Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes first sailed from Seville, Spain (formerly the country of Sevilla) to Santo Domingo in 1504. From there, Cortes travelled to Cuba and Mexico, and then from Mexico to capital of the Aztec Empire, Tenochtitlan in Veracruz. Mexico City, Mexico, is built on the remains of that city. After defeating the Aztecs, Cortes travelled to San Pedro, but returned to Seville after being banished. He discovered Baja, California in 1533.
Cortes is most well-known as the Spanish conquistador that claimed Mexico for Spain between 1519 and 1520. He took 11 ships from Cuba to Mexico, arriving in 1519. His route included the states of Veracruz, Tlaxcala, Puebla and Mexico. Cortes and his men were able to overthrow the Aztecs with a combination of superior weaponry, assisting Native American tribes and disease. His forces conquered an estimated five million Aztecs. Cortes himself killed the Aztec emperor Montezuma before claiming Tenochtitlan for Spain, and became governor of New Spain. He returned to Spain after falling from favor with the royals of the colony.
Under the command of Diego Valazquez, Cortes aided in the establishment of the town Bayamo in Cuba in 1513. 1514 was a year of growth, founding the towns of Trinidad, SantoEspiritu, Puerto Principe, and Santiago de Cuba. Cortes established La Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz after arriving in Mexico as a fully fledged commander.