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 Hernan Cortes, Notaries, Aztec Mexico, 1519
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Joe Ewing

California
54 Posts

Posted - 09/07/2017 :  3:21:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit Joe Ewing's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hernan Cortes (1485-1547) was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that conquered the Aztec Empire in Mexico in 1519.
Cortés was born in Medellin, Spain in 1485. He studied and served as a notary, first in Seville and later in Hispaniola, giving him knowledge of the legal codes. This was an age of discovery and conquest following the landing of Columbus in the New World in 1492.
In 1504, at age 18, Cortes went to Santo Domingo, Hispaniola, now the Dominican Republic, where the Governor appointed him a notary of the town of Azua de Compostela.  He served in the conquest of Hispaniola and then Cuba from 1511 to 1518.  At age 26, Cortes was made clerk to the treasurer. Governor Velázquez was impressed with Cortes and he became secretary to the Governor and was twice appointed municipal magistrate (alcalde) of Santiago.

Cortes Expedition to Conquer the Aztec Empire
In October 1518, Cortes was appointed Captain-General of the third expedition to the mainland, following Cordova and Grijalva, to explore and secure the interior of Mexico for colonization. He gathered an army and in February 1519, landed on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mayan territory with 11 ships, 500 men, 13 horses, and some cannon.
In March 1519, from a warship on the river at Tabasco, Diego de Godoy, a royal notary from Pinto, read a proclamation (Requerimiento) to the Indians demanding submission to Spain. The Indians responded with arrows. Cortés gave the battle-cry “Santiago, and at them!” used in Spain in battles with the Moors. Indian arrows and spears were ineffective against soldiers clad in armor and helmets, equipped with crossbows, muskets (arquebus), cannon and horses. Over 1,000 Indians were killed and only a few Spanish soldiers.
Following the victory, Cortes formally claimed the land for Spain, making three cuts with his sword in a great ceiba (silk cotton tree) in the central square. The soldiers cheered and the royal notary recorded the land claim.

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