4 Major Accomplishments of Hernando Cortes

4 Major Accomplishments of Hernando Cortes


Hernando Cortes was a Spanish conquistador who is most famous for his conquests in Mexico. While it was the age of discovery and many European kingdoms benefited largely, very few explorers and soldiers of the era got as rich as Cortes. His personal conquests during the explorations won him land, precious metals and enormous power. The Hernando Cortes major accomplishments inspired innumerable conquistadors to venture out to the New World, partly in search for land and partly to amass a fortune.

1. Hernando Cortes Became Secretary To Diego Velasquez And Sailed To Cuba.

This was a rather unique scenario because most people would be inducted as soldiers on the expeditions and not as a secretary. Velasquez would go on to become the Governor of Cuba. During his stay in Cuba, Cortes grew through the ranks of civil administration and then became the municipal magistrate. His exposure to law at the University of Salamanca surely came in handy during such stints.

2. Circa 1518, Cortes Embarked On An Expedition To Mexico, Which Was Incidentally Canceled By Velasquez.

Cortes sailed with eleven vessels, five hundred men, canons and thirteen horses. He reached the territory that was once inhabited by the Mayans and instead of launching an attack or any such aggressive move he became friends with the natives. However, he did start fights elsewhere to conquer the region. His warring spree took him far and wide in Mexico and he gained unquestioned control over the region. He did not settle after conquering Tabasco. He went on to Tenochitilan to overthrow the Aztec ruler Montezuma II.

3. Cortes Made Mexico The New Spain And Called It Mexico City.

It became the capital of Spanish America. Hernando Cortes became the governor. He also acted as the chief justice and captain general as sanctioned by King Charles I.

4. During His Rule, Cortes Made Many Enemies But He Had The Backing Of King Charles I.

He successfully quelled rebellions and possible coups. His unchallenged rule paved the way for massive explorations of the region. Cortes succeeded in gaining control of more land and exploited the natural resources. The riches that many Europeans had been on the lookout for through the age of discovery were elusive for many. Cortes did strike gold.

In addition to setting up the Spanish rule in Mexico, Cortes explored much of Central America. He explored Baja California, looked for a gulf leading the explorations from the Atlantic to the Pacific and searched for new lands on behalf of the King.