Hernan Cortes- 1517-1519



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Hernan Cortes- 1517-1519

First Contact-
- The Aztecs had premonitions that bad things would happen to them- they saw comets, fires, etc.
- Moctezuma II sent people to find out the truth behind these visions.
-Meanwhile the Spanish had already looked around the Yucatan and the Cuban governor agreed to allow Cortes
an expedition

February 1519-
- In just two weeks they had three ships and 300 men ready to go.
- Fearing he’d lose control of the expedition, Spanish governor Velasquez told Cortes to stop. Cortes did not.
- They hit Cozumel and lucked out—he found a shipwrecked guy who could act as a translator to the Mayans.
-Cortez mixed it up with the locals at Potonchan, beat them, and took 20 women to cook and serve his men.
- One was Malinche, who could speak Nahuatl and Mayan. Now he could speak with the Mayan and Aztecs
through his two interpreters.

April 20, 1519-
- Montezuma’s representative arrived to meet Cortes and offer him gifts of precious stones and other items.
- Cortes said he came from a king who ruled beyond the seas.
- The Spanish were a little freaked when Montezuma’s guy bled himself and offered them a sip of blood.
- The Spanish fired off their guns and ran their horses on the beach, at which point the Mexicans fainted.

Cortes Burns His Boats-
- Montezuma was paralyzed by the possibility that Cortés was the returning Quetzalcoatl, "the feathered
serpent," an exiled deity who vowed to return one day to claim his kingdom.
- Cortes quit the job given him by Velasquez and accepted a new leadership position, giving him more power.
- People loyal to Velasquez plotted to return to Cuba, so Cortes decided to sink his ships so they couldn’t.
- Cortes met the Tlaxcalans, who agreed to march with Cortes on the Mexicans after he beat on them badly.
- The Cholulans planned to trap Cortes and the Tlaxcalans, but were instead slaughtered by Cortes after
Malinche was tipped off about the Cholulans’ plans.
- Hearing of what happened to the Cholulans, other groups agreed not to fight Cortes, but to help him.

November 1519; The Most Beautiful Thing in the World-
- They came over the hill and saw Tenochtitlan—the city on the lake—and were truly amazed.
-Montezuma and Cortes met on the causeway as everyone crowded as close as possible; they exchanged gifts.
- Cortes and his men were brought to the temple where they were given rooms; they arrested Montezuma.
- Everyone around was fearful, as if they had housed a great beast that could kill them all.
- The Spanish seized all the gold in the treasure house, burned the rest (that the Aztecs thought priceless) and
attempted to rule the city through Montezuma, who was under house arrest.
- The people quickly lost trust in Montezuma and the Spanish, who began attacking the religious monuments.

April, 1520-Velasquez sends an arrest party-
-A group of Spanish, led by Narvaez, arrived onshore to arrest Cortes for defying governor Velasquez.
-Cortes attacked them at night and defeated them. He took the remaining men and returned to Tenochtitlan.

June, 1520- Massacre at Tenochtitlan-
- Tensions exploded when Alvarado ordered a massacre during the great Aztec spring festival of Huizilopochtli.
- Cortés forced Montezuma to try and pacify to people from the rooftop, but the emperor was forced to retreat
under a hail of stones and arrows.
-Montezuma was killed (mysteriously), so the Spanish killed the remaining nobles and hid out in the temple.
-They tried to sneak out but were discovered, resulting in a bloody night battle called “Noche Triste.”

December, 1520- Siege, Starvation, and Smallpox-
-The Spanish fell back and regrouped, planning on attacking the lake city with pre-built ships.
- The Mexicans thought the Spanish were gone for good and elected a new leader, Cuautemoc.
-Smallpox began wiping out the native population.
-Cortes returned and conquered many of the villages around the lake; the Aztecs knew they were doomed.

The Last Stand; An Aztec Iliad-
- The Spanish attacked the city, and for 80 days fought the Aztecs street to street and house to house.
- Cuautemoc surrendered and told Cortes to kill him because he had already killed all his people.
- The Spanish and their native allies looted the rest of the city and completely destroyed it. Everyone else fled.

Pizarro; The Conquest of the Incas

November 1524-27; A Land of Wonders-
- Francisco Pizarro made his first voyage to the New World in November 1524. After much hardship and
skirmishes with natives in Panama, he returned to Spain with empty hands.
- His second voyage (1526) had two ships, and he split up with Ruiz (pilot) who made first contact with the Incas.
- Pizarro was stuck on an island off Columbia, about to be overthrown by his own crew.

April, 1528- Puerto Pizarro-
- They met back up after 7 months and sailed south until their hijacked interpreters recognized their hometown.

Spring, 1528- Death of the Inca-
- The leader Wayna Cepac heard of the Spanish and headed out of Quito, but his army was struck with smallpox.
- He was to name a successor to take over when he died, and when there was confusion as to which son he
chose to take over, a civil war broke out.

Summer, 1529- Audience with the King-
- They returned to Panama delighted, and then to Spain, to show the king what they had found and get money
for another expedition—this time to conquer the Inca completely.
-The queen gave Pizarro a license to conquer Peru and make himself governor.

1532- March to Cajamarca-
-Pizarro returned to find Tumbes in ruins. The civil war raged on as Pizarro’s 160 men marched to Quito.
- Pizarro recruited native groups hostile to Atahuallpa along the way, gaining strength.
- Atahuallpa sent gifts, including virgins, to the men and their horses, who they thought were a kind of human.

November, 1532- Andean Diplomacy-
-Offered maize beer in golden cups, the Spanish poured it out, insulting the Incans.
- The Spanish stayed the night, waiting for Atahuallpa’s army to arrive.
- Trying to be intimidating, Hernando de Soto rode up to Atahuallpa on his horse, right in his face, and
Atahuallpa didn’t blink—he had his staff that had panicked to be killed for being cowards.

The Slaughter-
-Friar Valverde was sent by Pizarro to meet Atahuallpa in the square, where many of the people gathered.
-The Friar held a bible and said that it told the Inca to renounce their idols and worship the Spanish god.
-Atahuallpa took the book, held it to his ear, and when it said nothing to him, he threw it on the ground.
- Friar Valverde freaked out and ordered Pizarro’s waiting men to fire on the unarmed crowd.

Winter 1533-1534- Prisoner King-
-Now jailed, Atahuallpa ransomed himself for gold, thinking he could buy off the Spanish and get rid of them.
-The Incas thought that the Spanish didn’t sleep, talked to their books, and actually ate the gold and silver.

Spring 1534- Death of the Inca-
-Meanwhile, Huascar (the other leader in the civil war) was killed in Quito, and Pizarro blamed Atahuallpa.
- Pizarro had Atahuallpa tried of treason and executed and put his half-brother Manco in charge.
-Fearing the loss of his soul, Atahuallpa agreed to be baptized in exchange for death by garroting — the death
that Montezuma had suffered, where you are strangled to death.

Orellana; The Search for El Dorado

Rumors of El Dorado-
-Hearing of a legend of a rich land, Gonzalo Pizarro led an expedition to find El Dorado.
- He also wanted to find the land of Cinnamon and discover new lands for colonization.
- In March 1541 he set out with 200 men and many native servants on his journey.

Crossing the Andes-
- It was very hard, but they made it over the Andes mountains and into the Sumaco Valley in the rainy season.

Building El Barco-
-Pizarro found his cinnamon, but it was scattered and in an area where they could not survive long.
- Nearly all of his 4000 native workers had died, and many of his men were too sick to move.
- He ordered them to build a boat to carry their sick and their gear, to float down the Coca River.

The Expedition Splits-
- November 1541 Pizarro launched his new boat, but it was still slow going down the river.
- Orellana convinced Pizarro to let him take the boat and 60 men downstream in search of food.

Starving on the Napo-
-Orellana quickly realized the Napo flowed too quickly for them to return, so they decided to go with the flow.
-Seven men died of starvation before they came upon a native camp, who took them in after first running away.

The Amazon Proper-
-Orellana took off down the Napo in February 1542 and ran into the Maranon, where the Amazon River begins.
-They met more tribes who told them that downriver lived the hostile Aparian tribe.
-Orellana then modified their boat, and built another named the Victoria and set off down the river.
-Meanwhile Pizarro gave up on Orellana, calling him a traitor, and turned back toward Quito.

Under Attack-
-They kept going through Machiparo territory and then Omagua territory, where they suffered violent attacks.
-Through the summer of 1542 they kept passing giant tributaries, including one “as black as ink”—River Negro.

To the Sea-
-They made it nearly down the river, repaired their boats, and noticed the river rising and falling with the tides.
-They hit the mouth of the Amazon, and the thrilled sailors modified their boats for the open sea and set off for
Spanish islands in the Caribbean.

The Journey Home-
-Now they faced a 1,200 mile journey in homemade boats on the open sea.
- They were separated after three days during a storm and both presumed the other crew was dead.
-One vessel made it to Cubagau in early September; the other two days later, to their amazement, they lived.


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