Aztec Empire in 1519: c. 5 Million people.

Tenochtitlan (site now of Mexico City) Population: c. 200,000.  By comparison: same size as Paris & Naples, the two largest European cities c. 1500  (roughly equivalent to contemporary Boise).

Hernando Cortez Forces: c. 500 soldiers, c. 200-300 Cuban and African slaves to portage, cook etc., 16 Spanish horses, 10 cannon, smaller cannon, crossbows, pistols, war-dogs etc.

Siege of Tenochtitlan casualties: c. 200,000 lives.


Brief timeline:
1300 Aztecs settle in Valley of Mexico

1325 Tenochtitlan founded  (video on Tenochtitlan)

1492 Columbus sails the ocean blue, Moors defeated in Spain (last Moorish holdout: Granada), Alhambra Decree: Muslims and Jews evicted from Spain (Important context for Spanish attitude toward the Other)

1493 Pope Alexander VI issues papal bull granting Spain dominion over all lands, undiscovered or discovered, in the New World

1502 Montezuma becomes 9th Aztec king

1511-14 Spanish conquer Cuba

1519 Cortez mounts expedition into Mexico

    Winter: Explore East Coast, area around Belize;  contact with La Malinche and Gonzalo Guerrero

    April 21 Make land

    June 3 Found first settlement

    July 26 Ships take back first treasure to Spain

    September Battle and Defeat Tlaxcalans, enter city

    October 10-25 Massacre Cholulans (Cortez' accounts claims to have killed 3,000)

    November 8 Enter Tenochtitlan and meet Montezuma

    November 14 Arrest Monteczuma


    June 24-29 Spaniards under siege and trapped in palace

    June 29 Montezuma killed, Cuitlahuac takes over as king

    June 30 Cortez and Spaniards flee Tenochtitlan, hundreds of Spaniards die and nearly all treasure lost

    July 2-10 Cortez seriously wounded and goes into a coma

    October  December Smallpox plague wipes out Aztecs

    December 4 Cuitlahuac dies of smallpox


    Cortez recovers, receives reinforcements, builds a small "navy"

    May - August Second siege, Aztecs defeated

(1562-1697 Destruction of Mayan Codices (of the thousands, only four exist today))