The Fall of the Aztec Empire

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The Fall of the Aztec Empire : 

The Fall of the Aztec Empire The Breach of Tenochtitlan

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Centuries of conquest allowed the Aztecs to become the mightiest empire in Central America.

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But when strangers appeared on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, Montezuma, emperor of the Aztecs, was unsure whether they were conquerors or gods.

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Could a vast empire of warriors using obsidian spears and cotton armour hold off mounted invaders armed with metal armour and gunpowder?

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Would the Aztec island-city of Tenochtitlan continue to conquer the Americas, or would it crumble beneath these foreign conquerors?

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The question still remains; with a civilisation so powerful and with an army consisting of several hundred thousand, how did the Aztecs fall from being such a successful empire to being slaughtered by the Spanish conquerors?

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There were many factors which were involved in the fall of the Aztecs; the sacrifices, religion, diseases and tactics by the Spaniards all contributed to the destruction of the empire. Here is the account of events through the eyes of a young Eagle Warrior named Cuauhtémoc, nephew of the emperor Montezuma. He rises through the traditional ranks of military of the Aztecs, becoming an Eagle Warrior, then a Jaguar Warrior and the Emperor himself.

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Just several years before the Spanish landed on the coast of Mexico on the place called Veracruz, the Aztec Empire was at its peak.

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Being one of the most advanced civilisations at the time and with an army consisting of more than two-hundred thousand warriors, the empire covered much of the ground of Mexico.

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However, between 1517 and 1519 the main city of the Aztecs, Tenochtitlan, suffered tremendous earthquakes. Lake Texcoco had flooded the capital city, and many other natural disasters wreaked havoc among the people.

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Many believed that these omens warned of the fall of the Aztec Empire. To repair these damages and make the gods happy again, prisoners were taken from the nearby villages and were sacrificed at the shrines, in the name of the feathered-serpent god, Quetzalcoatl.

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When the Spanish landed in Veracruz on the coast of Central America, they were immediately greeted with gifts, presented to them by messengers from a city called Tenochtitlan.

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Hernan Cortes, the leader of the Spanish exploration of the New World, saw the riches and wealth that the indigenous Americans possessed.

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When he was given these gifts, he was only interested in the gold ornaments, and asked the messengers if there was more.

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After threatening the mere messengers for more of the gold, he eventually killed all of them except for one, to give the news back to Tenochtitlan.

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Cortes, in his determination to conquer the New World himself, burned his very own transport ships, so that the few men he had would co-operate in hiking across the dense jungle and mountains.

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The Aztecs did not know the intentions of the Spaniards and Montezuma believed they were gods of Quetzalcoatl. Even after the mention that the Spanish had defeated a local tribe of Indians and was marching towards Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital city, Montezuma invited Cortes and his men into the city himself.

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When Cortes’ men reached the island city, they were amazed beyond their limits. An artificial city, rising out of the water in the middle of the Lake Texcoco filled with temples and completely decorated with gold, was what Hernando Cortes’ men saw.

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Montezuma greeted him personally and even when Cortes said his name was Hernan, Montezuma was still convinced that he was the feathered serpent, Quetzalcoatl.

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When Cortes saw all the gold and riches the city of Tenochtitlan held, he immediately started taking over the city with his men, terrifying the people with the crackling of cannon and the noises of the horses

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Anybody who went against Cortes was killed immediately, and Montezuma was held prisoner in his very own temple.

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Soon, the Aztecs revolted, and the powerful Jaguar Warriors and the swift Eagle Warriors of the Aztec army drove the Spaniards away from Tenochtitlan and were at peace for a few months.

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In the city of Tenochtitlan the Aztecs were facing a deadly problem. Many of the people had caught a disease from the Spanish, which horribly disfigured the faces and body of the victims.

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This disease was smallpox, and as the Aztecs had never encountered such a disease, many of the people, leaders and the emperor had died, and those who were lucky to survive had to care for the entire city.

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Many of the Aztec warriors had succumbed to deadly smallpox and the more than a quarter of the population of the Aztecs died off.

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The Spanish, having allied with many of the Aztec’s enemies, began a siege on Tenochtitlan. With the powerful cannon and the tremendous power of cavalry, the Aztecs fell under the Spaniards footsteps under sheer army size.

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Even with the renowned Jaguar Warriors who used the best of obsidian spears and swords, the Aztecs failed to keep their status and the city of Tenochtitlan fell into the Spanish hands.

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The Aztecs are known throughout the world, with the city of Tenochtitlan taken by the Spaniards and turned into Mexico City.

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The Aztecs were hit by the wrong circumstances at the wrong time. Plagues of smallpox and other various deadly diseases introduced by the Spanish had huge effects on many of the Aztec people, and the technological advantage that the Spaniards obtained greatly turned the tide in the inevitable war.

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Were the Spaniards to never touch the lands of Central America, the Aztec Empire would have thrived and become an extremely successful civilisation. The Spaniard’s greed for wealth triggered one of the most catastrophic consequences, completely wiping out one of the most successful civilisations ever to be formed in the history of mankind.

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