Latin American Test terms

Terms in this set (38)

The pre-Columbian Tlaxcalan state developed roughly at the same time as another Nahua people, the Mexica, were building the vast Aztec Empire with its capital at Tenochtitlan. From the 14th century, these two nations were in near constant state of war. However, even though the Aztecs managed to build the largest empire in Mesoamerica, they never did conquer Tlaxcala. By the time, the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, Tlaxcala was an independent enclave nearly completely surrounded by the Aztec Empire. This left Tlaxcala economically isolated, leaving it without goods such as cotton and salt. This and the constant warfare with the Mexica would give the Tlaxcalans reasons to ally with the Spanish. When Hernán Cortés and the Spanish landed on the Veracruz coast, they were greeted by the Totonacas, who were a subject people of the Aztecs and saw the Spanish as a way to free themselves of rule from Tenochtitlan. They allied with the Spanish, and when Cortés decided to go inland to Tenochtitlan, the Totonacas guided them to other subject peoples who would be willing to ally with them, including and especially the Tlaxcalans. However, after entering Tlaxcalan territory, the Spanish were met by a hostile Tlaxcalan force of 30,000. The Tlaxcalans fought the Spanish and their Indian allies in a number of battles, with the Spanish inflicting heavy casualties on the Tlaxcalans despite their superior numbers. The Spaniards' prowess in battle impressed the Tlaxcalan King Xīcohtēncatl Āxāyacatzin, who then not only allowed the Spanish to pass through his territory, but also invited them into the capital city of Tlaxcala. Cortés stayed in the city of Tlaxcala for 20 days and forged an alliance with the Tlaxcalans to bring down Tenochtitlan. Cortes added 6,000 Tlaxcala warriors to this ranks and arrived to Tenochtitlan in November 1519. They were received by Emperor Moctezuma II, who understood the potential danger of a Spanish-Tlaxcalan alliance. Despite initial friendliness, intrigue and siege of the capital followed, with the Aztec backlash sending Cortes' very wounded army limping back to Tlaxcalan territory. The Tlaxcalan king gave the Spanish refuge but promised further assistance in the conquest of Tenochtitlan only under certain conditions including perpetual exemption from tribute of any sort, part of the spoils of war, and control of two provinces that bordered Tlaxcala. Cortés agreed. Cortes and the Tlaxcalans returned to Tenochtitlan in December of 1520. After many battles, including street-by-street fighting in Tenochtitlan itself, the Aztec Empire fell in August 1521.
We know much more about them. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico. Theocratic chiefdoms. Sophisticated Religion. Taino Gods Yucahu - Spirit of cassava and of the sea. Atabey - Goddess of fresh water and fertility. The Taíno were an Arawak people who were one of the major indigenous peoples of the Caribbean. At the time of European contact in the late 15th century, they were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (presently Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and Puerto Rico in the Greater Antilles, the northern Lesser Antilles, and the Bahamas, where they were known as the Lucayans. They spoke the Taíno language, one of the Arawakan languages.
The Taíno were historically enemies of the neighboring Carib tribes, another group with origins in South America, who lived principally in the Lesser Antilles. The relationship between the two groups has been the subject of much study. For much of the 15th century, the Taíno tribe was being driven to the northeast in the Caribbean (out of what is now South America) because of raids by the Carib. Women were taken as captives, resulting in many Carib women speaking Taíno. The Spaniards, who first arrived in the Bahamas, Cuba, and Hispaniola in 1492, and later in Puerto Rico, did not bring women in the first expeditions. They took Taíno women for their common-law wives, resulting in mestizo children. Sexual violence in Haiti with the Taíno women by the Spanish was also common. Scholars suggest there was substantial mestizaje (racial and cultural mixing) in Cuba, as well, and several Indian pueblos survived into the 19th century. The Taíno became extinct as a culture following settlement by Spanish colonists, primarily due to infectious diseases to which they had no immunity. The first recorded smallpox outbreak in Hispaniola occurred in December 1518 or January 1519. The 1518 smallpox epidemic killed 90% of the natives who had not already perished. Warfare and harsh enslavement by the colonists had also caused many deaths. By 1548, the native population had declined to fewer than 500.
Sailed to Mexico on Feb 18, 1519 with: 600 men, 16 horses and 14 cannons.
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca 1485 - December 2, 1547) was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century. Cortés was part of the generation of Spanish colonizers that began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas.

Born in Medellín, Spain, to a family of lesser nobility, Cortés chose to pursue a livelihood in the New World. He went to Hispaniola and later to Cuba, where he received an encomienda and, for a short time, became alcalde (magistrate) of the second Spanish town founded on the island. In 1519, he was elected captain of the third expedition to the mainland, an expedition which he partly funded. His enmity with the Governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, resulted in the recall of the expedition at the last moment, an order which Cortés ignored.

Arriving on the continent, Cortés executed a successful strategy of allying with some indigenous people against others. He also used a native woman, Doña Marina, as an interpreter; she would later bear Cortés a son. When the Governor of Cuba sent emissaries to arrest Cortés, he fought them and won, using the extra troops as reinforcements. Cortés wrote letters directly to the king asking to be acknowledged for his successes instead of punished for mutiny. After he overthrew the Aztec Empire, Cortés was awarded the title of Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca, while the more prestigious title of Viceroy was given to a high-ranking nobleman, Antonio de Mendoza. In 1541 Cortés returned to Spain, where he died peacefully but embittered, six years later.
Tenochtitlan was the capital city of the Mexican civilization, consisting of the Mexica people, founded in 1325. The state religion of the Mexica civilization awaited the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy: that the wandering tribes would find the destined site for a great city whose location would be signaled by an Eagle eating a snake while perched atop a cactus. The Aztecs saw this vision on what was then a small swampy island in Lake Texcoco, a vision that is now immortalized in Mexico's coat of arms and on the Mexican flag. Not deterred by the unfavourable terrain, they set about building their city, using the chinampa system (misnamed as "floating gardens") for agriculture and to dry and expand the island.

A thriving culture developed, and the Mexica civilization came to dominate other tribes all around Mexico. The small natural island was perpetually enlarged as Tenochtitlan grew to become the largest and most powerful city in Mesoamerica. Commercial routes were developed that brought goods from places as far as the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Ocean and perhaps even the Inca Empire.

After a flood of Lake Texcoco, the city was rebuilt under the rule of Ahuitzotl in a style that made it one of the grandest ever in Mesoamerica.

Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés arrived in Tenochtitlan on November 8, 1519. With an estimated population between 200,000 and 300,000, many scholars believe Tenochtitlan to have been among the largest city in the world at that time. Compared to Europe, only Paris, Venice and Constantinople might have rivaled it. It was five times the size of the contemporary London of Henry VIII. In a letter to the Spanish king, Cortés wrote that Tenochtitlan was as large as Seville or Córdoba. Cortes' men were in awe at the sight of the splendid city and many wondered if they were in a dream.

Although some popular sources put the number as high as 350,000, the most common estimates of the population are of over 200,000 people. One of the few comprehensive academic surveys of Mesoamerican city and town sizes arrived at a population of 212,500 living on 13.5 km2 (5.2 sq mi), It is also said that at one time, Moctezuma had rule over an empire of almost five million people in central and southern Mexico because he had extended his rule to surrounding territories to gain tribute and prisoners to sacrifice to the gods.
The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire was one of the most significant events in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. The conquest must be understood within the context of Spanish patterns on the Iberian Peninsula during the Reconquista by Christians, defeating the Muslims, and also patterns extended in the Caribbean following Christopher Columbus establishment of permanent European settlement in the Caribbean. The Spanish authorized expeditions or entradas for the discovery, conquest, and colonization of new territory, using existing Spanish settlements as a base. Many of those on the Cortés expedition of 1519 had never seen combat before. In fact, Cortés had never commanded men in battle before. However, there was a whole generation of Spaniards who participated in expeditions in the Caribbean, learning strategy and tactics of successful enterprises. The Spanish conquest of Mexico had antecedents.

The campaign began in February 1519, and was declared victorious on August 13, 1521, when a coalition army of Spanish forces and native Tlaxcalan warriors led by Hernán Cortés and Xicotencatl the Younger captured the emperor Cuauhtemoc and Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire.

During the campaign, Cortés was offered support from a number of tributaries and rivals of the Aztecs, including the Totonacs, and the Tlaxcaltecas, Texcocans, and other city-states particularly bordering Lake Texcoco. In their advance, the allies were tricked and ambushed several times by the peoples they encountered. After eight months of battles and negotiations, which overcame the diplomatic resistance of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II to his visit, Cortés arrived in Tenochtitlan on November 8, 1519, where he took up residence welcomed by Moctezuma. When news reached Cortés of the death of several of his men during the Aztec attack on the Totonacs in Veracruz, he took the opportunity to take Moctezuma captive in his own palace and ruled through him for months. Capturing the cacique or indigenous ruler was standard operating procedure for Spaniards in their expansion in the Caribbean, so capturing Moctezuma had considerable precedent, which might well have included those in Spain during the Christian reconquest of territory held by Muslims.

When Cortés left Tenochtitlan to return to the coast and deal with the expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez, Pedro de Alvarado was left in charge. Alvarado allowed a significant Aztec feast to be celebrated in Tenochtitlan and on the pattern of the earlier massacre in Cholula, closed off the square and massacred the celebrating Aztec noblemen. The biography of Cortés by Francisco López de Gómara contains a description of the massacre. The Alvarado massacre at the Main Temple of Tenochtitlan precipitated rebellion by the population of the city. When the captured emperor Moctezuma II, now seen as a mere puppet of the invading Spaniards, attempted to calm outraged Aztecs, he was killed by a projectile. Cortés, who by then had returned to Tenochtitlan, and his men had to fight their way out of the capital city during the Noche Triste in June, 1520. However, the Spanish and Tlaxcalans would return with reinforcements and a siege that led to the fall of Tenochtitlan a year later on August 13, 1521.

The fall of the Aztec Empire was the key event in the formation of New Spain, which would later be known as Mexico.