The Principle Factors and Circumstances, Which Brought About the Defeat of the Aztecs in 1519-1521
The conquest of the Aztec Empire by conquistadors can be considered as a major event in the colonization of America by the Spanish. The Spanish started invading the Aztec Empire in February 1519. The invasion ended in two years, on 13 August 1521, with the capture of the capital of the Aztec Empire. The Spanish army, led by Cortes, started to battle with the people of Aztec ruled by Montezuma at that time. The Aztec Empire had witnessed tremendous expansion and immense growth for 300 years, from 1200 to 1500. Before the arrival of the Spanish, Aztecs controlled most of modern Mexico. However, the conquest of the Aztec Empire by the Spanish marked an end of the Aztec expansion (Holmer, 2005).
Despite the fact that the Spanish army that attacked Aztec comprised only 600 soldiers, the natives suffered defeat. A number of factors and circumstances can be attributed to the defeat of the Aztecs by the Spanish. First, alliance of Cortes and other rivals, who were against the Aztecs, contributed to the defeat of the Aztecs. For instance, the Spanish joined hands with the Tlaxcaltecas and the Totonacs, in order to defeat the Aztecs. These allies helped Cortes to advance in the Aztec Empire, and they even succeeded in settling there. The killing of several Spaniards following an attack by the Aztec on Nauhtlan can also be regarded as another factor, which precipitated the defeat of the Aztecs. Following this attack, Montezuma was taken captive by Cortes. Cortes was able to rule the Aztecs through Montezuma for several months (Gillen, & Ghosh, 2007).
The superior weapons and adequate resources that the Spanish army had can also be regarded as one of the factors, which contributed to the defeat of the Aztecs. The Spanish had stronger and more complex weapons than the Aztecs did; this fact helped them conquer the Aztecs with a lot of ease since the Aztecs used weapons that were weaker than the one used by the Spanish (Gillen, & Ghosh, 2007). Some of the weapons used by the Spanish included guns, unlike the Aztecs, who used weapons made from woods, as well as shields made from canes and stones. The shields and weapons used by the Spanish, on the other hand, were made from steel. The Spaniards were also well prepared and supplied with all the resources needed in the war. Factors, such as the brilliant strategies used by the Spanish, also precipitated the conquest of the Aztecs. Some accidental factors and mistakes made by the Aztecs gave the Spanish army a perfect opportunity to overpower the Aztec warriors (Holmer, 2005).
The Aztecs were also defeated in the war because, unlike the Spanish, who used to fight on horses, the Aztecs fought on the ground. The metal armor worn by the Spaniards also contributed to the defeat of the Aztecs, whose armor was made from stiffened cotton. Circumstances, such as the use of siege warfare by the Spaniards, also led to the defeat of the Aztecs. This tactic was instrumental to the Spaniards as it helped them stop the Aztecs from accessing supplies and water. Although the Aztecs had a larger army than the Spaniards, the physical army of the Aztecs faced defeat because of the mental power used by the Spaniards. Factors, such as diseases and religious beliefs, also contributed to the defeat of the Aztecs by the Spanish army (Holmer, 2005).
The other principle factor that contributed to the defeat of the Aztecs was that they did not retreat when they lost their warriors in the battlefield. They kept on advancing towards the enemy unlike the Spaniards who retreated. As a result, the Aztecs continued to lose soldiers in the battle, and this led to their eventual defeat (Gillen, & Ghosh, 2007).