The Aztec Empire Essay

1237 words - 5 pages

Who were the Aztecs? Why were they considered to be an empire even greater than the Romans? And how was Hernan Cortes able to defeat them? These are some of the questions that people ask about these indigenous people. These people are known as the Aztecs but originally called themselves Mexica. They came to Mexico in the early thirteenth century and from there they started to develop a social structure and government consisting of priests, kings, peasants, and soldiers. Besides having a very organized society the Aztecs had a very large and intimidating army consisting of full time soldiers and peasants. By 1427 A.D. the Aztec empire became the dominant group and controlled most of central Mexico. Considering how advanced and large the Aztec culture and society were makes me believe that they were aware of other people outside of their civilization. A clear example would be that they knew of neighboring tribes other than their own that they went to war with and conquered. Although I do believe that the Aztecs were caught off guard and even amazed when they saw the light skinned Spaniards. I also believe that Cortes wasn’t the first outsider to make contact with the Aztecs but I do believe he was the first light skinned person to make contact with them because of Moctezumas reaction to Cortes description. Hernan Cortes was a Spanish conquistador who defeated the Aztecs with less than 1000 soldiers and a handful of horses. Some reasons that have to do with the Aztecs fall from power are the Prophecy of Quetzalcoatle, their Emperor Moctezuma, enemy tribes, disadvantages in technology, their omens, disease, and lastly their warfare rituals.
The first reason and most important reason that I believe the Aztecs were defeated by the Spaniards is that they were at an extreme technological disadvantage when fighting them. The reason being was that the Aztecs had no iron or steel to make weapons with and the Spaniards did. They had cannons to bring down the Aztec homes and temples, they had swords that easily cut through Aztec spears, but what I think gave the Spaniards such a great advantage was the armor they wore and the horses they rode on. The reason being that wearing armor would make killing the Spaniards that much harder and being mounted on a horse only made them more intimidating in the eyes of the Aztecs as well as giving them the fighting advantage.
The second reason that the Aztecs fell to the Spaniards is just as important as the first and it’s the Indian tribes that assisted the Spaniards in finding and defeating the Aztecs. Although there were a few Indian tribes that became allies and assisted the Spaniards it was the Cempoala Indian tribe that helped them set up a base on a shore of a village that Cortes named Vera Cruz when he claimed it in the name of Spain. It was at this base that supplies could come in with less danger to the Spaniards and also it was the same shore where Cortes burned his ships in order to keep his men from...

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