1519 – Hernan Cortes lands in Mexico

Hernan Cortes was 34 years old when he led the Spanish Conquistador invasion of Mexico. The initial landing took place on the Yucatan Peninsula, in what was then Maya territory. Cortes’ force was only 500 strong, but they were armed with muskets and cannons, as compared to the arrows and spears used by their opponents.

Although initially peaceful, Cortes’ mission was one of conquest, and would eventually result in the destruction of the Aztec nation and its tributaries, and the Spanish conquest of Mexico.

Referenced in:

Cortez the Killer — Neil Young
Short Memory — Midnight Oil
Monetzuma Was a Man of Faith — Andy Prieboy

1521 – The Aztecs surrender to Cortes

After a war that lasted for nearly two years, the Spanish Conquest of the Aztec Empire was finally completed with the destruction by fire of Tenochlitan, the Empire’s capital (which stood on the site of modern Mexico City). The last of the Aztec Emperors, Cuauhtémoc, surrendered to Cortes and his men.

The Spanish ruthlessly eradicated whatever traces of Aztec culture they found, considering it barbaric and cruel. The religion of the Aztecs was replaced by Christianity, their language of Nahautl by Spanish, and so on. In particular, almost all documents the Aztecs had kept were destroyed, often by Spanish missionaries.

Over the subsequent decades, the Spanish would defeat and destroy the other nations of Mexico: the Tlaxcala (who had been their allies against the Aztecs), the Zapotecs, the Maya and the Mixtecs all fell before the might of Spanish gunfire, although the complete conquest of Mexico would take until 1697 to be completed

Referenced in:

Short Memory – Midnight Oil
Montezuma was a Man of Faith – Andy Prieboy