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Hernando Cortés

cortez montezuma capital

Cortés, Hernando (1485–1547), Spanish explorer, conqueror of Mexico. In 1504 he settled in Hispaniola (Santa Domingo) and in 1511 joined the conquest of Cuba, becoming mayor of Santiago. Sent to explore the Yucatan, in 1519 he marched on the Aztecs' capital Tenochtitlán, where Montezuma greeted him as the white god Quetzalcoatl. Cortez took Montezuma prisoner, and the latter was killed in an uprising against the Spaniards. Cortez retreated, but returned in 1521 and conquered the capital, ending the Aztec Empire. He later explored Honduras and lower California.

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