EXPLORER OF THE NEW WORLD: Hernan Cortes

Hernando Cortes

By JH

I am Hernando Cortes. I was born in a Spanish town named Medellin in 1485 and lived until 1547. In 1499 I when I was 14 I was sent to the University of Salamanca to study the law but I returned home to seek adventure and wealth.

In 1502 I decided to sail on my first expedition to Hispaniola with Nicolas de Ovando but I was injured so my crew sailed without me. Two years later in 1504 I finally left Spain for Hispaniola under the command of Alonso Quintero. In 1511 I took part as secretary for Captain Velasquez in conquest for Cuba. In 1513 I married to Mariade Cuellar.

In 1519 I was appointed captain-general of Armanda by Velasquez for an expedition to Yucatan. My crew and I then sailed to the Yucatan coast of Mexico where I was elected to rule there. My men and I explored Veracruz, Trujillo, and Tenochtitlan. In November 1519 I took my army of Spaniards and we marched into Tenochtitlan. The Aztecs believed that I was their most honored god Quetzalcoatl. So the Aztec emperor Montezuma let me live in a palace. I wanted to rule to rule the Aztec city so I captured Montezuma and then became the Aztec emperor and captured the Aztec empire4 with it. Several months after my conquest, Velasquez sent his men to arrest me for disobedience. I took some of my men and hurried to deal with them. I persuaded them to come with us. By this time I had returned to Tenochtitlan, the Aztecs had rebelled and fought us out. After the fight most of my men were killed and many of the survivors were wounded. The Aztecs forced my men and me out of the city by June 1520. In May 1521 about 1,000 of us attacked the city and forced the Aztecs to surrender. For my achievement, the Spanish government appointed me captain-general and governor of New Spain.

I later led expeditions to as far south as Honduras in Central America and to the Coast of Mexico and explored southern California in 1535.

In 1540, after all my explorations I retired and returned to Spain until I died at age 62 in 1547.

Bibliography: I used Encarta 98(CD ROM), Hernando Cortes by Stewart Graff, the Internet
www.loswego.k12.or.us/schools/pal/cumpstot/cortes.html
and Explorers(CD ROM)