Hernan Cortes first set sail to the New World with 11 ships and 500 men. He was in command of an expedition initially ordered by governor Diego Velazquez de Cuellar in 1518.
Cortes led the military expeditions that brought Mexico under the crown of Spain and ended the Aztec Empire. By the time he set sail for the New World, the governor wanted the mission aborted, but Cortes went anyway and proceeded to conquer the Mexican territory in the name of Spain. He then marched on and destroyed Tenochtitlan. King Charles I of Spain appointed him New Spain's governor in 1522.