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THE INVASION

The Spanish Strategy vs The Aztec Strategy

BOTH THE AZTECS AND THE SPANISH WERE


WARLIKE, MERCANTILE, GREEDY, AND QUICK TO
RESORT TO FORCE. BOTH BELIEVED THEY HAD A
DIVINE MISSION TO RULE THE WORLD.

THE SPANISH STRATEGY

After establishing his colony on the coast, Cortes decided that it was time
to march inland to the heart of the Aztec Empire. On the way he and his
men encountered a number of other Indigenous peoples. Before Cortes
could proceed he needed to either befriend or conquer these people.

Malinche

When Cortes forces defeated the Tabascan people, they were given gifts
of food, clothing, gold, and slaves. One of the slaves was a young woman
named Malinche.

Cortes needed someone to act as an intermediary, a link between him and


Moctezuma. Malinche could speak both Mayan and Nahuatl, the language
of the Aztecs. In a short time she also learned to speak Spanish.

She converted to Christianity and afterward was known as Dona Maria.


She became Cortes advisor and spy. Without her help, Cortes could not
have succeeded in defeating the Aztecs.

The March to Tenochtitlan

Cortes continued on his journey. Each group he met viewed the arrival of
the Spanish differently, so Cortes was forced to constantly adapt his
strategy.

In some cases, Cortes and his forces formed alliances while in other cases
Cortes conquered and destroyed the group.

THE AZTEC STRATEGY

The Aztec Emperor Moctezuma knew that the Spanish had landed
on the coast and were making their way inland, thanks to his many
spies. He had two choices; he could make the first move and send
his army out to meet the Spanish, or he could sit back and wait
before making any rash decisions. Moctezuma chose the second
option.

Why did Moctezuma sit back and wait?

Many historians maintain that Montezumas belief that Cortez


was the god Quetzalcoatl caused him to hesitate. Quetzalcoatl
promised to return after he died in a pyre or sailed off in a boat
traveling east. Physically, Quetzalcoatl was described in two
forms; one a flying feathered serpent and the other a white
-skinned man with a beard. Cortez fit into two of the four
descriptions; he sailed from the east and was white-skinned with
a beard.

Against the advice from his council, Moctezuma allowed Cortes


to enter the city of Tenochtitlan, and exchanged gifts with him
and welcomed him to his great city.

THE BATTLE FOR TENOCHTITLAN- PART 1

Cortes and his forces were taken to live in the palace of Moctezumas late
father. The Aztecs showed the Spanish soldiers the glories of their city. This
included the market, the temples, and their golden treasures. Some claim that
once Cortes saw all the gold first hand, he decided to plan his attack. Along
with the gold, Cortes desired to lead this mighty society.

The Spanish placed Cortes under house arrest in his palace. They looted gold
from the royal palaces and melted it down. They then forced Moctezuma to
make himself a subject of Spanish rule. Cortes ordered the Aztec emperor to
make his people surrender.

Cortes received word that Governor Velazquez sent Spanish troops to the
coast of Mexico to arrest Cortes. Cortes left Tenochtitlan with some soldiers
and set off for the coast to deal with this other threat. He left his second in
command in charge of the city.

Cortes defeated Velazquezs forces and convinced them to join him in the
fight against the Aztecs. When Cortes returned, Tenochtitlan was in an uproar.
Pedro de Alvarado had massacred the Aztec dancers during a festival.

Cortes forced Moctezuma to speak to his people to calm them down, but they
threw stones at their emperor, killing him. The Aztecs attacked the Spanish
and their allies, killing many of them, and driving the rest out of the city.

THE BATTLE FOR TENOCHTITLAN- PART 2

Six months later Cortes and the Spanish


regrouped and returned to attack Tenochtitlan
with a stronger army.
During this time the smallpox epidemic had killed
off 25% of the Aztec population.
The Spanish cut the aqueducts to the city and
after a siege of about 80 days the Aztecs were
defeated.
As the Spanish captured the city, they tore down
the temples and buildings.
Only 60,000 Aztecs survived in the city, which lay
in ruins around them. The Aztec empire had
ceased to exist. In its place, Cortes would lay the
foundations for another Spanish colony in the
Americas.