JUNE 29, 1520


In November 1519, Hernán Cortés led 600 Spaniards from Mexico’s Gulf coast to the Aztec capital city, Tenochtitlan, where he took Moctezuma prisoner demanding gold as ransom.  In May 1520, with Cortés  away from Tenochtitlan, his lieutenant, Pedro de Alvarado, hearing a native plot against the Spanish,  attacked during a festival slaughtering thousands of Mexica.  A native counter-attack forced the Spaniards to barricade themselves inside the Palace of Axayácatl.  Cortés soon returned.  Unable to restore order, he hauled Moctezuma to the palace roof.  Moctezuma pleaded with his people to stop attacking the Spanish.  The people threw stones and spears badly injuring Moctezuma.  The Spanish claim he died June 29 from his wounds.  Native accounts claim he was murdered later by the Spanish.  With Moctezuma dead, on June 30, 1520, the Spaniards tried to sneak out from Tenochtitlan, but Aztec warriors killed half of Cortés’ men and most of his horses.  They also lost most of the gold as well.  

Source:  Christopher Minster, “The Death of Montezuma,” ThoughtCo., 12/31/2018.  Retrieved 7/4/2019, https://www.thoughtco.com/the-death-of-montezuma-2136529
Graphic:  Author unknown.  Date:  16th Century.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 100 years or less.

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