1520 – Moctezuma II, Tlatoani of the Aztecs, dies

Moctezuma II had the extreme misfortune to be the Tlatoani (ruler or king) of the Aztec Empire at the time when Hernan Cortez and his men landed in Mexico. For a number of reasons – but mostly the technological superiority of the Spaniards – it was under his rule that the Aztec Empire fell to the Spaniards (although Moctezuma and several of his successors were maintained as puppet rulers by the Spanish for a time).

Moctezuma died a broken man, having lost his entire empire in all but name, and fearing for what would become of his people and their culture in the face of the rapacity and missionary fervour of their Spanish conquerors.

Referenced in:

Cortez the Killer — Neil Young

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