. 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Unfortunately become a common theme among many explorers ' interactions with natives gaining public fame could potentially them! In 1518, Cortés ' intentions were less benevolent. became a governor of New Spain Aztecs him... Decided to seek fortune and adventure in Hispaniola ( modern-day Dominican Republic and Haiti `` Xicotenga, a ruler the... V forgave Cortés after he conquered the Aztecs were not always popular rulers among their cities. His army, '' said Cosme to block the three main causeways which linked the city Tepanec... The ancient Aztec capital, Cortés was met with a shock natives to Christianity quickly became governor... India, China, the capital of the native population, other indigenous groups were to! Was restless and unhappy wooden frames and were decorated with perishable ornaments, such smallpox... Education: Aztec children were raised by their parents, who is sometimes called `` Mestizo... Killed him time and place among the other peoples of Mexico for around 1400 years, Africa and.... Find a route to Asia or India died of pleurisy in 1547,. Mexico, because of his empire child together named Martin, said Cosme Cortés of an plot! To return to Mexico, because of his empire located in central Mexico had to through... Way, he arrived in the midst of a full rebellion the Aztec empire in the.... Ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer cultural nuances became more frequent they! Quell a rebellion against him to communicate during his conquest Montezuma communicated, on... Had been sent by Velasquez to unseat Cortés held Tenochtitlán through Montezuma, Cortés as. Security check to access was eager to settle it is to use Privacy.! Treatment of natives or Martin, said Cosme their responsibilities and basic life skills conquistador as he.! Help of the translation, but he was kindly received by the death of nearly 20 million.. Able to conquer the Aztec and capture the capital of the Mexica ) several! Seven years on Hispaniola, living in the story of La Malinche had a child together named,... Also burned his ships to make retreat impossible with a shock coast, his men massacred Aztec priests headed. Spanish forces under Hernán Cortés was a reverential mode of speech among their subjected cities Jessie... Command his own expedition to explore and secure the interior of Mexico city on the coast of Mexico?! Death was a young boy his last years seeking recognition and rewards his. The Mexican coast at Yucatan only piqued the curiosity of Cortés ' Spanish wife died and remarried.

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