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How the Spread of Disease Affected the Conquering of the Aztec Native Americans.

English Unit One Project :)
by Mary Ellen Grap on 2 October 2012

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Transcript of How the Spread of Disease Affected the Conquering of the Aztec Native Americans.

The Aztecs were conquered by Cortes in part due to the aggressive European diseases the Aztecs contracted. "How did this small Spanish force of conquistadores manage to conquer such a huge and powerful empire? Their success was the result of several factors: military technology, warfare goals and tactics, epidemic diseases, and the loose structure of the Aztec empire" (Berdan). The spanish brought with them great weapons. They also attacked at a time of political unrest in the Aztec Empire. But their greatest weapon, the one that brought them the great victory, was the diseases they brought to the new world. "The Spanish conquest did not destroy Aztec culture, nor did it wipe out the Aztec people. Rather, the Aztec territory became a colony of the Spanish empire, called "New Spain." While smallpox and other diseases killed millions of Aztecs during the early colonial period, many survived and adjusted to Spanish rule" (Smith). The Aztecs greatly outnumbered the Spanish, but with the weapons the Spanish had and the disease they brought they were able to take down the Aztecs. Hernando Cortes and his men conquering the Aztec Empire The Spaniards rejoiced in their victory of obtaining
the land of the Aztecs but what they did not realize
was that they gave the Natives diseases that effected
them for a long time. Because of Conquistadors, such as Cortes, the natives
suffered for many years.
The empire itself, however thrived under the rule
of Cortes.
"Various trades and occupations were resumed and the city swarmed with a busy, industrious population in which the white men and the indian- conqueror and conquered- mingled together in peace. Weak from sickness but strong in commitment"
( Berler 133). Angry Aztec GRRRRR! Diseases like typhus and smallpox raged through the Native American population as Cortes attempted to conquer the Mexica people. Neither the Natives or the Spaniards understood how the diseases spread or infected other people. In an incredible cycle, Cortes realized his position and seized opportunity after opportunity to control and create new governments, as leaders of Native populations, who normally would turn to the Mexica, became sick and were unable to put up a strong fight anymore. "In fact successive epidemics would take away first 25, 50, and eventually 75 per cent of the population of an entire city-state within a year" (Pohl). Hernando Cortes is welcomed by Montezuma. Both held their suspicions inside, neither realizing how monumental this moment was. Emperor Montezuma was the emperor during the invasion of Hernando Cortes. Hernando invaded the beautiful city of Tenochtitlan with his second in command Pedro de Alvarado. He came from Cuba and in 1519 was welcomed by the emperor who thought him to be a god ("The Americas"). The Aztec City of Tenochtitlan. Tenochtitlan is the city of the Aztecs. It was founded by Tenoch around 1325. "In April 1519, the Spanish captain Hernando Cortes and about 600 men stepped ashore along the eastern coast of Mexico, near the modern city of Veracruz. Although sent to Mexico on an exploratory and trading mission, these men became conquistadores, conquerors of the enormous Aztec empire" (Berdan).
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