The Secret Weapon of Hernan Cortes Conqueror of Mesoamerica

Most people have no idea what Mesoamerica is all about and know even less of the great Empires of ancient America that reigned supreme long ago such as the mighty Aztec Empire. When it comes to a famous name like Hernan Cortes, they are completely lost.

Very interesting is the story that connects the three and that is what we will read about in this educative but fascinating article.
The Secret Weapon of Hernan Cortes Conqueror of Mesoamerica

Mesoamerica and the Mesoamerican Civilizations

Mesoamerica is the historical name used in reference to the many different ancient civilizations that were linked by similar cultural and traditional characteristics within the geographic region that encompasses the modern-day Latin American nations of Mexico and those of subcontinent of Central America – namely Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.

In particular, these civilizations are referred to as the Mesoamerican civilizations.

The Secret Weapon of Hernan Cortes Conqueror of Mesoamerica

The Secret Weapon of Hernan Cortes Conqueror of Mesoamerica


The Secret Weapon of Hernan Cortes Conqueror of Mesoamerica

The Aztec Empire

As pointed out just above, this vast intercontinental region was the location of several mighty civilizations of Ancient times. Civilizations that thrived richly for thousands of years even before the first European explorer ever set foot in the New World.

The Secret Weapon of Hernan Cortes Conqueror of Mesoamerica

These civilizations existed as individual city-states but around the mid-14th century, four of the most powerful of these city-states came together to form an alliance that became the largest and most powerful force to be reckoned with in Mesoamerica. That force was known as the Aztec Empire and it was located in what is today the North American nation of Mexico. Its capital, Mexico City.

But Where did this Nation get its name?

The ancient people of the Aztec Empire called themselves Mexica or Mexico as you know the nation today. They built mighty temples and palaces of stone, excellent homes and roads. Studied advanced sciences such as astronomy and mathematics. Created amazing artwork and jewels from an endless supply of gold, silver, and other precious stones gotten from the rich mines in the region.

The Secret Weapon of Hernan Cortes Conqueror of Mesoamerica

Other Empires of the Mesoamerican Civilization

The Aztec Empire was the major empire in Mesoamerica but not the only one, though. There were others, namely the ancient Olmec and Maya Empire, both of which were rich and advanced too, building spectacular structures and piling up vast wealth in gold, silver, and jewels. The thing to note here is that these civilizations and empires, though different, all had a very similar culture, hence the region in which they were located was specifically called Mesoamerica.

All these advancements in science and architecture, but most importantly the vast riches of these Mesoamerican city-states and empires so stunned even the wealthiest of the Spanish explorers who first visited their lands. The same Spanish would later go on a campaign of the biggest looting in history as they destroyed and sacked these city-states and empires, sending all that gold and jewels back to Spain in great ships that became known as Golden galleons. It is a matter of historical record that around the 16th and 17th century the King of Spain was getting at least one golden gallon each year from his territories in the New World. All that gold and jewels did not come from mines but the great temples, palaces and treasure stories of the great empires of America, which was also known as the New World at the time.

The Secret Weapon of Hernan Cortes Conqueror of Mesoamerica

The Spanish Land in Force – Hernan Cortes Conqueror of Mesoamerica

In the year 1492, explorer Columbus crosses the vast blue seas from Europe to the New World and became the first European to set foot on Americas soil. He was shocked to find several civilizations already thriving there in the New World and how incredibly rich they all were. With the news of a land full of gold and jewels, more Spaniards followed swiftly and soon, Spain began to consider full colonization of the new land.

Unfortunately for history, to do this, to build their colonies, the greedy Spanish had to destroy the already existing city-states and thus started the great war and the looting of Mesoamerica and the rest of South America which included other mighty civilizations such as the Incas, located mainly in Peru.

The Secret Weapon of Hernan Cortes Conqueror of Mesoamerica

The man who led the Spanish forces against the Mesoamerican civilizations found the fight very difficult. The military might of the Aztec Empire was a force to be reckoned with both in numbers and skill and so the war dragged on for an unusually long period of time.

Eventually, this man found a secret weapon which he used to divide and conquer the stubborn Mesoamerican civilizations, chief of which was the mighty Aztec empire.

That secret weapon was a young girl!

The Secret Weapon of Hernan Cortes Conqueror of Mesoamerica

The Sly Weapon of Hernan Cortes Conqueror of Mesoamerica

According to historical records of the time, the brave conqueror of the mighty Aztec Empire of Mesoamerica was a Spaniard named Hernan Cortes.

In full, Hernán Cortés de Monroy Pizarro Altamirano, Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, a Spanish Conquistador and a noble of very high rank.

In his historical conquest of Mesoamerica and its empires, this brave Spanish soldier, Hernan Cortes, made extensive use of guns, cannons, horses, big crossbows, and even a small fleet of ships on the lovely waters of Lake Texcoco, a lake named after one of the powerful city-states of the Aztec Empire.

The Aztec Empire and its military and formidable defenses gave Hernan Cortes the biggest challenge. Even with his guns and ships, he could not defeat that empire and its proud ruler.

The Secret Weapon of Hernan Cortes Conqueror of Mesoamerica

Eventually, Hernan Cortes’ found a secret weapon in an unlikely place. That secret weapon was a young slave girl he picked up earlier on in his expedition against the empires of the Mesoamerica. Her name was as complicated as native Indian names come, but soon, she became known simply as ‘Malinche,”.

The Secret Weapon of Hernan Cortes Conqueror of Mesoamerica

Malinche originally acted as an interpreter for Hernan Cortes and his troops, but in little time, she became much more than that. She became Hernan Cortes’ personal adviser, some say his mistress too. What we do know for a fact is that it was this girl, with her great intelligence that had her speaking Spanish fluently in little time, that revealed to Hernan Cortes the complex workings of Mexican politics, the politics of the Aztec Empire, a union of powerful city-states ruled over by a king. And this was really what helped him divide and conquer the greatest empire ever to exist in Mesoamerica.


Hernan Cortes split the city-states of the Aztec Empire from each other and conquered them one by one. In one of them, he caused the death of about 250,000 people, most of whom lost their lives in the war itself.


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The article was pulled from the book, The Amazons by George Kenndy.

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The Secret Weapon of Hernan Cortes Conqueror of Mesoamerica


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