The day the Spanish came to the capital of the Aztec Empire – level 2
In year 1519, Spanish sailors under their leader Hernán Cortés arrive at the Yucatan Peninsula, today’s Mexico.
Cortés destroys all his ships and begins to conquer the land. Some local people help him and tell him that there is a rich Aztec empire where people have a lot of gold. The Aztec capital is built on water in the middle of a large lake. It’s kilometers from the sea. Cortés wants to go there.
On November 8, 1521, Cortés and his 600 men come to the gates of the capital. Cortés is amazed by the city. It has 300,000 people. The city is 10 times bigger than the biggest Spanish city at that time.
The Aztec ruler Montezuma II welcomes all the men. They can stay in one of his palaces. A week later, Cortés captures the ruler. The Aztecs are not happy with the situation. They start a big fight. Many people are killed on both sides, including the ruler. Cortés has to run away from the city.
Cortés decides to build new ships. When the ships are finished, the Spanish begin to blockade the city. The blockade is 80 days long. People in the city are very hungry and sick. Many of them die.
On August 13, 1521, Cortés goes to the city and becomes the ruler. This is the beginning of the end of the Aztec Empire.
Difficult words: peninsula (a land with water on three sides), conquer (to get control of a country by fighting), amazed (very surprised in a positive way), capture (to catch and keep somebody as a prisoner), blockade (to block the entrance).
What other strategies could Cortés have used to take control of the Aztec Empire?
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