Hernán Cortés

The Spanish explorers played a big part in the discovery of the new world, and so today, I’m going to be telling you about a Spanish Conquistador/explorer named Hernán Cortés.

Cortés was born in 1485, in the Spanish Province of Castile.  When he was 14, he was sent to study Latin in a school.  He was a mischievous, restless, and sickly boy.  He had heard about other explorers and their discoveries, and so by the time he was 16, Cortés had made up his mind that he was going to be an explorer.

Cortés first exploration was to Cuba in 1504, when he was 19 years old.  Once he got to Cuba, Cortés worked for the Civil Government for a few years and then decided that he wanted to lead an exploration to Mexico. The 11 ships and 500 men were ready for the voyage, but then Cortés got the orders to cancel the trip.   He was a headstrong man, so he sailed anyway.  Once in Mexico, he and his crew met many friendly and hospitable natives, but they met unfriendly and hostile folks too.  Sometimes they even had to fight and kill them to save their own lives.  Cortés then decided that he was going to try to conquer the whole Aztec empire for Spain.

The people in the Aztec city-states pretended to like their emperor, but really, they hated him.  When they heard that Cortés was trying to overthrow the emperor, they rallied behind him immediately.  By the time Cortés and his new allies got to the capital, they were a few thousand strong.

The Emperor was killed by his own people, and by the year 1521, Cortés was in total control.  He was even appointed as the Governor of  “New Spain”.  After he became governor, he explored Honduras and part of California.  On his way home from California in 1547, Hernán Cortés died.  He was a respected governor, but unfortunately, most of the governors after him were cruel and mean.


One thought on “Hernán Cortés

  1. Odessa, isn’t history fascinating? Some things stay the same and some things change a lot. Elijah is 19, I think. Can you imagine him sailing a ship from Europe to the Americas? I remember studying Cortes when I was in school. I thought he was a very interesting explorer.


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