The day the Spanish came to the capital of the Aztec Empire – level 1


It is the year 1519. Men from Spain come to Mexico. They come on ships. Their leader is Hernán Cortés.

Soon after they come, Cortés destroys all the ships. The men can go only inside the land. They are lucky. Some local people help them. They tell them that there is a rich empire inside the land.

It is the Aztec Empire. The Aztecs have gold. The Aztec capital is built in the middle of a big lake. The capital is 400 kilometers from the sea. Cortés wants to go there.

On November 8, 1521, Cortés and his 600 men come to the capital. Cortés is very surprised. The city is very big. The city has 300,000 people. The city is 10 times bigger than the biggest Spanish city.

The Aztec king welcomes all the men. The Spanish can stay in one of his palaces. A week later, Cortés captures the king. The Aztecs are not happy with the situation. They start a big fight. Many people are killed on both sides. The king is killed, too. Cortés has to run away.

Cortés starts to build new ships. When the ships are finished, the Spanish start to blockade the city. The blockade is 80 days long. People in the city are very hungry and sick. Many people die.

On August 13, 1521, Cortés goes to the city and starts to control it. It’s the beginning of the end of the Aztec Empire.

Difficult words: empire (a powerful place usually with a king or a queen), capital (a big city with the government of a country), welcome (to say hello to people who are coming), the Spanish (people from Spain), capture (to catch and keep somebody as a prisoner), blockade (to block the place where people go inside).

What tactics did Cortés use to gain control of the Aztec Empire?


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