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Hernan Cortes Quotes


Hernan Cortes
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Hernando de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano Cortés
  • Born: (circa) 1485, Medellín, Extremadura, Castile
  • Died: 2nd December 1547, Castilleja de la Cuesta, Castile
  • Alma mater: University of Salamanca
  • Occupation: Conquistador and Governor
  • Infamous for: The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire
  • Official posting: 1st and 3rd Governor of New Spain
  • Title: Marquis of the Oaxaca Valley
  • Legacy: He left the blueprint for the bloody Spanish conquest of South America using the divide and conquer tactics he ruthlessly implemented
  • Trivia: His expedition to the Aztec Empire was only authorised for exploration and trade, however the governor of Cuba Diego Valezquez was informed that Cortez was loading his ships with arms required for conquest and was in the process of stopping his ambitious raid but was too late as he had already set sail to seal the fate of the Aztecs and record his date with destiny
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"They have an idol that they petition for victory in war; another for success in their labors; and so for everything in which they seek or desire prosperity, they have their idols, which they honour and serve"

Hernan Cortes

"How can anything good come if we do not return for the honour of God, that is, if we do not immediately fulfill our duty as Christians and civilizers?"

Hernan Cortes

"They undertake nothing without first offering sacrifice there"

Hernan Cortes

"They open their breasts, while they are alive, and take out the hearts and entrails, and burn the said entrails and hearts before the idols, offering that smoke in sacrifice to them"

Hernan Cortes

"Some of us who have seen this say that it is the most terrible and frightful thing to behold that has ever been seen "

Hernan Cortes

"They also begged me to protect them against that mighty Lord, who used violent and tyrannical measures to keep them in subjection, and took from them their sons to be slain and offered as sacrifices to his idols"

Hernan Cortes

"The inhabitants of this province would often caution me not to trust these vassals of Moctezuma for they were traitors, and always acted treacherously and artfully, by which means they had subjugated the whole earth"

Hernan Cortes

"We would recover little if any of the treasure that had been taken from us, and they would force us to destroy them totally. This last caused me the greater sorrow"

Hernan Cortes

"The Tlaxcalans assured me it was all a farce, and that the messengers were people of little standing"

Hernan Cortes

"I should march against them and destroy them as rebels who refused to submit to the government of your Majesty"

Hernan Cortes

"Until then it had been my intention to visit his country as a friend, to see and talk with him, and hold much peaceful intercourse with him"

Hernan Cortes

"Now I should enter his dominions in the guise of war, doing all the injury that was in my power, as an enemy"

Hernan Cortes

"If he was under my control, all the other countries that were subject to him would be more easily brought to the knowledge and service of you're your Majesty"

Hernan Cortes

"When a number of our archers and musketeers arrived, and we discharged the two cannon so as to rake the street, we did them great mischief"

Hernan Cortes

"I and my companions suffer from a disease of the heart which can be cured only with gold"

Hernan Cortes

"I determined, to anticipate their movements, in order to prevent being taken by surprise"

Hernan Cortes

"We made such execution that in two hours more than three thousand of the enemy perished"

Hernan Cortes

"They had given us occasion and compelled us utterly to exterminate them"

Hernan Cortes

"I continued to burn and demolish the towers of their idols and their houses. That they might become more sensible of their situation"

Hernan Cortes

"He travels safest in the dark night who travels lightest"

Hernan Cortes

"Every kingdom divided against itself shall be rendered desolate"

Hernan Cortes

"It is better to die with honour than dishonoured to live"

Hernan Cortes

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Hernán Cortés Biography

Hernán Cortés carved his way into the annals of infamous history with his blood stained hands responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of the people indigenous to the lands of Central America. His ruthlessness was equally matched by his ambition and greed as he took advantage of an exploratory expedition to the Mexican coast to seize the lands by any means necessary and plunder its wealth of gold and minerals under the guise of God, king and country.

He used the age old method of divide and rule to his advantage as he plotted to overthrow the Aztec Empire by first engaging and then allying with their enemies who were determined to extract sweet revenge for the perceived wrongs that had been inflicted upon them by the ruling Aztecs. He first fought with the Tlaxcaltec people and then befriended them as their warriors were brave and he needed a large army to defeat the Aztecs.



Before Cortés marched on the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan he had to strike fear into the Aztec emperor Moctezuma so he attacked the Aztec allies in the holy city of Cholula razing it to the ground and butchering in excess of 6,000 of its warriors in the process. When the Spanish turned their attention to Tenochtitlan they were allowed to enter the city unopposed as their leader Moctezuma believed he had to befriend them to learn more about them and their technology so he could defeat them.

The cunning Cortes soon made Moctezuma a prisoner in his own palace and he became a puppet leader controlled by the occupying Spanish. Cortes had pressing issues as the governor of Cuba Diego Valezquez had sent a force to hunt him down and return him to Cuba. Cortés left to fight and defeat the Valequez force but on his return to Tenochtitlan all was not well as the person he had left in charge Pedro de Alvarado had enraged the locals by executing many of their chiefs.

The Spanish tried to use Moctezuma to quell the unrest but a baying mob stoned him and he died a few days later. Trouble escalated and the Spanish were chased out of the city on 30th June 1520 and in the ensuing battle they lost 600 men which was the largest single loss of Spanish life during the whole conquest. A smallpox epidemic stopped the Aztecs from finishing off and killing Cortes and his Spanish army and this allowed them time to regroup and return to lay siege to the city.

Two months into the siege and the city fell at the cost of over 100,000 Aztecs and only a disproportionate 100 Spanish lives. The Aztec empire had fallen and the city of Tenochtitlan was built over in what is now called Mexico City, the major monuments in Mexico City are of the brave warriors who fought valiantly against the Spanish with statues of Cuitlahuac and Cuauhtémoc but none of Cortes. As a ruthless and manipulative conquistador he was also good for a one liner so this is my compilation of 22 of the best Hernán Cortés quotes

Quotes About Hernán Cortés

Historian Erika Cosme got straight to the point describing him thus: "He was a smart, ambitious man who wanted to appropriate new land for the Spanish crown, convert native inhabitants to Catholicism, and plunder the lands for gold and riches"

An unnamed indigenous witness said of carnage at Tenochtitlan: "They speared and thrust people into shreds. Others were beheaded in one swipe... Others tried to run in vain from the butchery, their innards falling from them and entangling their very feet"

Spanish historian Francisco Lo´pez de Go´mara commented on his amorous nature by saying: "Corte´s was very given to women and always gave into temptation"


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