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Chapter 10: A Deadly Meeting

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1 Chapter 10: A Deadly Meeting
Social Studies 8: Unit 2 Chapter 10: A Deadly Meeting

2 The Meeting In 1519, Cortés and his crew met with the Aztecs for the first time. The Aztecs had been investigating reports of “mysterious strangers in nearby territories. . . Men in odd clothing and sailing boats as big as mountains.” In the end, Moctezuma sent a small group of Aztecs to greet the strangers and to give them gifts—why do you think they did this?

3 Cortés, the Conquistador
Hernán Cortés grew up in Spain during a period of great change. The defeat of the Muslims and the Inquisition had produced political and religious unity in Spain. Cortés believed that these changes made Spain a better place in which to live.

4 Cortés, the Conquistador
Cortés liked adventure and was ambitious. He decided to go to the “New World” in search of gold and glory. He represented the Spanish worldview in his desire to explore the “New World”, which led to his meeting and eventually conquering the Aztec peoples.

5 Tenochtitlan—A Strategic Position
Look at the map on page 217 and locate Tenochtitlan. Tenochtitlan had a good strategic position. It was centrally located in Mexico, it wasn’t far from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico (where the Caribbean Islands were located), and it was close to the settlement of Veracruz. All these factors made it a desirable site for the Spanish to conquer.

6 The Caribbean Cortés believed that the Caribbean would be a good place to make his fortune, as he had heard that gold was plentiful there. When he arrived on the island of Hispaniola in 1504, the governor gave him a large farm. He was unhappy with the offer, as he “came to get gold, not to till the land like a peasant.” Cortés would not be satisfied until he had found his gold…and his glory.

7 Conquering Areas Later, Cortés was asked to join an expedition to conquer Cuba, an island just west of Hispaniola. Cortés eagerly accepted. With just 300 men, the Spanish conquered Cuba using their Conquistadors’ Formula. This formula was the reason behind the Conquistadors’ success.

8 The Conquistadors’ Formula
A. An expedition would set out from a recent colony. B. After landing in a new region, the Spanish would try to meet peacefully with the first groups of Indigenous (First Nations) people they encountered. This was to see which group in the area was most powerful.

9 The Conquistadors’ Formula
C. The Spanish would invite the leader of that powerful group to a meeting to exchange gifts. Then the Spanish would seize the leader and threaten to kill him unless his followers obeyed his orders. D. If they did have to fight, the Spanish would try to do so on open ground. Their horses, armour, and weapons gave them a huge advantage.

10 The Conquistadors’ Formula
E. The leader of the expedition would remain as governor of the new colony, and his second-in-command would organize the next expedition. The Indigenous peoples would be forced into slavery.

11 Heroes Read the story of Roméo Dallaire on page Why is he described as a hero? What do you think makes a hero?

12 Images of Cortés Look at the two images of Cortés on page How is he portrayed in the paintings and why do you think he is portrayed that way?

13 By Christoph Weiditz (1529)

14 By Diego Rivera (1951)

15 Cause and Effect A cause is an incident or series of incidents that lead to something else. An effect is the result or consequence of one or more causes.

16 Cause and Effect: Cortés and the Aztecs
A desire for gold and glory. Wanting to build the Spanish empire. Spreading Christianity (Can you think of more?) EFFECT Leaving homeland in search of new areas to conquer. Risking lives in conflicts (people die). Fighting deadly wars (destroying civilizations) (Can you think of more?)

17 Cortés grows Restless Cortés remained in Cuba, second in command to Governor Velázquez. After 8 years, he grew restless again. He wanted to learn more about the Yucatan Peninsula, a large landmass to the west of Cuba. Velázquez sent out two expeditions to this area, which brought back reports that caused great excitement.

18 Cortés grows Restless It seemed that there was a civilization in this new land that was stronger, more advanced, and wealthier than any group of people the Spanish had yet encountered. This was the opportunity Cortés had been waiting for—a chance to conquer a strong, advanced, and wealthy society and to gain from their wealth.

19 Cortés’ New Expedition
Cortés got Velázquez to help finance an expedition to the Yucatan. Cortés scoured Cuba for experienced soldiers and used loans to buy ships. In a few months, he had 11 ships, 508 soldiers, 100 sailors, 200 Indigenous slaves, and 16 horses for the expedition.

20 Cortés’ New Expedition
Before leaving the harbour in Cuba, Cortés stood on a packing crate and made a speech to his forces. In his speech, he indicated his main reasons for the expedition: Taking vast and wealthy lands. Waging war on the people there. Gaining fame, glory, and wealth from their deeds.

21 Velázquez Grows Suspicious
However, just as Cortés was setting sail, Velázquez arrived and tried to cancel the expedition! He was worried that Cortés would get all the glory for his discoveries and not recognize his authority over the new lands Cortés might conquer. Cortés ignored the governor and continued on his way.

22 Cortés Arrives in Mexico
It turns out that Velázquez was right to be concerned. Before going inland to the Aztec Empire, Cortés established a town (Veracruz) on the coast of Mexico and declared an independent government. This meant that he was now responsible to King Carlos I, not Velázquez.

23 Cortés Arrives in Mexico
Cortés sent one ship to Spain with all the treasure he had collected so far, and then sank the other ten ships! This action made it impossible for any soldiers loyal to Velázquez to defect from this expedition and to return to Cuba. They were forced to continue with Cortés to find the Aztecs.

24 An Unequal Fight Both the Spanish and the Aztecs had powerful tools of war, but they weren’t evenly matched.

25 An Unequal Fight War Club (Aztecs)
A war club could cut like a knife, but shattered against armour. Designed for swinging and chopping, but was so heavy that a soldier had to use two hands to hold it. Sword (Spanish) Steel swords were double-edged, needle pointed, and sharp as a razor. 1 metre long. A fighter could both slash and stab at enemy with deadly effect. Lightweight, so could be held only in one hand—other hand free to carry shield or hold reins of horse.

26 An Unequal Fight

27 An Unequal Fight Wooden Spear (Aztec)
Spear ends were sharpened wood hardened in fire. Aztecs would try to get in close to enemy and thrust the spears at unprotected areas, such as eyes and throat. Halberd (Spanish) A halberd was over two metres long and had a spear blade, an axe point, and a hook.

28 An Unequal Fight

29 An Unequal Fight Atlatl (Aztecs)
A piece of jointed wood that allowed an Aztec soldier to throw a short spear great distances, with much more force than using his arm alone. Aztecs also had bows and arrows, and slings. Crossbow (Spanish) A crossbow could shoot a wooden arrow with such force that it could penetrate (go through) even the thickest armour.

30 An Unequal Fight

31 Muskets and Cannons The Spanish also brought with them some other kinds of weapon that took the Aztecs completely by surprise: muskets and cannons. Muskets were long, rifle-like guns that were fired by the shoulder. These firearms were common in Europe, but completely unknown in Mexico.

32 Muskets and Cannons When the Aztecs first heard the muskets and cannons go off, they thought it was thunder and lightning!

33 Displays of Power After he got news of the Spanish landing, Moctezuma sent ambassadors to their camp to find out what they wanted. Cortés ordered his men to fire their weapons before the ambassadors left. They showed off their weapons in order to show their dominance in weaponry and technology, and to send a message to Moctezuma that a powerful group had landed. Cortés hoped to gain an early advantage through showing off his weapons.

34 Displays of Power Read the “Voices” section on page 225 labeled “Nuclear Weapons.” By using superior technology in a war, one side can win quickly over the other side. Also, the winning side gets to keep or spread its beliefs and values—in other words, its worldview. How does this explain why one side in a war might be willing to use powerful or devastating weapons? What do you think?

35 The Horse as a Weapon The third military advantage the Spanish had over the Aztecs was the horses they brought with them. Because the Aztecs and other Indigenous peoples had never seen horses, Cortés was able to use the animals to his advantage. The horses’ size, power, and speed fascinated the Aztecs.

36 The Horse as a Weapon As well, the Spanish were such well-trained riders that they could hold the reins with one hand and attack an enemy with a weapon using the other hand. The Aztecs, on foot, could not compete.

37 The Role of Disease In the conflict between the Aztecs and the Spanish, disease gave the Spanish an advantage. At a critical point in the conflict, a smallpox epidemic broke out in Tenochtitlan, killing large numbers of Aztecs and weakening their ability to resist the Spanish assault.

38 The Role of Disease Though no one knows for sure, it is thought that a Spanish slave brought smallpox to Mexico. The Aztecs were so affected by smallpox because they had never been exposed to the disease before, and therefore had no immunity to it. As so many Aztecs fell victim to the disease, it cleared the way toward Spanish domination of the Aztec people.

39 The Aztec Smallpox Epidemic

40 Pandemics Today Read the “Fast Forward” on page 228 to learn about pandemic awareness in our modern world.

41 The Aztecs and The Spanish: Similarities
The two groups had a LOT in common: Both were warlike groups. Both were focused on trading and mercantile. Both were avaricious (greedy), and quick to resort to force to get what they wanted. Both believed they had a divine mission to rule the world!

42 Cortés’ Strategy We have learned that the Aztecs focused on dominating and conquering other groups in the area. They forced the conquered groups to pay tribute (money and goods). The Aztecs also engaged in “flower wars” with their neighbours, which were ritual battles aimed at getting victims for sacrifice.

43 Cortés’ Strategy After establishing his colony on the coast, Cortés knew he needed to either conquer or befriend the Aztecs’ neighbours. Cortés knew that he could use the Aztecs’ neighbours (and their negative feelings toward the Aztecs) to his advantage. They would help him to conquer the Aztecs.

44 Malinche When Cortés’ group defeated the Tabascan people, Cortés was given food, clothing, gold, and slaves. One slave was a young woman named Malinche. She was originally from a noble family, and sold into slavery when her father died. She would give Cortés the key he needed to overcome the Aztecs.

45 Malinche Malinche acted as an intermediary (a link between Cortés and Moctezuma). She could speak Nahuatl, the language of the Aztec people. In a short time, she learned to speak Spanish and converted to Christianity. She became Cortés’ advisor and spy, and without her help, he would not have succeeded against the Aztecs.

46 The March to Tenochtitlan
Cortés continued on his march to Tenochtitlan. Each group he met viewed the arrival of the Spanish differently, so Cortés was forced to constantly adapt his strategy. See the map on page 230 for Cortés’ route to Tenochtitlan.

47 The Totonacs These people invited Cortés to their capital city, Zempoala. They complained about the tribute the Aztecs collected. Cortés agreed to give them protection from the Aztecs in exchange for some of their warriors.

48 The Totonacs

49 The Tlaxcalans (Tlahsh-CALL-lahns)
This group fought the Spanish, but the Spanish soldiers held them off and offered to make peace. The Tlaxcalans agreed, and added 1000 of their own soldiers to the Spanish forces.

50 The Tlaxcalans Welcome the Spaniards

51 The Cholulans (choh-LOO-lahns)
This group were loyal allies of the Aztecs. Malinche overheard a conspiracy to attack the Spanish and she alerted Cortés. As a result, the Spanish conquered the Cholulan people and they were unable to warn the Aztecs.

52 The Cholulans

53 Moctezuma’s Strategy Moctezuma chose not to attack the Spanish right away. Instead, he chose to sit back and wait—in order to see what they were planning to do. As the Spanish drew closer to Tenochtitlan, he waited and thought about what to do.

54 Moctezuma’s Decision Moctezuma allowed Cortés to enter Tenochtitlan, exchanged gifts with him, and welcomed him with a speech. Cortés replied that his group were peaceful. Cortés and his forces were taken to live in the palace of Moctezuma’s late father, then were shown the glories of the city.

55 Moctezuma and Cortés

56 Welcoming Cortés

57 Gold! The Spanish were impressed by the great city, but they were amazed by the giant market. At the market, they saw more golden treasures, which made them very excited. This wealth and the desire to lead this great society finally caused Cortés to attack.

58 The Attack Begins The Spanish placed Moctezuma under house arrest in his palace. They looted gold from the royal palaces and melted it down. They then forced Moctezuma to make himself a subject of Spanish rule.

59 The Return of Velázquez
During the first attack, news came to Cortés that more Spanish troops had arrived on the coast. Their goal was to arrest Cortés in the name of Governor Velázquez. Cortés left Tenochtitlan to deal with this threat, leaving Pedro de Alvarado in charge.

60 Pedro de Alvarado Alvarado gave the Aztecs permission to hold a festival. However, at the festival he had his troops kill all the dancers. Why do you think he did this?

61 Cortés and Velázquez Cortés defeated Velázquez’s forces, and convinced them to join him in the fight against the Aztecs. When Cortés returned, Tenochtitlan was in an uproar.

62 Moctezuma’s Fate Later, Moctezuma was forced to speak to his people to calm them, but they threw stones at their emperor. Moctezuma died shortly afterwards, either from injuries sustained from being hit by stones, or by being strangled by the Spanish.

63 A Small Glimmer of Hope The Aztecs had time to prepare for Cortés’ return, and they made the most of it. They attacked the Spanish and their allies, killed many of them, and drove the rest out of Tenochtitlan.

64 The Final Battle Cortés returned and attacked Tenochtitlan with a stronger force about six months later. The smallpox epidemic had killed off about 25% of the Aztec population. The Spanish cut the aqueducts to the city, and after a siege of about 80 days the Aztecs were defeated.

65 The Final Battle The Spanish tore down the city of Tenochtitlan as they captured it, preparing to build a new city of their own. Only 60,000 Aztecs survived in the city, which lay in ruins around them. The Aztec Empire had ceased to exist. In its place, Cortés would lay the foundations of another Spanish colony.

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