The king and the expedition leader (like Hernan Cortes) each received 20 percent of all loot. The answer is, as we already saw, a sum of two main factors: Castellan swords and diseases brought by the Spanish, for which the Mexica had no antibodies nor effective cure, plus a crucial one: the winning military strategy of the Spanish, and the alliance with other local Aztec tribes. You can use them to display text, links, images, HTML, or a combination of these. Conquistadors who participated in any successful campaign were given shares based on many factors. In many cases, the Spanish treated the Aztecs as slaves. In particular, they detailed the plagues of cocoliztli (Nahuati for “pest”), a disease that seemed far more … The siege was characterised by a series of brutal and chaotic fights along the waterways and within the City precincts of Tenochtitlan as the Spaniards sought to establish control over the City whilst the Aztecs feverishly defended it. Upon encountering natives in the new land, he notified Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain, who instructed Columbus to make the natives subjects of Spain. The first Europeans that came into contact with the Aztecs were the Spanish in 1519. When the Spanish conquistadors first fired their weapons, the blast and smoke shocked and amazed the Aztec people. Edit them in the Widget section of the. According to Diaz, a soldier of Cortes, … The Spanish did make efforts to incorporate Aztecan aspects into the new religious society. Favorite Answer. In hopes of expanding European society into the area, the indigenous people ultimately lost their religion, their culture, their freedom, and their dignity under this system. Aztec drawing of smallpox victims. So, gunpowder or the alleged fact that the Mexica saw Cortes as god were not the real reasons of the quick defeat of the Mexica, which instead were overall beaten by the superior military strategy of the Spanish conquistadores. So, how did a well-trained group of warriors that outnumbered the Spanish could have been beaten so quickly? They were Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan. It was located in Central America, in part of modern day Mexico. What happened to Tenochtitlan? GUNPOWDER WEAPONS: WERE REALLY THE KEY OF SPANISH VICTORY? How did the Spanish treat the Aztecs? This article will examine these points of view by trying to shed light on them, but also provide an alternative point of view on why the Mexica were defeated by the Spanish so quickly. The correct answer is B) The Aztecs had a complex civilization that was destroyed but the Spanish conquerors. The queen ordered the natives to be converted to Christianity and taught European behaviors. The Aztecs thought that the Spanish were gods so they worshiped them and did whatever they could to please them, at first. When they returned, the Aztec army quickly overwhelmed the Spanish, killing many and causing the rest to retreat. But Montezuma had his doubts about them. Earn Transferable Credit & Get your Degree, Get access to this video and our entire Q&A library. As this article tried to demonstrate, the Spanish took advantage of the weaknesses of the Mexica by allying with their enemies but also thanks to their superior weaponry, above all the Castellan sword. The Spanish took advantage of local rivalries and allied with other Mesoamerican civilisations. Moreover, Mexica’s armour was made of cotton, though it was light and protected them well against in fights with other Aztecs, it was not resistant enough to protect them from the Spanish’s weapons. The Aztecs: The Aztec Empire ruled Mesoamerica from 1300-1521. He is the Spanish conquistador Cortes. They were also “helped” by more subtle enemies, the illnesses that they introduced in Mesoamerica that decimated the Mexica. But after Cortes captured the priest or leader, he masacured many Aztecs and conquered their land. -Coe, MD & Koontz, R 2008, Mexico: from the Olmecs to the Aztecs, 6th edn, Thames & Hudson, London. The Spanish conquistadores, led by Cortes, started the exploration and observation of the Aztec Empire, and in their reports they described the Aztecs as an advanced and organised civilisation. The Spanish had a long experience fighting Muslims in their own country (at least 500 years) and they had developed a warrior class that was the best in the world. welcomed them. They did not want to kill them because they might be gods after all, but the Aztecs wanted them to move along. The smallpox weakened the Aztec cities around Tenochtitlan which soon fell to the Spanish and made it possible for the Spaniards to lay siege to Tenochtitlan. The soldier was killed, and, likely when his body was ransacked, an Aztec caught the disease. They did not attend the sacrifice ceremonies that were given in their honor. So, as demonstrated widely, they were highly trained warriors, masters of hand-to-hand combat. Other scholars pointed out that the fact the Aztecs considered the Spanish as god was a later construct, which was created to explain the relatively easy conquest of the Aztec Empire by the small group of Spanish soldiers. Their main city was Tenochtitlan (today’s Mexico City). The Aztec Empire was in existence from 1428 until 1521, when it was defeated by the Spanish Conquistadors and their allies. Other scholars pointed out that the fact the Aztecs considered the Spanish as god was a later construct, which was created to explain the relatively easy conquest of the Aztec Empire by the small group of Spanish soldiers. On the one hand you had a soldier of fortune looking for gold, who couldn't care less about the Aztec as long as he got the gold. Moreover, the perception of the Spanish and especially of Cortes as an Aztec god, appear to be reported only by Spanish sources. -Cortes, H 2001 [1519-1525], Letters from Mexico, Anthony Pagden and John Huxtable Elliott (eds. The Aztec empire was a flourishing and successful empire that had been ruled by Moctezuma for seventeen years, before it was colonized by the Spanish conquistadors who killed Moctezuma and crumbled the empire by destroying its cities. worst problem was the diseases brought by Spanish to susceptible Aztecs, etc- the smallpox epidemics with 10% fatalities for Spanish had over 50% fatalities among the natives and pretty much meant few combat affective's left to resist. However, as many scholars demonstrated, the nature of the fights between the natives and the conquistadores was one-to-one and hand-to-hand combat, especially the siege of Tenochtitlan. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Change ), This is a text widget, which allows you to add text or HTML to your sidebar. The Aztecs and Inca Empires were rich in gold, silver, precious stones, and other things the Spanish found less valuable, like brilliant clothes made of bird feathers. The Spanish were helped by the Tlaxcala, a Mesoamerican civilisation rival of the Aztecs, and other native tribes which allied with them to defeat the Aztecs, especially in the siege of Tenochtitlan because the Spanish falsely promised them territories and a tax-free partnership in the post-conquest rule of Mexico. Many authors argued that Cortes took advantage of the fact that the ruler of Tenochtitlan, Montezuma II, was convinced that he was the returned Feathered Serpent god, Quetzalcoatl, as forecasted by an ancient prophecy. What happened to Montezuma? The Mexica were a warrior civilisation that was able to impose its rule in Mexico, rising among all the other Aztecs for their military ability and might. They built their empire in Central Mexico in the area where Mexico City is found today. How did Cortes treat the Aztecs? They were totally wiped out by the Spanish colonisation in the early sixteenth century which was led by the conquistador Hernan Cortes. The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, also known as the Conquest of Mexico (1519–21), was one of the primary events in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. the spanish treated the people they conquered badly by forcing them into a system call encomienda which made the natives farm, ranch, or mine for spanish lanlords. info)),, variant spellings include Motecuhzomatzin, Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma, Motēuczōmah, Muteczuma, and referred to retroactively in European sources as Moctezuma II, was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of the Aztec Empire, reigning from 1502 to 1520.The first contact between the indigenous … Kept many of the women for the usual reasons. The Smallpox epidemic began the night that the Aztecs defeated the Spanish During the time of the Spanish conquest in the New World it is estimated that more than one-third of the total native population had been killed by smallpox viruses. Who won the initial battle between the Spanish and... What did the Spanish think of the Aztecs? how did the spanish treat the peoples they conquered? There are many myths about the way the Spanish defeated them, such as that the Spanish beat them because they had gunpowder weapons, but also since they took advantage of the fact that initially they believed that Cortes was their returning god Quetzalcoatl, and also because they were militarily superior to them. the Spanish brought smallpox to the Aztecs, wiping there population out and the Spaniards were treated like gods and tricked the Aztecs into finding gold for them and treated the Aztecs harshly. There are multiple 16th-century narratives of the events by Spanish conquerors, their indigenous allies, and the defeated Aztecs. This disease killed many Aztecs Aztecs being forced to work under the Encomienda system The Spanish burn Aztecs at the … ( Log Out /  The Aztec Empire ruled Mesoamerica from 1300-1521. QUETZALCOATL MYTH The Aztecs were severely weakened by diseases that the Spanish brought such as smallpox, influenza, and malaria. However, it would be difficult to understand whether or not the Spanish were really mistaken for gods. -Evans, ST 2004, Ancient Mexico & Central America: archaeology and culture history, Thames & Hudson, London. and trans. How did the Aztec travel? How did the Aztecs and Cortes interact with each... How many Aztecs were killed by the Spanish? The Spanish party is soon … -Lockard, CA 2015, Societies, networks and transitions: a Global History, volume I: to 1500, 3rd ed. The answer is yes; the Castellan sword. ( Log Out /  Become a Study.com member to unlock this © copyright 2003-2020 Study.com. What did the Spanish do to much of the Aztec art and architecture? Cortes reported that the Aztecs had city-states that were comparable, for government and organisation, to the ones in the Italian peninsula in his time. How long did the Spain rule over Mexico? MILITARILY SUPERIOR OR BETTER STRATEGISTS? Cortés founded Mexico City on the ruins of Tenochtitlan. The literature, both published and unpublished, of the 16th century is enormous and takes in all aspects of Aztec culture. ), Yale University Press, London. Sciences, Culinary Arts and Personal Their civilisation represented the last stage of the evolution of the Mesoamerican native civilisations, and reached its apex in the early sixteenth century, just before it was destroyed in 1521 by the Spanish invaders. killed most of them in Mexico city area. Firstly, Mexica is a more exact name for whom we usually call Aztecs. Services, Working Scholars® Bringing Tuition-Free College to the Community. We’re talking about an empire that spanned from the Gulf of Mexico in the east, to the Pacific Ocean to the west, and as far south as Guatemala. ( Log Out /  To find answers, Acuna-Soto spent a dozen year poring through ancient documents written by 16th century Spanish priests who worked with the Aztecs to preserve a record of their history, language and culture. Third, the Aztec people had never seen a horse before. The Aztecs decided it was time for the Spanish to leave. Hernan Cortes: The Aztec Empire, or the Triple Alliance, was an alliance of three Nahua city-states: Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan. Although it is true that Montezuma was unsure of how to deal with the Spaniards and that his indecision led in no small measure to the downfall of the Aztec Empire, this is only part of the story. The conquistadores were attracted by the wealth of this Mesoamerican civilisation, and started to plan their conquest in order to obtain riches to bring back to their home country. Cortes advances into Mexico: 1519: Cortes reaches the coast of Mexico, in March 1519, with eleven ships. Another common belief is that the Mexica, especially their ruler Montezuma, believed that Cortes was the personification their god Quetzalcoatl. After taking over the Aztec Empire, the Spanish conquistadors moved on to take over other parts of Mesoamerica. The Aztecs didn't attack Cortes and his men at first because they did think that he was a god. How did the Aztecs treat people they conquered in war? He also described the marketplaces selling precious goods, bath and shops that he personally saw during his exploration of the Central American territories. The Spanish progressively restricted and outright forbade the enslavement of Native Americans in the early years of the Spanish Empire with the Laws of Burgos of 1512 and the … The Spanish defeat of the Aztecs in the sixteenth century is one example of the swift, silent, and deadly affects caused by disease. Mexica’s obsidian swords and other close-combat weapons were no match for the steel-made Castellan swords that were way more efficient and resistant. Conquered people had to pay tributes to the emperor. Also, diseases carried by the Spanish spread to the Aztecs and killed many of them. Moreover, the perception of the Spanish and especially of Cortes as an Aztec god, appear to be reported only by Spanish sources. Spanish’s military success was due to their military superiority and also to the support of local Mesoamerican tribes. Quickly, smallpox spread among the population. the factors that helped the spanish defeat the aztecs were the european diseases that killed millions,and the aztecs had not developed any natural immunity to european disease. Some people captured in war were used for human sacrifice. Explain at least three similarities and... What factors enabled the Spanish to conquer the... Hernan Cortes: Accomplishments, Exploration Route & the Aztecs, New Spain: Spanish Explorers and Spanish Colonies, ILTS Social Science - History (246): Test Practice and Study Guide, GED Social Studies: Civics & Government, US History, Economics, Geography & World, MTTC Social Studies (Secondary)(084): Practice & Study Guide, TExES History 7-12 (233): Practice & Study Guide, NY Regents Exam - US History and Government: Help and Review, Prentice Hall America: History of our Nation: Online Textbook Help, High School World History: Homework Help Resource, TCI History Alive World Connections: Online Textbook Help, Glencoe U.S. History - The American Vision: Online Textbook Help, Middle School US History: Tutoring Solution, Prentice Hall United States History: Online Textbook Help, Biological and Biomedical … This description is based primarily on written documents from the 16th century but also includes some archaeological data. All rights reserved. Tenochtitlan was surrounded by water on all sides, but was also accessible via big roads, called causeways, and long canals along … Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. HISTORY OF THE AZTECS including Mexico City, Aztec sun rituals, Quetzalcoatl, Arrival of Cortes, Cortes and Montezuma, A brutal end . by Cortes and his military; present day Mexico City. The people had no resistance and no idea how to treat it. The Mexica were a native civilisation of Central America and were invaded by the Spanish in the early sixteenth century. The sailors were ordered to treat the natives humanely, and they were to be considered equal. ancient history, Aztecs, history, Uncategorized. Held hostage by Cortes; killed in a battle between Spanish troops and Aztec warriors. The Spanish were secretly glad to leave. It was not solely a contest between a small contingent of Spaniards defeating the Aztec Empirebut rather the creation of a coalition of Spanish invaders with tributaries to the Aztecs, and most especially the Aztecs' indigenous … All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. Personally, I think that the Mexica are one of the most fascinating civilisations of all times. In our previous animated historical documentary we have covered the Rise of the Aztecs. Hernon Cortes led a group of Spanish conquistadors into the... Our experts can answer your tough homework and study questions. These texts also tracked key natural events—storms, droughts, frosts and illness. Before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, Montezuma was a renowned war leader, skilled diplomat and an able leader of his people who oversaw the consolidation of the Mexica Empire. The Spanish did not act like gods. Create your account. References (but also for further reading) It really depended on the person. As well, the metal armor of the Spanish fascinated the Aztec because they did not have any similar form of protection. The truth as to why the Spanish defeated the Aztecs was that the Spanish were superior warriors. Also, the Spanish people’s horses played a role, even if marginal, by scaring the Mexica since there were no horses in Mesoamerica at that time, so the natives were frightened by their sight and that was yet another advantage for the conquistadores. The peoples that the Aztecs conquered were treated little more than oppressed vassals. The Aztecs were a fierce people with a strong warrior culture. -Clendinnen, I 1995, Aztecs: an interpretation, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. Slavery in the Spanish American colonies was an economic and social institution which existed throughout the Spanish Empire.In its American territories, it initially bound indigenous people and later slaves of African origin.. Gunpowder weapons have been largely considered as the main reason why the Spanish beat the Mexica so quickly, as you can easily check in any school textbook. Instead, the quick collapse of the Aztec empire probably depended on other factors such as the pandemic diseases that they brought to Mexico, which can be defined as one of main causes of the quick fall of the Aztec Empire. They carry some 600 men, 16 horses and about 20 guns of various sizes. Smallpox was caused by an African being held as a slave, from the Spanish army, who had smallpox. And his men at first killed were enslaved- again normal practice for the Castellan. Pay tributes to the support of local rivalries and allied with other Mesoamerican civilisations, allows... 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