Conquest of Tenochtitlan
Taking of the city of Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire, by the Spanish conquerors. In this article we will provide you the Causes and of the conquest of Tenochtitlan.
The conquest or fall of Tenochtitlán is known as the definitive taking of the city of Tenochtitlan , capital of the Aztec Empire , on August 13, 1521 .
The final fall of Tenochtitlán marked the end of the period of conquest of the Aztec Empire that began in 1519, when Hernán Cortés arrived on the Mexican coast from Cuba.
The process of conquering the city of Tenochtitlán and the defeat of the last Aztec tlatoani began on November 8, 1519 with the meeting of Hernán Cortés with Moctezuma in the Aztec capital. The city was located in the center of the Texcoco lagoon and was accessed through a system of bridges and roads over the water.
Against the advice of Prince Cuitláhuac, Moctezuma received the Spanish in a friendly manner and invited them to enter the city. But, once there, Cortés and his soldiers took Moctezuma prisoner, stayed in the Axayácatl palace and tried to control the city.
In the middle of 1520, in the absence of Cortés, his lieutenant, Pedro de Alvarado , ordered the slaughter of Aztec soldiers and priests participating in a religious ceremony. This caused a popular uprising that forced the Spanish to flee the city. During that uprising, Moctezuma died . Some versions affirm that he died of a stone when he was forced to confront the people to try to pacify them. Others, that he was assassinated by the Spanish.
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A year later, Hernán Cortés, reorganized and with his troops increased by warriors from the indigenous populations subdued by the Aztecs, returned and laid siege to the city.
Cortés had the water and food cut off to the city, which, at that time, had between 180 and 200 thousand inhabitants and built brigs to face the Aztec canoes in the lagoon.
Despite the fact that Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec tlatoani, had reorganized the Mexica army and established strategies to defend the city, after almost 90 days of siege , hunger, disease and the great death of warriors made it impossible to sustain the defense of the city. city and the troops of Cortés managed to occupy it.
Causes and consequences of the conquest of Tenochtitlán
The reasons why the conquest of Tenochtitlán was achieved were the following:
- The need for the Spanish to occupy the capital of the Aztecs to consolidate the conquest of the Mexica territory .
- The enmity of the Aztecs with the neighboring indigenous peoples who were subject. The hatred of the Aztecs was so great that these peoples preferred to support the Spanish in the conquest.
- The geographical situation of the city , in the center of a system of lagoons, facilitated the control of water and food by the besiegers.
- The smallpox, which had been transmitted to the arrival of the Spaniards, caused an epidemic among the Mexica causing high mortality.
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Among the main consequences of the conquest of Tenochtitlán we can highlight the following:
- The Aztec Empire was definitively defeated and the installation of Spanish power in Mexico was carried out .
- A large part of the population of Tenochtitlán was exterminated. The surviving Indians were forced to convert to Christianity and submitted to Spanish authority. Its cultural manifestations were destroyed .
- The city was destroyed and the surrounding lakes dried up. This caused an ecological imbalance that has consequences to this day.
Important figures of the conquest of Tenochtitlán
Among the protagonists of the conquest of Tenochtitlán are:
- Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano (1485-1547) : Spanish nobleman who carried out the conquest of Mexico.
- Moctezuma Xocoyotzin (1466-1520) : Aztec tlatoani for 18 years. He received Hernán Cortés, but was taken prisoner. He died during a popular uprising.
- Cuitláhuac (1476-1520) : Moctezuma’s brother, strategist of almost all the attacks made on the Spanish before the beginning of the siege of Tenochtitlán. He died of smallpox.
- Cuauhtémoc ( 1496-1525 ): last Aztec ruler, he was taken prisoner by Hernán Cortés and executed several years after the conquest of Tenochtitlán.