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Ernan Cortes

Picture of Ernan Cortes

Date of Birth: 1485

Age: 62

Place of Birth: Medellin

Citizenship: Spain

Hernando Cortes. Alien hero of another time

Meanwhile, tip here, we can say with him. To find it, Spanish tourists need only disclose: your wallet. For there, among the Mexican peso, of course, prepared for the trip home peseta. And among them, and most likely the smallest banknote - 1000 pesetas (1992), on the front side where you can see the portrait of a man. This man - Hernando Cortez - not just know Cuauhtemoc, he treacherously deceived him and executed after being tortured.

Paradoxes of history! The executioner and his victim in an equally perpetuated; one - in the monument, the other - in the state symbols! But who were these people? What events they share? And how true it is preserved the memory of them?

To answer these questions, it is necessary to return to a time when there was not a country of Mexico, nor the modern Mexico City, nor the peace of visitors from distant Spain: However, the Spaniards were here already. But not only tourists.

It was 1519. It has long been dead Christopher Columbus, but was paved their way. Using it, America zapolonyayut more and more units of Spanish adventurers, who sought here with the sole purpose of enrichment. But for this it was necessary to conquer the land inhabited by Indian tribes. Therefore, newcomers were called conquistadors (from the Spanish word conquistador - conqueror). Among others, eager to riches, and was a native of a poor noble family of Hernando Cortes. As expressed by one of his contemporaries, - `The money he was little, but mnogo` debt. 34-year-old Spaniard was obviously quite experienced conquistador. In the New World, he was 19 years old, and 26 took part in the capture and colonization of Cuba. However, the main events in his life, as it turned out, were yet to come.

Capture a new country

In 1519 on behalf of the governor of Cuba Cortes led marine expedition for the conquest of a new country with a highly developed culture, adjacent to the south-west coast of the Gulf of Mexico. About the existence of the country Aztec Spaniards learned only in the previous year (due to the expedition of Juan Grijalva), but the glory of her gold managed to roll to Spain. Why exactly Cortes was put in charge of this promising expedition? Why Juan Grijalva, loved by men, not given to consolidate the success of the discoverer of new lands? For some reason, he was replaced by a poor gentleman? And, finally, why would this rapid success of Cortez in the recruitment of soldiers is not pleased, but on the contrary, is so alarmed the governor that he has given a written order to detain the fleet, and the arrest of Cortez?

Whatever it was, but soon Cortes showed that he would not miss the chance to get rich. To begin with, in spite of the commandment, he left the same in the sea (10 February 1519), writing, however, at the same time the governor that `: it remains obedient slugoy`. Then destroyed on the way to the mainland Indian revered by the people of the Maya temple on a small island of Cozumel off the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Then, rounding the peninsula, he went to the southern coast of the Gulf of Campeche. Here, in what is now the southeastern Mexican state - Tabasco and took the first serious battle with the Indians.

I should say that Cortez squad, which included 508 people (not including the more than a hundred sailors), was armed with a firearm, including a few guns. But it is not less effective `oruzhiem`, as predicted by the visionary Cortes, they were taken with a 16 horses. The Aztecs even courageously resisted the guns, but when the case went to a small cavalry of the Spaniards, they trembled and began to flee in panic. One can imagine their horror when you consider that had never seen horses before the Indians accepted the horse and rider as one.

After winning the first fleet of Cortes (consisting of nine ships) more advanced along the coast to the northwest. After landing back on shore near 19o S. m., the Spaniards began to prepare to march inland. And here once again Cortes showed his organizational skills. First of all, the city of Veracruz was built with a view to ensuring the rear (approximately where now houses the eponymous Mexican port). Further, it was necessary to take care of the completion of its small army, as it became apparent that, despite the advantage of the Spaniards in arms and soldiers for the conquest of the country`s crowded enough. What makes Cortes, devoid of hope for any help from the outside? He brings to life the well-known principle of `divide and vlastvuy`. Promises, bribes and threats from tribal chiefs, subjugated by the Aztecs, he has at his disposal tens of thousands of soldiers and porters. Do not stand on ceremony, and it is particularly with compatriots. When among the Spaniards began strife and of the commanders began to demand the return back to Cuba, Cortes threatened to destroy the entire fleet. Suppressing thus hesitant soldiers it to strengthen his army removes gun ships and mobilized to participate in the march a few dozen sailors.

Now, finally, it was possible to launch the main goal of the event. Cortez Army moved to the west, the interior of the continent. Whether they were waiting? Guess whether the inhabitants of the powerful Central American country - State Aztecs on approaching him trouble? Most likely, the expected and is likely to guess. After all, when in 1518 the Spanish expedition of Juan Grijalva landed on the west coast of the Gulf of Campeche, there were messengers of the supreme leader of the Aztec Montezuma (correct Montekuhsoma Shokoyotsin). They wanted to know where and why are foreigners. And they gave during the negotiations it clear they are looking for gold. In response they have shown to the west, often repeating this word `mehika`. Hence there was an idea of the existence of the country called Mexico (by the way, Mexico - English pronunciation of the word, and the Spanish - `Mehika` - is familiar to us in the name of the current capital of Mexico, Mexico City). Meanwhile, the word `Meksika` happened on behalf of the Aztec god of war, which, according to various sources, the name was not Mehitli, not Meksitla and can Meksi aphids. Who knows, maybe the word `meksika` Spaniards tried to warn about the warlike Aztecs? Indeed, the Aztecs were great warriors, otherwise they would not be able to collect tribute from the vast territory of approximately a quarter of modern Mexico. But if this is the case, ie, the Aztecs were canceled fighters who knew about approaching strangers, how do we explain what happened next? ..

Montezuma Error ...

Supreme leader Montezuma, first tried his best to pay off the Spaniards, but they abandoned their march on his capital - the city of Tenochtitlan. But the more he gave conquistadors gold and jewels, the more flared up in them the desire to reach the source of this wealth. Ultimately, because of the indecision and the connivance of the Emperor, November 8, 1519 the Spaniards, accustomed to bloody clashes and the resistance of the local population, even with the usual attempt to get off the ship on the ground, entered the capital of the Aztec empire: without a fight.

Moreover, at the gates of the city he met the intruders Montezuma. If the emperor was aware of who actually receives it is unlikely he would have risked to appear in all its splendor. His clothes, including shoes, was littered with precious stones. They, along with gold shone on the canopy, which rises above the supreme ruler. Montezuma took a few steps toward Cortez and his companions spread out before him expensive fabrics to Emperor leg does not touch the ground. Effectively brought before the Spanish governor was broadly consistent with the capital, which literally shook the Europeans for its beauty, well-maintained facilities and splendor. Conquistador was given a huge house, where they are located.

Why is such an honor was given to those who come clearly with peaceful intentions? The fact that Montezuma believed in the divine origin of the alien, that was due to the widespread among the Aztec legend of the god Quetzalcoatl. This god, who was reportedly expelled from their country, going overseas, promised to return to restore justice and order. But the most important thing was that Quetzalcoatl represented exactly to a tee so, what were the uninvited strangers that - white-skinned and with a long beard. That is why the Aztecs were not sure whom were Spanish soldiers - men or gods.

However, fairly quickly everything fell into place. `Bozhestvennye` guests really began to restore order, however, in their understanding. To begin with, they searched the room, in which there were, and found a cache with the richest trove of precious stones and gold. It may finally sealed the fate of the Aztecs. But Cortes was well aware that four hundred of his men are powerless against 300 thousand. Residents of Tenochtitlan. Needed was decisive action. And the wily Spaniard has taken them. Together with a group of his officers, he came to the palace of Montezuma and more threats than persuasion forced the governor to go to live in the house, where the Spanish squad. Then Montezuma Cortez forced to give part of the Aztec generals, which immediately burned at the stake. Montezuma himself as he concluded in chains and on his behalf began to rule the country without permission. The first order of Cortes` gosudarstvennye` us clarify the reasons for the perpetuation of its future at home. Forcing Aztec leaders swear allegiance to the Spanish king, the conquistador demanded payment of tribute in gold. It was then opened and the wealth of the Aztecs. Suffice it to say that gold Montezuma conquerors going over three days. At the same time they did not interest the artistic value of the tribute. The value was only the weight, and therefore, for convenience in the spoils, precious metal, including art works, in cold blood was melted down into ingots.

Since the Aztec civilization has been destroyed

It was then, obviously, and was born the name of the future monetary unit of Mexico - peso, which translated from Spanish means literally `ves`. After all, in the occupied territories of the Spaniards in America was divided and silver bullion into equal pieces - `peso` using them as money. From the XVI to XVIII centuries. in Mexico it was released a huge number of so-called `korabelnyh` pesos, roughly treated irregular-shaped coins that served in Europe with raw materials for the production of high-grade coins. By the way, the name of the Spanish currency - peseta also derived from the peso ( `weight kusok`). Spanish pesetas called coin that was minted from the beginning of the XVIII century (5.1 g of silver), and amounted to 4.1 pesos.

Unit production took place, of course, by the rules of Cortez. This meant that one-fifth of stood out for the king, and the other organizers and inspirers of all Spaniards wins, ie, to Cortes. In addition, the great conqueror was supposed to compensate for the costs which it incurred during the expedition gear. There were other items of expenditure, only after taking into account that, finally, the right to receive a part of the loot and the rest of the events described. Ultimately, as you may guess, most of the treasures of Montezuma Cortez appropriated.

Meanwhile, as the commander successfully blew his comrades in the struggle, the news of his successes and countless riches flew to Cuba governor. No doubt envying audacious disobedient, he sent a large squadron of 18 ships and about 1,500 soldiers to take over the `dead or mertvym` Cortez and his men. Upon learning of his arrival in Veracruz this expedition, Cortes did not wait for her arrival in the capital he won. He picked up the most trusted people and gave a small detachment towards significantly outnumber the enemy. Applying once again proven bribing weapons, but also, defiantly flaunting their specially put on the soldiers gold jewelry, Cortes made commotion and confusion in the ranks of the enemy. Then, suddenly she attacked him and soon realized that the trick was a success - the opposite side of the warriors fought with reluctance and the crowd over to the Cortes (because his soldiers were so rich!). So, thanks to the inexhaustible resourcefulness and cunning of Cortez, it was won by another (already over their compatriots) victory. By the way, in a few days this izoschrennyylitsemer not only returned the captive Spaniards weapons and valuables taken from them, and gave them gifts, and made generous promises, trying to arrange them yourself. As usual, Cortes was very cautious, because ambulances events showed that his allies were desperately needed.

In May 1520, came after the visit of a `white bogov` Aztecs rebelled against the invaders. Spanish fortifications were destroyed and the garrison came under siege. But thanks to a premeditated replenish his troops, whose total number reached about 1500 people (including soldiers of the hostile tribes of the Aztecs), Cortes and this time entered Tenochtitlan easily. However, very soon, a rebellion broke out with renewed vigor. That`s when the Spaniards had a chance to really feel the fighting spirit of the Aztecs. Violent attacks of Indians every day weakened the power of the conquistadors. Attempts to reach at least the past success of the truce had not. Among the Spaniards began the hunger, despair and discord. Consistently true to Cortes tried to use was imprisoned Montezuma, demanding that he urged his fellow citizens to stop the assault, and allowed the Spaniards to leave the city. But it was too late. Abused indiscretions of their emperor, the Aztecs pelted him with stones and arrows. Three days later, Montezuma died of his wounds.

In July, the situation deteriorated to such an extent that the Spaniards decided to secretly escape from the city at night. The results of the retreat was more than deplorable. In this `pechali` night, as they called her to leave us written evidence of participants of events, lost about 900 Spaniards and more of their Indian allies. Besides, almost all were lost gun and the majority of horses. Yes, and seized jewels also mostly gone. It seemed that luck changed Spaniards.

And what Cortes? He did not even think to give up their plans. The whole year collecting new conquistador forces, relying on the Indians, who were at war with the Aztecs and feared their revenge for aiding foreign invaders. At the same time Cortez intercepted off the coast of a nice outfit for hostilities Spanish ships, which continued to be sent who knew nothing about the fate of his first expedition to the Cuban governor. The following summer, in 1521, adding to the squad by people and equipment, having at its disposal a 10 thousand. Indians allies, Cortes began a new attack on Tenochtitlan. The defense of the capital led by Cuauhtemoc - new, young supreme leader. It was he who went down in history as the leader of the armed struggle against the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, had shown personal heroism and outstanding military skills. But he, note explicitly opposed an outstanding military leader, who, besides, did not stop in choosing the means to achieve their goals.

Taking the city in the ring, Cortez rebuked neighboring tribes of the harvest to send in the form adopted by the tribute to the Aztecs. At the same time, applying proven tactics, he allowed them to plunder the Aztec villages, and he shared with the enemies of the Aztecs prey. This Cortes has ensured that the number of his allies, all grown, while the Aztec forces gradually subsided. By the end of the siege of the townspeople ate roots and the bark of trees. Moreover, the Spaniards destroyed the city water and Tenochtitlan population suffered severely, not only hunger, but thirst. We are approaching the last days of the great capital. After more than three-month siege, in August 1521, Tenochtitlan fell. Killed hundreds of thousands of its defenders - almost the entire male population of not only the city but also the surrounding area. The city itself was on fire. The cold cruelty, hypocrisy and treachery once again showed Cortes when taken prisoner Cuauhtemoc, conquistador who personally guaranteed complete safety, was tortured. Eventually, in 1525, the last supreme ruler of the Aztecs was executed. The surviving Indians were actually turned into slaves, which was soon forced to work in the newly established Spanish estates. Thus the Aztec civilization was destroyed.

What is the cause of victory?

What is the cause of victories over the superior forces of the Spaniards the Aztecs? Of course, played a role and the best arms of the conquerors, and the organization of the troops, and disunity Indians. But there was another weighty `prevoskhodstvo` - in treachery and cruelty. Witness testifies: `Entering into the town, they did not leave anyone alive, and was subjected to the fate of the old and young. Christians fought to bet on which one of them with a single blow of the sword will cut a person in half, and cut off his head, and will reveal the inside. Others wrapped the dry straw, tying it to the body, and then tan straw burned them. Another cut off both his hands, and those hands are suspended from the body, saying that the Indians: `Go with these letters, spread the news among the fugitives who had taken refuge in lesah.` And since sometimes with - few and rare, and at a fair reason - Indians killed any of the Christians, the latter conspired among themselves, what kind of a Christian, who killed the Indians, Christians should kill one hundred indeytsev`.

However, it was from the perspective of `tsivilizovannoy` European secondary. The main thing - that the Spanish Crown acquired new land, enriched by their peoples. It is no accident that in 1522 the Spanish king appointed Cortez governor and captain-general of conquered areas, called not only as New Spain. I would like to note the following: Cortez, contrary to some assertions, never opened in Mexico, to be exact, even her, and did not win. He won (ie, plundered and destroyed) Aztec Empire, located in what is now Mexico, turning it into a more powerful and more extensive Spanish Empire. As the current Mexico City (in 1535-1821 gg. The capital of the Viceroyalty of New Spain) it was founded on the ruins of Tenochtitlan, and the State of Mexico arose on the ruins of the Aztec Empire defeated. The time will come and turn away the Spanish empire. Mexico to get rid of her rule and achieve independence. But this will happen only after 300 years, September 16, 1821 In the meantime, the lucky conquistador Hernando Cortes prudently take care of strengthening its position and seeking new adventures ...

King of Spain, of course, did not object to admission of new wealth from their possessions in the New World. And Cortes, has the power to the governor, is well aware. That`s why he equips troops of the conquistadors, who are sent in all directions of New Spain, and with the same obsession continue to look for more and more new sources of enrichment. The gangs under the command of Gonzalo Sandoval, Kristovalya olide and Juan Alvarez Chico reach the Pacific coast. They rob and kill coastal populations for nearly 1,000 kilometers (between 96o and 104o W). Gang Pedro Alvarado winter 1523 devastated the entire area of ??the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and early next year enters into the territory of the present Guatemala. It is interesting to note that the conquistadors constantly used his superior tactics - Cortes. So, P.Alvarado playing on the hostility of mountain areas and low-lying areas, destroyed one by other.

The governor of New Spain is not resting on its laurels and is also active. In 1523 Cortes sent to the north-east of the defeated Tenochtitlan. Here, in the pool flows into the Gulf of Mexico a small Panuco River, where they lived, mainly, the Aztecs, he builds a fortress, leaving a strong garrison. In the autumn of 1524, having heard about the gold and silver, alleged the Indians who lived in what is now Honduras, he is undertaking another expedition. Choosing the shortest way, Cortes went first along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, and then through the forest thickets south of the Yucatan Peninsula. A more than 500-kilometer march was held in extremely difficult conditions, and only in the spring of 1525 a depleted squad went to the shore of the Gulf of Honduras. Cortes, sick with malaria, was barely alive and therefore in Mexico just got back in the summer of 1526

During the campaign a lot of denunciations Honduran spilled on Cortez from his envious Spain. In addition, the rumor of the death of the governor and his people. So when Cortes returned to Mexico City, there was already a new governor. In 1527, he sent Cortes to his homeland, where he had an audience with the King. He was received graciously forgiven the former sins and, moreover, awarded estates, gave the title of Marquis, but: they conquered the right of governing the country did not return.

Despite the loss of high office, active Cortes in the same year returns to Mexico and organizes a variety of new missions. Their purpose is substantially not very different from all earlier. For example, in 1527 he fitted out three ships in the Pacific Ocean, which were assigned to `go to the Moluccas or in China, to find a direct path to their homeland: pryanostey`. In 1535, believing the rumors, he personally led an expedition to the three ships to the south-east coast of the peninsula of California to search for pearls. But now obvious failures haunt of Cortez. He continues to lose ships and people who are not getting the usual profits. Ill in California from the heat and privations, he refuses to return to Mexico for fear of ridicule and bullying `in view of the ineffectiveness ekspeditsii`. In the end, he was forced to leave the new colony, but to put up with the lack of the expected results were not in its rules. He was already 50 when he returned to the coast of California. It was the last and, obviously, not the most successful expedition of the famous conqueror of the Spanish colonies, and the servants of their own greed ...

After the conquest of the Aztec Empire ...

Despite a series of setbacks that has suffered Hernando Cortes after the conquest of the Aztec empire, it is no exaggeration to say that he was lucky a lot more than many of his contemporaries-the conquistadors. After incredible adventures and decades of continuous risk their own lives in 1540, he returned to live in Spain. His organizational experience evaluated, and the following year the indefatigable conquistador again risking his life, commanding the squadron in a military campaign against Algeria ... Obviously, fate took him under his wing until the very end. Hernando Cortes died, being a very wealthy man, at home, in 1547

Contemporaries believed Cortes dandy and a spendthrift, but noted his handsome, delicate handling and the ability to gain people. He was undoubtedly courageous man, had outstanding abilities diplomat and military commander. He, like other conquistadors, characterized by boldness and ferocity combined with religiosity and enormous greed, treachery and contempt for the cultural values ??of other nations. Given the time and place of the events described above, perhaps it is these traits and allowed Cortes to achieve the desired (wealth), becoming also more and a national hero. It is no accident his remains transported to Mexico and buried on the site of the first meeting with Montezuma. Not for nothing are named in honor of the city of Cortez, the bay and the bank (bank). No wonder his image, as already noted, were sealed on banknotes in Spain.

The reason for such honors were, of course, not many geographical discoveries that Cortes made along the way. The main thing, as already noted, the conquest and looting of the next new lands, attached to the Spanish empire in XYI. For the same reason, the Spanish banknote and another, equally famous for the hero of his time - Francisco Pizarro. He conquered the Inca state, the creators of one of the most ancient civilizations of South America. In this regard, it is interesting to mention the fun fact. Later, French, Dutch and English captains plundered Spanish ships transporting metropolitan treasure Indians. And for that, the Spaniards considered them pirates! Among these national and England hero Sir Francis Drake, many years successfully robbing the Spanish ships and Spanish cities in America, is dedicated to the Knights of the Queen of England. Thanks to such feats became a national hero and Dutch admiral Piet Heyn, captured in 1626, the entire Spanish fleet with silver. But that`s another story ...