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Cortes: Hero or Villain

Updated October 17, 2020
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Cortes: Hero or Villain essay

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Hernan Cortes was a Spanish conquistador born in Medellin, Spain on 1485. He served firstly as a soldier for the Spanish and then he led the expedition of Spain to Mexico in 1519 after disobeying the orders of Velasquez, and then, he led conquest of the Aztec empire, in consequence, the fall of the Aztec empire, overthrowing the Aztec emperor, Moctezuma II. He made allies with some Aztec enemies in the country to then get to Tenochtitlan and fight the There is a great debate in the world of if Cortes was a hero or a villain. In the eyes of the Mexicans he is viewed as a villain but in the eyes of the Spanish he was viewed as a hero because he brought wealth and land to their country. In this essay I will be talking about, is Cortes a hero or a villain?

In the eyes of many people, specially Mexicans, Cortes is seen as a villain, but is he? For Spanish people he will always be considered as hero. Many people say that without Cortes conquest, the modern day Mestizo culture of Mexico could not have been founded. Mexico is the only areas in which the Spanish fully mixed with the natives when they arrived. Many spanish conquistadors married with native women, in result, giving birth to mixed blood and mixed ethnicity babies. Without this mix of people, Mexico would not be what it is today, a nation with mixed people and mixed cultures, culture usually takes many centuries to be established. The Mexican people have this culture now established and that is renowned around the world, without Cortes , it would not be possible. For Spanish people, he would always be a hero because he brought new land and more people to spain making it more rich and powerful. Cortes discovered new land and claimed it for Spain making cortes a hero of Spain. Without Cortes, Mexico wouldn’t be what is today and Spain wouldn\’t be to powerful today. In the aspect of global things, Cortes helped in stopping human sacrifices, stopping that bad and cruel practice. He stopped them by invading the Aztecs therefore vanishing that ritual. In this 3 aspects, Cortes is a hero.

In the other side, many people consider Cortes is considered as villain, but why do they think that? Many people say Cortes was a villain because he cruelly destroyed the Aztec empire, and made the natives as their slaves, he put them as second-class people and imposed them harsh labor, he took advantage of them, making that slaves mine to get gold for spain. He took advantage of a system called encomienda, to bring more slaves to him making his riches more in quantity. But he ordered to kill most of the native people and destroyed all their culture and temple they had. He was also a ruthless military commander, we know this because when he arrived to Mexico, he destroyed his boats in order not for his men to escape from Mexico. While he was campaigning in Mexico, he spread many diseases such as the smallpox. This was a very important factor that helped cortes win in his battle, as he diseases killed two-thirds of the aztec population. In this aspects, Cortes is a Villain.

In conclusion I think Cortes is a villain because all his feats were someday going to be done, like establishing the the Mexican culture or bringing gold to Spain, or stopping human sacrifices, but a hero wouldn’t treat their slaves as rubbish, and he is a real villain because he took advantage of them. He is also a great villain because he ordered to kill brutally most of the natives and destroyed their culture. He killed two-thirds of Mexico population just by spreading smallpox. Even though he made many good actions, his bad actions had more impact and were more shocking.

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