The Brutality and Manipulation of Hernán Cortés in the Conquest of Tenochtitlan

TLDR Historian Matthew Restall reveals that Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conquistador, was a manipulative and brutal figure who took credit for the actions of others. Cortés engaged in monstrous behavior, killing unarmed men, women, and children, and his actions ultimately led to the downfall of the Aztec Empire.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 In the temple square, the dancers are performing a ritual while the Spaniards secretly prepare to attack, leading to the beginning of the carnage.
04:54 Hernán Cortés is portrayed as neither a hero nor a supervillain, but rather a manipulative and somewhat dull figure who is able to claim credit for things he didn't actually do, according to historian Matthew Restall.
09:06 Cortes sends gold back to Spain to gain credit for his actions, but the gold is intercepted and reported to Balázquez, who sends Nabiath with a thousand men to deal with Cortes.
13:25 Cortes successfully defeats Navayath and gains more men, but receives news that Tenochtitlan is in chaos and his Spanish friends are besieged in the palace.
17:34 Cortes returns to Tenochtitlan with reinforcements and weaponry, and is met with a hostile reception, but manages to reach the palace unchallenged and asks Pedro de Alvarado what has been happening in his absence.
21:56 The Spanish conquistadors, led by Cortes, are left in a state of uncertainty and fear as they remain in the city of Tenochtitlan, surrounded by a hostile population and unsure of their own fate.
26:01 During the Feast of Toshkatl, the Spanish conquistadors, led by Alvarado, become increasingly fearful and receive warnings that they will be tied up and have their hearts torn out, or that the Aztecs plan to break into the palace, rescue Montezuma, and kill them all, causing them to believe they are in terrible danger and leading Alvarado to order his men to kill everyone at the festival, resulting in the spilling of more blood than the Aztecs would have ever done.
29:55 The Spanish conquistadors, led by Alvarado, engage in monstrous behavior by killing unarmed men, women, and children at a festival in order to strike fear and terrorize the Mexica people, while Montezuma remains their hostage.
34:07 The Spanish conquistadors, led by Cortes, are trapped in Tenochtitlan with little food and water, and the causeways are being demolished to prevent their escape.
38:05 Cortes brings Montezuma out onto the roof in a desperate attempt to calm the crowd, but they jeer and throw more projectiles at him, and there are multiple theories about how Montezuma died, including being hit by a stone, deliberately exposing himself in despair, or being killed by either the crowd or the Spaniards.
42:18 Montezuma's death is described in conflicting accounts, with one suggesting that he lost the will to live and another indicating that he was chained and stabbed by the Spaniards, who no longer found him useful.
Categories: History

The Brutality and Manipulation of Hernán Cortés in the Conquest of Tenochtitlan

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