From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2010)
This name uses Spanish naming customs. The first or paternal family name is "Cortés de Monroy" and thesecond or maternal family name is "Pizarro".
Hernán Cortés in a contemporary rendition
Died December 2, 1547 (aged 61–62)
Castilleja de la Cuesta, Castile
Known for Conquest of the Aztec Empire
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca (Spanishpronunciation: [erˈnaŋ korˈtes]; 1485 – December 2, 1547) was a Spanish conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century. Cortés was part of the generation of Spanish colonizers that began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas.
Born in Medellín, Spain, toa family of lesser nobility, Cortés chose to pursue a livelihood in the New World. He went to Hispaniola and later to Cuba, where he received an encomienda and, for a short time, became alcalde (magistrate) of the second Spanish town founded on the island. In 1519, he was elected captain of the third expedition to the mainland, an expedition which he partly funded. His enmity with the Governor ofCuba, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, resulted in the recall of the expedition at the last moment, an order which Cortés ignored. Arriving on the continent, Cortés executed a successful strategy of allying with some indigenous peoples against others. He also used a native woman, Doña Marina, as an interpreter; she would later bear Cortés a son. When the Governor of Cuba sent emissaries to arrestCortés, he fought them and won, using the extra troops as reinforcements. Cortés wrote letters directly to the king asking to be acknowledged for his successes instead of punished for mutiny. After he overthrew the Aztec Empire, Cortés was awarded the title of Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca, while the more prestigious title of Viceroy was given to a high-ranking nobleman, Antonio de Mendoza. Cortésreturned to Spain in 1541 where he died peacefully but embittered six years later.
Because of the controversial undertakings of Cortés and the scarcity of reliable sources of information about him, it has become difficult to assert anything definitive about his personality and motivations. Early lionizing of the conquistadors did not encourage deep examination of Cortés. Later reconsideration of theconquistadors' character in the context of modern anti-colonial sentiment also did little to expand understanding of Cortés as an individual. As a result of these historical trends, descriptions of Cortés tend to be simplistic, and either damning or idealizing.
2 Early life
3 Departure for the New World
3.2 In Cuba
4 Conquest of Mexico
5 Appointment togovernorship of Mexico and internal dissensions
5.1 First return to Spain (1528)
5.2 Return to Mexico
6 Later life and death
6.1 Second return to Spain
6.2 Expedition against Algiers
6.3 Last years and legacy
8 Disputed interpretation of his life
8.1 Representations in México
9 Writings - The Cartas de Relación
10 References in modern culture
12 See also
14 Related reading
14.1 Primary sources
14.2 Secondary sources
15 External links
See also: Spanish naming customs
While he is often now referred to as Hernán or Hernando Cortez (IPA: [korˈteθ]), in his time he called himself Hernando or Fernando Cortés ([korˈtes]). The names Hernán, Hernando and Fernando are all equally correct. The latter two were most commonly used during...