Hernán Cortés

Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca (Medellín, Crown of Castile, 1485 - Castilleja de la Cuesta, Crown of Castile, December 2, 1547), was a Spanish conquistador who, at the beginning of the 16th century, led the expedition that began the conquest of Mexico that meant the end of the Aztec empire, putting it under the control of the Crown of Castile, creating from it the so-called New Spain.

He was born in the Extremaduran city of Medellín, in a family of minor nobility. He decided to seek his fortune in the New World traveling to Hispaniola and Cuba, where for a short period of time he was mayor of the second city founded by the Spaniards. during the third expedition to the mainland, which he partially financed. His enmity with the governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, caused the trip to be canceled at the last minute, an order that Cortés ignored.

Arriving on the continent, Cortés carried out a successful strategy of allying himself with certain indigenous groups to defeat others. He also used a native woman, Doña Marina (la Malinche), who served as his interpreter and with whom he had a son named Martín. When the governor of Cuba sent emissaries to arrest Cortés, he confronted and defeated them, while enlisting the troops that were going to arrest him as reinforcements for his expedition. Cortés sent several letters to King Carlos I so that his successful conquest would be recognized instead of being penalized for his mutiny. He was eventually granted the title of Marques del Valle de Oaxaca, although the more prestigious title of viceroy was given to a high-ranking aristocrat, Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco. In 1541, Cortés returned to Spain, where he died six years later.

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