In 1519 Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico with an army of a few hundred Conquistadors. Cortes' force included less than two dozen cavalrymen, a few small cannons, and a collective will to find the treasures of this New World. Over the next two years Cortes and his tiny army were able to destroy the mighty Aztec Empire. That statement remains almost surreal even in the modern day, as it is virtually impossible to imagine a more unlikely series events than the tumbling of Aztec hegemony at the hands of such a miniscule force. Of course, Cortes, who has come down through the years in Mexican history as one of the most despised men imaginable, was able to craft alliances with other Native peoples, and their massive contributions to his campaign made the Spanish conquest possible. Yet, as R. Conrad Stein ably depicts in this book of "The Story of Mexico" series, Hernan Cortes' campaign against the vast power of Emperor Montezuma remains one of the most tragically compelling tales in all of military history. In telling this story Stein does a superior job of describing Aztec culture, capturing the brave and utterly cruel nature of the conquistadors, depicting the battle scenes, and ultimately chronicling the demise of a civilization in many ways far more advanced than their conquerors. The destruction of the Aztec way of life and the Spanish conquest continue to shape modern Mexico in fundamental ways. This book goes a long way toward explaining both the history and the legacy of Cortes' violently successful invasion. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
Cortes and the Spanish Conquestby R. Conrad Stein
But in the sixteenth century, Spanish Conquistadors came to the Americas. With little regard for the Indian peoples who populated the New
For hundreds of years, the Aztec empire was the mightiest in Mexico. It was a society of fierce warriors, centralized in the near-impregnable island city of Tenochtitlan, from where the Aztecs ruled over the people of Mexico.
But in the sixteenth century, Spanish Conquistadors came to the Americas. With little regard for the Indian peoples who populated the New World, the Conquistadors sought to expand the Spanish Empire and seek fabulous wealth, even if doing so meant going to war with an entire race of people.
One Conquistador, Hernando Cortes, was determined to conquer and claim the Aztec empire. Leading a small but ruthless army against the mighty soldiers of Tenochtitlan, Cortes recruited the aid of the Indian nations oppressed by the Aztecs and led an unyielding campaign against the Aztecs and their leader, the Emperor Montezuma. The conflict between the two civilizations led to a violent, brutal, and devastating war, but it also led to the creation of modern Mexico and changed the course of history and civilization.
Gr 6 Up
These books provide detailed information in a readable format, and the lively writing style brings the events and people to life. Liberal use of quotes and sidebars give readers a taste of each time period, and colorful reproductions and photographs help to maintain interest. The first title tells the story of Juárez, a Zapotec Indian, and his rise to political leadership. Born into poverty in 1806, he became Mexico's first Indian president, presiding over a country in turmoil. His dream of governing according to the Mexican Constitution was delayed by the French Intervention in 1863 when Napoleon III appointed Maximilian von Hapsburg emperor of Mexico. Juárez continued his program of reform when the French were driven out. Stein includes background information about 19th-century Mexico, discussing its status as a Spanish colony, its struggle for independence, and war with the United States. Cortés identifies the "encounter" between the Spanish and Aztecs as one that "would put the human character itself on trial." The author provides a look at both societies, tracing the Aztecs' rise to power and the Spaniards' interest in exploration. The Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, led by Hernando Cortés, is related in great depth, and the book ends with a discussion of its legacy. Two excellent introductions to Mexican history.
Lana MilesCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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