Spanish Conquest Of The Aztecs Essay

878 words - 4 pages

Why Was Such A Small Force Able To Conquer A Mighty Empire?

The story of the conquest of the Aztec Empire by a small band of Spanish conquistadors and their Indian allies is one of the most famous episodes from history. The Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in 1521, led by Hernando Cortes, was a landmark victory for the European settlers. The campaign had started in February 1519 with the Spanish army of just a mere 600 men. Following the Spanish arrival in Mexico, a huge battle erupted between the army of Cortes and the Aztec people under the rule of Montezuma. Here, we will discuss the various factors had influenced the Spanish victory over the Aztecs. We do know that there were a number ...view middle of the document...

He played the mail role in the conquest of the Aztecs. For example, Cortés was the main individual to convince the troops that came from Cuba which added to the Spanish army. Also a native woman, Dona Marina, served as a reliable interpreter between the conquistadors and the native Americans. She helped the Spaniards win the support of the natives of Tlaxcala. The Aztec Emperor at that time, Montezuma II had a major role in this too. When in prison, he continuously stopped the Aztec chief from attacking the Spanish forces.

3. Disease
Until the coming of the Europeans, the New World was free of smallpox, typhus, cholera, and measles. When Cortez came to invade Mexico, he had with him a silent ally more potent than his small Spanish army. That insidious ally was infectious disease, to which Aztecs and other Native Americans had no immunity. These diseases decimated the Native population. In 1520, Cuitahuac, the Aztec emperor at that time died from the first smallpox epidemic to hit the empire. Whereas the Spanish had gained some immunity to smallpox and plague after centuries of exposure, the Native Americans had never experienced those diseases before. Therefore, they had no immunity to them. This made it much more likely that they would catch these diseases and even more likely that these diseases would be fatal. Though the Europeans never meant to wage biological warfare on the Native Americans, the diseases the Europeans happened to bring with them to the New World killed millions.
4. Religion
The Aztecs were cannibals, whose religion revolved around human sacrifice on a huge...

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