08_Cortez_upload - The Conquest of Mexico Cortez Cortez...

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The Conquest of The Conquest of Mexico Mexico
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Cortez Cortez BACKGROUND BACKGROUND
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Hernán Cortez was the son of a landed family at a time when landed families were losing influence because of the centralization of power in 15th century Spain. Cortez was born in the western Spanish province of Extremadura in 1485. At 14 he was sent to study law for two years at the University of Salamanca.
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But Hernán Cortez was bored with study. First intending to enlist in the Spanish army, he abandoned that plan to head for the Spanish Indies in 1502. But he was caught by his mistress’ husband saying “goodbye” and nearly died when he fell off the wall trying to escape. When he recovered enough to sail, it was 1504, and he was 19.
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On his arrival in Santo Domingo, he was granted the right to employ Indians as laborers (later called an encomienda ). And, because of his law background was hired by the then governor as the notary. When Diego Velásquez was sent to conquer Cuba in 1511, he was invited to go as clerk of the treasury.
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Because of his work during the conquest of Cuba, when Diego Velásquez was made governor of Cuba, he granted Cortez more Indians and made him his clerk and notary. Cortez was fortunate in that there was some gold where he settled, and he became quite wealthy.
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BACKGROUND BACKGROUND TO CORTEZ TO CORTEZ EXPEDITION EXPEDITION
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Then in 1518, Velásquez’ nephew, Juan de Grijalva, who was on a mission to explore the surrounding area, landed in what is now Veracruz and traded with the locals for gold. When de Grijalva returned, his report was sensational but he personally lacked the nerve to take on an expedition of conquest.
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So, Cortez sold everything an started putting together the expedition. Velásquez wanted private monies to support the expedition, but he became suspicious of Cortez.
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