On February 28, 1525, Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes ordered the execution of Cuauhtemoc, the last independent Aztec emperor.Cuauhtemoc and Cortes had engaged in a series of fierce battles five years earlier. Cortes and an alliance of Tlaxcala and other anti-Aztec groups assaulted the Aztec capital, the island-city of Tenochtitlan. The Spanish group cut off supplies to Tenochtitlan, and rotting bodies (killed either in battle or by disease such as smallpox) contaminated the city’s water supply. The city fell, and Cuauhtemoc fled and ultimately surrendered.Convinced Cuauhtemoc was hiding secret hoards of gold, Cortes imprisoned and tortured the former emperor for three years. When Cortes led an expedition to what is today Honduras, he took Cuauhtemoc with him, where the former emperor was hanged.Cortes and other Spanish conquistadors established a series of colonial rulers, but today, Cuauhtemoc is remembered as a symbol of indigenous pride and pre-Columbian civilization in Mexico. Cuauhtemoc is a popular boy’s name, and a statue of the last Aztec emperor stands in the Zocalo, the central plaza of Mexico City—what was once Tenochtitlan.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry alliance Noun
people or groups united for a specific purpose.
people and culture native to Mexico and Central America.
Aztec Empire Noun
(1325-1521) area of land in Mesoamerica conquered and ruled by the Aztecs. Also called the Aztec Triple Alliance.
city where a region's government is located.
Encyclopedic Entry: capital city Noun
large settlement with a high population density.
complex way of life that developed as humans began to develop urban settlements.
Encyclopedic Entry: civilization conquistador Noun
Spanish explorer or conqueror of Latin America in the 16th century.
to poison or make hazardous.
to persuade or succeed in encouraging someone to believe completely.
ruler of an empire.
to interact with.
to form or officially organize.
journey with a specific purpose, such as exploration.
hidden supply or treasure.
to confine or put in a jail-like facility.
free from influence, threat, or support.
characteristic to or of a specific place.
Encyclopedic Entry: indigenous pre-Columbian Adjective
having to do with the Americas before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492.
very contagious, often fatal disease wiped out with vaccination programs.
to give up.
something used to represent something else.
inflicting pain to force a victim to provide information.