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Hernán Cortés

Hernán Cortés (1485-1547) was the famous Spanish conquistador who conquered the Aztec Empire, located in what is now central Mexico, in 1521 following a few years of battles. Needless to say, you'll get different opinions on the man depending on who and where you ask. For the record, completely reliable information on him is pretty scarce.


  • A God Am I: Told this lie to the Aztecs.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Despite the fact that Europeans in Cortéz' day weren't exactly above murdering other peoples in wars, or burning their own citizens on the stake for not being Catholic he and his men were still shocked at the fact that those inhuman Aztecs sacrificed their own people to the sun. Talk about a Hypocrite!
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Implanted his will upon the Aztecs by imprisoning and murdering their Emperor and destroying their Empire in the process.
  • Badass Boast: During his conquest of the Aztec Empire, Cortez had to defeat the army of the Governor of Cuba, which was sent after him. He bested them, even outnumbered and outgunned, AND convinced the survivors to join him. Accounts say that the army's general spoke to him like this:
    General: Mister Cortez, it is a great victory for you to capture me.
    Cortez: Capturing you is the least of everything I've done in this land.
  • Child by Rape: The children he fathered with his sex slaves.
  • The Conqueror
  • Convenient Eclipse: When Cortés reached the Aztec Empire, they took him to be a god, thanks to many circumstances and prophecies. The Aztec believed that the god, Quetzalcoatl, was a pale, bearded god that had left by the Atlantic coast and would return the same year that Cortes arrived. This coincidence proved rather fatal for the Aztec, who didn't try to kill Cortes until he was too powerful. Conversations recorded between Cortés and Moctezuma make it quite clear that Moctezuma recognized Cortés as another mortal human. It seems that him or one of his successors fabricated the story as a way of taking full credit for the conquest of the Aztec Empire; conveniently ignoring the fact that the Spaniards fought with over five times their number of Tlaxcaltec natives, fierce enemies of the Aztec.
  • Dude Where Is My Respect: Cortés was given everything he ever wanted by the Aztecs, yet his greed took over and in the escalating conflicts he destroyed their entire empire and wiped most of them out. In an ironic twist of fate on his return to Spain he was uttely neglected in his home country and could scarcely obtain an audience. A famous anecdote tells how he forced his way through a crowd that surrounded the emperor's carriage, and mounted on the footstep. The emperor, astounded at such audacity, demanded of him who he was. "I am a man," replied Cortés proudly, "who has given you more provinces than your ancestors left you cities."
  • Full-Circle Revolution: For the native tribes who allied with him, hoping that he would save them from Aztec rule. Instead, they just traded their old Aztec overlords for new Spanish ones.
  • God Guise and God in Human Form : The Aztec Empire of ancient Mexico had a legend that when their god Huitzilopochtli would return, he would be in the form of a pale human, coming from the south in a great ship. When the Spanish (i.e. pale) conquistador Hernán Cortés arrived from the south in a great ship, the Aztecs naturally assumed he was their god. Reality Ensues. And that's one of the reasons we don't have an Aztec Empire today.
  • Gold Fever: Wanted gold, got gold from the Aztecs, then wanted even more.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade and Historical Villain Downgrade: Some sources see him a benevolent explorer who wasn't half as cruel as you'd expect from a conquering conquistador. Others see him as basically the same type of immoral genocidical gold hungry conquistador as all the others, who basically destroyed the Aztec empire. Some compromise by calling him a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: The Aztecs had this reaction on Cortez and his men when they first arrived because they had never seen white men before, nor ships, horses and/or guns.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He's a well-known example of this.
  • Murderers Are Rapists
  • Only in It for the Money: Like most conquistadors were.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn
  • Romanticized Abuse: Some authors who write their own fictional stories based on his relationship with Malinalli are guilty of this.
  • Sex Slave: He owned a sex slave named Malinalli(a.k.a. la malinche;who also served as an interpreter). Moctezuma II gave his daughter Techichipotzin to Cortez as this.
  • The Sociopath
  • Spell My Name with an "S": His last name has been spelled with and without and accent and ending with either an s or a z.

Cortés in fiction:

Jacques CousteauUsefulNotes/ExplorersDavy Crockett
ConfuciusHistorical-Domain CharacterDavy Crockett
Henry VIIIAdministrivia/Useful Notes Pages in MainHindenburg

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