Explorer Hernan Cortes went to Mexico on a quest for wealth and to spread Roman Catholicism by converting the natives into Christians. Although his commission to lead an expedition was rescinded by the governor of Cuba, Diego Velasquez, Cortes disregarded the order and sailed for Mexico in 1519.
After arriving in Veracruz and forging local alliances, Cortes traveled over dangerous territory for the walled city of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital of Mexico. The conquistador, along with his men, were well-received by the Aztec leader, Moctezuma, famously known as Montezuma. The ruler was apprehensive on how to treat his guests, but, bound by custom and superstition, he showered them with expensive gifts. The Spaniards repaid the king's hospitality and kindness by taking him captive and demanding ransom from his subjects.