Spanish Conquest of the Aztecs

Spanish Conquest of the Aztecs

Why Was Such A Small Force Able To Conquer A Mighty Empire?

The story of the conquest of the Aztec Empire by a small band of Spanish conquistadors and their Indian allies is one of the most famous episodes from history. The Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in 1521, led by Hernando Cortes, was a landmark victory for the European settlers. The campaign had started in February 1519 with the Spanish army of just a mere 600 men. Following the Spanish arrival in Mexico, a huge battle erupted between the army of Cortes and the Aztec people under the rule of Montezuma. Here, we will discuss the various factors had influenced the Spanish victory over the Aztecs. We do know that there were a number of factors involved, not just one. There are probably many factors that we don't know about that were already contributing to the weakness of the empire. But let's look at some of the most obvious, immediate factors:

1. Technology
The Spanish had the advantage of superior military and naval technology. The technology of the Spanish was able to help the small number survive warfare with the Aztecs. Their steel weapons and armour were almost impenetrable giving them an edge in combat Moreover, the Amerindians of the region were not well equipped for lethal combat because they battles were meant to collect slaves and sacrificial victims for ceremonies. Their weapons were not meant to kill as much as they were meant to stun unlike the swords and guns of the Spanish that were meant for killing. The Spaniards' canons and muskets terrorized the natives. In 1520, the Spanish built 12 ships within 15 weeks to attack the Aztec Empire.

2. The Role of the Individual
Cortez was unquestionably brutal and merciless at times, but on the whole, he was an exceedingly skilled tactician and a charismatic leader of men. He accomplished a great deal by diplomacy and treated his Indian allies fairly. He played the mail role in the conquest of the Aztecs. For example, Cort├ęs was the main...

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