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Hernando Cortes

Picture of Hernando Cortes

Picture of Hernando Cortes

Short Biography of the life of Hernando Cortes - Spanish Conquistador and Explorer
The following biography information provides basic facts about the life Hernando Cortes:

  • Nationality - Spanish
  • Lifespan - 1485 - 1547

  • Family - Spanish nobility his parents were Martín Cortes de Monroy and Catalina Pizarro Altamarino
  • Education - Well educated attended University of Salamanca
  • Career - Spanish Conquistador and Explorer
  • Famous as : the Spanish conqueror of Mexico and the Aztec Empire
  • Mistaken for Quetzalcoatl the light skinned, bearded God-King of the Aztecs - the 'Winged God - Feather Serpent'
  • Cortes conquers the Aztec nation of 5 million with less than 1000 soldiers

. Facts, Timeline & History about the life of Hernando Cortes - Spanish Conquistador and Explorer
The following are additional facts and a timeline about the life and history of Hernando Cortes:

  • 1485: Hernando Cortes was born in 1485 in Medellin, Extremadura, Spain
  • His parents were Martin Cortes de Monroy and Catalina Pizarro Altamirano
  • 1499: Hernando Cortes was attended the University of Salamanca
  • 1501: Failed at Law and left University
  • 1502: Cortes heard the stories about the New World and joined the expedition to the West Indies led by Nicolas de Ovando with Diego Velazquez
  • Hernando Cortes was under the command of a man called Quintero
  • 1502: The Ovando voyage consisted of 2500 settlers and 30 ships
  • The Ovando expedition reached Hispaniola and the young Hernando Cortez proved popular with his mentor Quintero and Nicholas de Ovando
  • Cortes proved to be an excellent soldier under the command of Spanish soldier named Diego Velazquez (1460-1532)
  • 1511: Diego Columbus, the new governor of Hispaniola, resolved  to conquer the island of Cuba and selected Diego Velazquez as commander of the expedition
  • 1511: The expedition to Cuba consisted of four vessels with 300 men. Hernando Cortes was chosen to accompany Velazquez on the expedition
  • Cuba was quickly subjugated by the Spanish expedition force
  • 1513: The town of Bayamo on Cuba was established
  • 1514: The towns of Trinidad, Santo Espiritu, Puerto Principe, and Santiago de Cuba were founded
  • 1514: Hernando Cortes settles on the island of Cuba and becomes a rancher
  • 1518 May 1: A fleet under Juan de Grijalva left Santiago de Cuba explores the coast of Mexico and sends back favorable reports to Velazquez
  • 1518: Velazquez decides to explore further and chooses Hernando Cortes to captain an expedition to establish a colony in Mexico
  • 1519: February 19, 1519, with a force of 600 men, and less than 20 horses Cortez sets sail for Mexico.
  • 1519:  Hernando Cortes and his soldiers sailed to the Yucatan Penisula and march inland to Tenochtitlan
  • 1519 March: Cortes lands in Mexico, and suppresses the town of Tabasco. He meets a woman called Malinche who becames his mistress, guide and interpreter
  • Cortes establishes the town of La Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz. To prevent any possibility of desertion and retreat he literally burns all of his boats
  • Cortes learns about the fabulous riches of the Aztec Empire and marches his troops inland to discover the land of the Aztecs
  • Cortes forces an alliance with the Aztec Indians of Tlaxcala and learns about their customs, culture and religion
  • Cortes learns of Quetzalcoatl the 'Winged God - Feather Serpent'. This Aztec legend was about a light skinned, bearded God-King of Civilisation and learning who was revered by the Aztecs as Christians revered Jesus Christ
  • The arrival of Cortes and his Spanish soldiers coincided perfectly with the predicted return of the God-King Quetzalcoatl
  • Cortes heads further inland and reaches the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. The Aztecs believe that Cortes could be Quetzalcoatl their light skinned, bearded God-King
  • November 1519: Montezuma II, the Aztec king does not stop Cortes and his force from entering Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital which houses thousands of Aztecs
  • Cortes meets no resistance and establishes a headquarters inside Tenochtitlan
  • To maintain his position he takes Montezuma as hostage and forces him to swear allegiance to King Charles V of Spain
  • Meanwhile Velasquez had sent 1,400 soldiers to arrest Cortes. Hernando Cortes decides to march to the coast to do battle with the soldiers but instead he persuades them to join him
  • 1520: Cortes is attacked by thousands of Aztec warriors on his return to Tenochtitlan. The Aztec attack was prompted by the slaughter of 600 Aztec nobles whilst Cortes was away
  • Cortes tries to calm the Aztecs by releasing Montezuma but the Aztecs stone him to death
  • 1520: Hernando Cortes and his soldiers are forced out of Tenochtitlan
  • 1521: Hernando Cortes returns to Tenochtitlan with reinforcements
  • 1521 August 13 Plague strikes the Aztec population and Tenochtitlan falls to Cortes
  • Hernando Cortes conquered 5 Million Aztecs with less than 1000 soldiers
  • 1528: Cortes returns to Spain and was given the title "Marques del Valle de Oaxaca."
  • 1530:  Hernando Cortes returned to the New World and settles in Cuernavaca, Mexico
  • 1533:  Hernando Cortes makes his final expedition and discovers Baja in California
  • 1534: Hernando Cortes explored California for a year before returning to Mexico
  • 1540: Hernando Cortes returns home to Spain for the last time
  • 1541: Spain fears the power that Hernando Cortes has in the New World - Cortes is denied any government post in Mexico and his reputation is smeared by rumours that he murdered his wife, Catalina Xuarez but he is given permission to fight against the Moors and the Pirates of Algiers
  • 1547: Cortez died on December 2, 1547 near Seville
The Age of Exploration
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