What Are Some Facts About Hernando Cortes?

Hernando Cortes was a Spanish conqueror and explorer commonly known for his defeat of the Aztec people in the Americas. He did not treat the Aztec people in a kind manner and exploited them for vast amounts of wealth.

Hernando Cortes studied at the University of Salamanca in Spain before he turned his attention and interests towards that of exploring. His first voyage began in 1504 with the destination of Hispaniola, which would later become known as the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The commander of the ship he traveled on was an ambitious man named Alonso Quintero. Cortes settled in a town called Azua, where he was given land and was involved in military operations centered around conflicts with the natives. He left Azua in 1511 with Diego Velazquez on a voyage to Cuba, where he worked with the government, becoming the mayor of Santiago.

In 1518, he was scheduled to lead a voyage of his own to Mexico, but the voyage was called off. Defying his orders, he took an expedition of 500 men and 11 ships to Mexico, where he came into contact with the native Aztec people. Desiring their large amounts of treasure, he marched into their lands with the intent to pillage, but he was delayed by Spanish troops that confronted him for disobeying his orders. He was forced to leave Mexico, but he came back in 1521 and defeated the Aztecs prior to being appointed New Governor of Spain upon his return to his homeland.