Hernan Cortes – Spanish conquistador
Hernan Cortes was a Spanish conquistador, who conquered the great Aztec Empire in 1521. Thanks to him, in the 1520s people in Europe began to use vanilla and chocolate.
Fernando Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano was born in 1485 in Medellin, Spain. For two years he studied at the University of Salamanca, but chose a military career. At age 19 he sailed for the island of Hispaniola in the West Indies.
In 1510-1514 he participated in an expedition under the command of Diego de Velazquez to conquer Cuba. Cortes became mayor of Santiago, the capital.
On November 8, 1519, Cortes marched into the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City). The Aztec emperor Montezuma II welcomed Cortes because he thought he was a god of Aztec legend. Cortes quickly seized power. In 1522-1526 he was a captain-general of the newly formed colony, but because of the fierce struggle for power he returned to Europe in 1528.