Timeline startsHernán Cortés was a Spanish explorer whois famous mainly for his march acrossMexico and his conquering of the AztecEmpire in Mexico.
Cortés was born in the Spanish city ofMedellín in 1485. When he was a youngman, he studied law, but he soon gave thatup to seek his fortune in the New World thatwas just being discovered by Columbus andothers.
First he went to the island of Santo Domingo(now known as the Dominican Republic) in1504. He was only 19 years old at the time.He stayed there for seven years, then tookpart in the Spanish conquest of Cuba in 1511.
He became mayor of Santiago de Cuba andstayed there until 1518.
Cortés was eager for more power andconquests, so he talked the Spanishgovernor of Cuba into letting him lead anexpedition to Mexico in 1519. Mexico hadjust been discovered by the Spanish explorerde Córdoba a year before.
In November of 1519, Cortés and his menreached the Aztec capital and metMontezuma. The Aztecs may have thoughtthat Cortés was a god-king, and so theytreated him and his soldiers well.
However, Cortés was afraid that the Aztecsmight soon try to get rid of him, so he tookMontezuma hostage and asked for a hugeransom of gold and jewels.
It turned out that Cortés was right and theAztecs finally drove him and his men out oftheir city in June of 1520. But Cortésregrouped and returned in the summer of1521 to capture Tenochtitlán.
Soon after, he began to build Mexico City onthe Aztec ruins and brought manyEuropeans over to live there. It soon becamethe most important European city in NorthAmerica.
Because of his conquests and all the goldand jewels he had collected, Cortés was verypopular back home in Spain and so he wasmade governor and captain general of NewSpain in 1523. But he wasnt done exploring.
In 1524, he led a group into Honduras andstayed in that area for two years. By 1528,the Spanish government was worried thatCortés was getting out of control in theAmericas.
And so he had to give up his governors joband was sent back to Spain. He spoke to theking, who was persuaded to send Cortésback to Mexico in 1530, but with less powerand freedom than before.
In 1536, Cortés explored the northwesternpart of Mexico and discovered the BajaCalifornia peninsula. He also spent timeexploring the Pacific coast of Mexico.
Timeline endsThis was the last major expedition byCortés. In 1539, he went back to Spain, andspent much of the rest of his life there beforehe died near Seville in 1547.
Catholic: The Arab invasions of the Iberianpeninsular in the 7th and 8th centuriesdrove the Christian communities intoisolated pockets in the north and northwest.
The reconquest (Reconquista) began in thereign of Sancho III, king of Navarre(1000-1035), ultimately triumphing in 1492with the final defeat of the Moors.