When it comes to the exploration of the New World, one name that stands out is Hernando Cortes. Cortes was a Spanish conquistador who played a significant role in the colonization of Mexico.
But before he could conquer Mexico, he embarked on a daring journey across the Atlantic Ocean. So where did Hernando Cortes sail? Let’s dive into the details.
The Voyage Begins
In 1504, at the age of 19, Cortes set sail from Spain to seek his fortune in the New World. He first arrived in Hispaniola, which is now known as the Dominican Republic and Haiti. After spending some time there, he joined an expedition to conquer Cuba led by Diego Velazquez.
During his time in Cuba, Cortes became involved in various expeditions and gained valuable experience in exploration and colonization. He served as a magistrate and also managed to acquire significant wealth through trade and agriculture.
The Search for Gold
Driven by his ambition and tales of vast riches, Cortes set his sights on conquering Mexico. With permission from Velazquez, he assembled a fleet of eleven ships and around 500 men. On February 18, 1519, they set sail from Cuba towards their destination.
The Route to Mexico
Cortes’ fleet sailed along the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. They made several stops along the way to restock supplies and gather information about the local indigenous tribes.
- Cozumel Island: The first stop was Cozumel Island on March 4th, where they encountered Mayan traders.
- Tobasco: Cortes continued his journey and arrived in Tobasco on March 14th. Here, he encountered the fierce resistance of the indigenous people, but ultimately managed to conquer the region.
- Veracruz: From Tobasco, Cortes sailed further north and reached Veracruz on April 22nd. This would become an important base for his conquest of Mexico.
The Conquest of Mexico
After establishing a stronghold in Veracruz, Cortes continued his march towards the capital city of the Aztec Empire, Tenochtitlan (present-day Mexico City). Along the way, he formed alliances with indigenous tribes who were enemies of the Aztecs.
Tlaxcala: One such alliance was forged with the Tlaxcalans, a powerful indigenous group. With their help, Cortes defeated several Aztec forces and gained more allies for his conquest.
The Final Destination: Tenochtitlan
Cortes and his men finally reached Tenochtitlan on November 8th, 1519. The city was unlike anything they had ever seen before – grand temples, bustling markets, and intricate canals. However, their initial friendly reception soon turned hostile.
Cortes’ forces faced fierce resistance from the Aztecs and engaged in intense battles to capture the city. After months of fighting and strategic alliances with other indigenous groups who opposed Aztec rule, Cortes emerged victorious on August 13th, 1521.
Hernando Cortes sailed from Spain to Hispaniola before embarking on his journey to conquer Cuba. From there, he set sail for Mexico along the Yucatan Peninsula’s eastern coast.
Stops at Cozumel Island, Tobasco, and Veracruz provided opportunities to gather information and establish a stronghold. With the help of alliances with indigenous tribes like the Tlaxcalans, Cortes eventually conquered Tenochtitlan and claimed Mexico for Spain.
So, when pondering where Hernando Cortes sailed, remember his epic voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to explore and conquer new lands.