The Conquest of Mexico, 1519–1521
CHAPTER 2 CONSIDERS THE SINGLE GREATEST EVENT in Mexican history-the conquest of Mexico by a small number of Spaniards. The chapter first describes the Spanish fleets which left Cuba in 1517 and 1518 to reconnoiter the coast of Mexico. Then it tells of Hernán Cortés assembling a much larger expedition in Cuba and landing on Mexican soil. The narrative then follows Cortés’s group as it marches inland after having formed alliances with various indigenous groups. Following that is a description of his reception by the Aztecs in Tenochtitlan (today’s Mexico City), his subsequent combat with them, and his final victory. The chapter concludes with a discussion of why Cortés’s small expedition and its indigenous allies triumphed over the numerically superior Aztecs.