Hernán Cortés, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs

Book - 2008
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In 1519, Hernán Cortés arrived on the shores of Mexico with a roughshod crew of adventurers and the intent to expand the Spanish empire. Along the way, this brash and roguish conquistador schemed to convert the native inhabitants to Catholicism and carry off a fortune in gold. In Tenochtitlán, the City of Dreams, Cortés met his Aztec counterpart, Montezuma: king, divinity, ruler of a complex and sophisticated civilization with fifteen million people, and commander of the most powerful military machine in the Americas. Yet in less than two years, Cortés defeated the entire Aztec nation in one of the most astonishing military campaigns ever waged. Sometimes outnumbered thousands-to-one, Cortés repeatedly beat seemingly impossible odds. Journalist Levy meticulously researches the mix of cunning, courage, brutality, superstition, and finally disease that enabled Cortés and his men to survive.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, 2008
ISBN: 9780553805383
Branch Call Number: 972.02 L668c 2008
Characteristics: x, 429 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. (chiefly col.), col. map ; 22 cm


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Feb 22, 2013

Captivating scenes--Imagine how different Mexico would be today if Tenochtitlan wasn't razed for a few thousand pounds of metal. Maybe the ancient gilded city and the lakeside gardens that sustained it would still exist in some form and inspire like the quaint little medieval towns of Italy still exist today. Instead we have ruins and a brackish, polluted pond. Gripping narratives--A few heavily armed desperate thugs with a keen leader take down an empire in an epic siege. Insightful comments--The Aztecs may not have been bloodthirsty enough. Warfare for them was about taking prisoners, not killing the enemy on the battlefield. Their tactics may have given the Spanish a crucial advantage.


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