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Sunday, September 18, 2011
Essay on Hernan Cortes
Hernando Cortes Pizarro, otherwise known as Hernan Cortes, was born in 1485 in the kingdom of Castile in the city of Medellin. His parents were Martin Cortes de Monroy and Catalina Pizarro Altamirano who were both in the upper class of society. Cortes, who was the only son in the family, was rather very sickly as a young boy. He went to school at the University of Salamanca and studied law. He was however never happy studying law. As a result, he soon quit schooling and decided to become a soldier.
Despite his restlessness as a young man, there was one thing that interested him the most. That is he dreamed of one day seeing what lies in the New World. During his time, there were already stories about the discovery of the New World and the riches that await any person who goes there. These stories about the New World filled him with awe.
In 1511, Cortes joined the fleet of Diego Velazquez as they conquered Cuba. Because of the important role he played in the conquest of Cuba, he was given lands and slaves. He was eventually rewarded by becoming the alcalde or mayor of Santiago de Cuba. Despite his accomplishments, Cortes was a very ambitious man. Dreaming more wealth, more power, more slaves and more adventures, he wanted to sail to Mexico and sought permission from Diego Velasquez to give him the command to lead the expedition to Mexico. Velasquez, was however very suspicious of the actions and the extreme desire of Cortes. Fearing that Cortes may later on renounce his authority once he gives him permission and he reaches Mexico, Velasquez denied him the authority. Cortez was however adamant. In 1519, he proceeded to Mexico and under his authority were 11 ships, more than 500 soldiers, 100 sailors, 16 horses and artillery.
Other authors say that there are other persons who were more qualified than Cortez to lead the expedition. But he was known for his experience and courage among the Spaniards. Thus, he was able to recruit so much people to join him in search for the New World. Another reason why Cortes was able to recruit people to join him in his expedition is to the opportunity to grab new lands. Years before the expedition to Mexico, Spain conquered Cuba. Some Spaniards who were the first ones to arrive in Cuba were lucky since they were given the best lands. On the other hand, those who arrived late were also given lands but they were not as good as those given to those who first arrived. Moreover, some Spaniards who joined Cortes lived in areas which are poor and overpopulated. For the majority of the Spaniards who joined Cortes they thought that this is a good opportunity for to search for wealth and new land. Thus, they want to be among the first to reach Mexico.
In Mexico, he met Jeronimo de Aguilar, a Franciscan priest who had been shipwrecked since 1511. With the help of de Aguilar, he began his conquest of Mexico and claimed it in the name of Spain.
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