JUNE 30, 1520


Arriving at Tenochtitlan in late 1519, Conquistador Hernan Cortés, suspecting treachery from the Aztecs, took King Moctezuma II hostage. In June 1520, after Cortez left the city to face a force sent by the Cuban Governor to capture him, Pedro de Alvarado had Aztec nobles & priests slaughtered during a festival. In response, the Aztecs laid siege to the Spanish compound & elected a new king, Cuitláhuac. Moctezuma, pleading for peace, was stoned & possibly killed by the Aztecs. Returning, Cortés decided to exit the city by night with whatever gold & booty they could carry. Cortez’s army was spotted near the western causeway and were attacked. Burdened by gold & equipment, many soldiers drowned. Cortés, reaching Tacuba, left his army to fend for itself. The artillery & most of the horses were lost. Estimates of the dead range from 150-450 Spaniards, and 2000-4000 Native allies. Aztec losses were about 1000, including Montezuma’s son, Chimalpopoca. At Tlaxcala, Cortés planned the siege of Tenochtitlan.

Sources:  William DeLong, “La Noche Triste: When The Aztecs Almost Thwarted The Spaniards,” allthatsinteresting.com, 1/3/2019.  Retrieved 8/5/2022, La Noche Triste: When The Aztecs Almost Thwarted The Spaniards (allthatsinteresting.com) 
Painting: Author unknown, latter 17th century. Public Domain.