Spanish conquest aztecs essay

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Make a list of what these authors agree upon. Note where they disagree with each other. How do the primary sources included here on-line help you to decide which interpretation you think is best? Make a note of which interpretation you think is best before starting the project. Do you still agree with what you thought after reading the primary sources? Spanish interest soon shifted from the Caribbean to the American mainland, where settlers hoped to find more resources to exploit. These conquests laid the foundations for colonial regimes that would transform the Americas.

The conquest of Mexico began with an expedition to search for gold on the American mainland. They seized the emperor Motecuzoma II, who died in during a skirmish between Spanish forces and residents of Tenochtitlan. Native allies also provided Spanish forces with logistical support and secure bases in friendly territory. New York: Longman, , — In Mexico the Spaniards profited from internal problems within the Aztec Empire. In the early s unrest ran rampant among many recently subdued tribes, who were forced to pay tribute and furnish sacrificial victims for their Aztec overlords.

Before marching against the Aztec capital, he destroyed his ships to prevent his men from turning back.

Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In a few battles the Spanish horses, firearms, steel armor, and tactics produced decisive victories. Malinche then informed Montezuma, as if in confidence, that he must cooperate or die. The bold scheme worked temporarily, but soon the Aztecs rebelled, renounced their emperor as a traitor, stoned and killed him when he tried to pacify them, and ultimately drove a battered band of terrified Spaniards from the city in the narrowest of escapes.

Finally, after fearful slaughter, some 60, exhausted and half-starved defenders surrendered. Most tribes in Central Mexico then accepted Spanish rule; many who resisted were enslaved. Like the Caribbean Indians, the people of Mexico had no precedent by which to judge these strange visitors. Other Indians saw the Spaniards as powerful human allies against the Aztecs, who had imposed their rule during the previous century.

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Soon a major battle was raging in and about the capital between the Spaniards and the supporters of the Aztecs. At one point the Aztecs gained the upper hand, destroying half the Spanish force and four thousand of their Amerindian allies and offering their gods a sacrifice of fifty-three Spaniards and four horses, their severed heads displayed in rows on pikes.

When the capital fell, the conquistadors overcame other parts of Mexico. Upper Saddle River, N. He opened communication with nearby communities and then with Moctezuma II , the Aztec emperor. His forces then marched on the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan modern Mexico City , where Moctezuma welcomed him. The Spaniards were driven out of Tenochtitlan and nearly wiped out, but they ultimately returned and laid siege to the city.


Particularly strategic were communities which had been subject to the Aztecs, who had heavily taxed the people and practiced human sacrifice. What happened next is unclear. He returned with thousands of Indian allies, who opposed the Aztecs.

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After a four month siege, during which time Aztec defenders succumbed as much to disease and starvation as to the force of arms, the new Aztec king Cuautemoc surrendered. By , most of central Mexico was integrated under Spanish control in the kingdom of New Spain. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, , — The strange end of the Aztec nation remains one of the most fascinating events in the annals of human societies.

Why did a strong people defending its own territory succumb so quickly to a handful of Spaniards fighting in dangerous and completely unfamiliar circumstances? The answers to these questions lie in the fact that at the time of the Spanish arrival, the Aztec and Inca Empires faced grave internal difficulties brought on by their religious ideologies; by the Spaniards' boldness, timing, and technology; and by Aztec and Inca psychology and attitudes toward war. Tenochtitlan served as the capital city of the Aztec Empire and its location served many purposes.

As an island located in Lake Texcoco, you could only reach Tenochtitlan by boat or via one of the three causeways that connected to the mainland. This protected the capital from potential invaders with there being a limited number of ways to reach the island. The only way to mount an effective offensive that permeated all sides of the island would have to come through a comprehensive sea invasion. With the surrounding mainland controlled by the Aztecs, it would be difficult for someone to accomplish without compromising their plans beforehand.

If you attacked by land, your only choices were the three narrow causeways and that would mean a predictable offense that the Aztecs were well prepared for. Each of the causeways were controlled by draw bridges that could be lifted to protect against a ground invasion.

While the surrounding water gave the island a geographical advantage against potential invaders, it also provided space for growing food.

The Aztec Empire, which would span large parts of Central Mexico at its peak, required ample food supply to support the population and the Aztec warriors who led the expansion efforts. The Aztecs build artificial islands in the lake that were called chinampas. These were build by piling weeds and mud on top of a bad of sticks. The chinampas could support the growth of several crops and hundreds of these chinampas would be built in Lake Texcoco.

History of the Aztec Empire

These chinampas allowed Tenochtitlan to become a self-sufficient city-state and was critical to feeding the expanding empire and the soldiers that made it happen. The protective island geography helped the Aztec Empire to reach its peaks, but with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, it would end up playing a role in the conquest. In the chaos, Moctezuma II was killed and the conquistadors were driven off the island.


The Aztecs had closed off the causeways, forcing the conquistadors to make boats to escape the island. Hundreds of conquistadors were left behind and were either captured, killed, or drowned in the lake. The island geography that had helped protect the capital from invaders was now being used against the Aztecs. The siege that lasted 80 days resulted in the starvation of thousands of people living in Tenochtitlan and the eventual rout and capture of the capital. The Aztec Empire had flourished in large part due to the capital city of Tenochtitlan.

Its island geography had protected it from potential invaders and Aztec engineers built chinampas in the lake that allowed the Aztecs to grow enough food to support a growing empire. The conquistadors turned the geographical advantage against the Aztecs by utilizing a blockade and laying siege on the island capital.

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The siege was effective in starving the inhabitants of Tenochtitlan and eventually the capital and the Aztec Empire fell to the Spanish. Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student. Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. We will occasionally send you account related emails. Want us to write one just for you?

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