9-15-10 History Notes

9-15-10 History Notes - 9/15/2010 History 123 Notes Early...

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9/15/2010 History 123 Notes Early Exploration of the Western Hemisphere Europeans found people living in North and South America and even Latin America as they continued exploring Latin and South America. These natives had prominent empires and civilizations, although not as advanced as the Europeans were used to. The Europeans didn’t care about the native customs/traditions and culture when it came to their conquest of land. The Spanish conquests were privately funded and the leaders of these conquests were called conquistadors. A conquistador’s motivating factors was a “mixing pot” of: o Personal greed o Desire for glory o Crusade for God HERNAN CORTES AND THE AZTEC EMPIRE Hernan Cortes, a Spanish government worker, came from a very wealthy family and made his own fortune working for the king in Cuba. He left Cuba in 1519 to create a settlement/colony in what is now known as mainland Mexico. It was here that he encountered the great Aztec Empire and while living amongst them he learned a great deal about them and how the government worked.
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o The Aztecs built their empire by conquering states/land around them and forcing the people in those states/lands to pay a tribute to the Empire. Cortes then used this system the Aztecs used against them by asking the states that resented the Empire to join him and be a part of his army (creating an army of approx 200,000). The Aztecs knew he was advancing in and instead of arming the military to prepare for battle, the Aztecs “rolled out the welcome mat” as was their tradition to treat guests with honor. In meeting with the Emperor, Montezuma, Cortes took him captive making the loyal citizens angry and ready to fight. Soon Cortes learns of a 2 nd Spanish army seeking to replace Cortes while the Aztecs are preparing for battle and Cortes didn’t like his odds. Cortes thought that the 2 nd Spanish army was more important to deal with first so he took a majority of his troops against his Spanish rival and won. He took the (still living) army from his rival as his own and returned to
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9-15-10 History Notes - 9/15/2010 History 123 Notes Early...

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