Alternate titles: Fernando Cortés, Hernán Cortéz, Hernán Cortéz, marqués del Valle de Oaxaca, Hernando Cortés
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Hernán Cortés meeting Montezuma II
Hernán Cortés (left) conference Montezuma II, undated illustration. Images

Spanish politics and envy to be to bedevil Cortés throughout his meteoric career. Cortés soon heard the the arrival of a Spanish force from Cuba, led by Pánfilo Narváez, to deprive Cortés the his command at a time (mid-1520) once he to be holding the Aztec funding of Tenochtitlán by little much more than the pressure of his personality. Leaving a garrison in Tenochtitlán the 80 Spaniards and also a couple of hundred Tlaxcaltecs commanded through his many reckless captain, Pedro de Alvarado, Cortés marched versus Narváez, beat him, and enlisted his army in his own forces. ~ above his return, he uncovered the Spanish garrison in Tenochtitlán besieged by the Aztecs ~ Alvarado had massacred plenty of leading Aztec chiefs during a festival. Hard pressed and also lacking food, Cortés chose to leave the city by night. The Spaniards’ retreat indigenous the funding was performed, but with a hefty loss in lives and also most that the endowment they had actually accumulated. After 6 days of retreat Cortés won the battle of Otumba end the Aztecs sent in pursuit (July 7, 1520).


Cortés and also his guys retreating indigenous Tenochtitlán
Hernán Cortés and his men retreating indigenous Tenochtitlán, undated illustration.

Cortés ultimately rejoined his Tlaxcalan allies and also reorganized his forces prior to again marching top top Tenochtitlán in December 1520. After ~ subduing the neighbouring territories he laid siege come the city itself, conquering it street by street till its capture was perfect on respectable 13, 1521. This victory marked the fall of the Aztec empire. Cortés had come to be the absolute leader of a substantial territory prolonging from the Caribbean Sea come the Pacific Ocean.

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In the meantime, Velázquez to be mounting an insidious political attack on Cortés in Spain with Bishop Juan Rodríguez de Fonseca and the board of directors of the Indies. Totally conscious of the vulnerability the a effective conqueror whose ar of operations was 5,000 miles (8,000 km) from the center of politics power, Cortés countered with an extensive and in-depth dispatches—five exceptional letters to the Spanish king Charles V. His accept by the Indians and also even his popularity as a fairly benign ruler was such that he can have created Mexico as an live independence kingdom. Indeed, this is what the the supervisory board of the Indies feared. Yet his upbringing in a feudal people in which the king commanded pure allegiance was against it.