Exploration and Settlement

Christopher Columbus

Who was Montezuma?

Montezuma (or Moctezuma) was the name of two rulers of the Aztec Indians in Mexico. Montezuma I ruled an area that extended from the Atlantic to the Pacific. He is credited with enlarging Tenochtitlán (the Aztec capital, which is today Mexico City). He died in 1469, but three years earlier was succeeded by his nephew, Montezuma II (1466–1520), who is the Montezuma most people are familiar with since it was during his reign that the Aztecs came into contact with—and were eventually conquered by—the Spaniards under explorer Hernán Cortés (1485–1547). In 1519 Montezuma tried to persuade Cortés not to come to Mexico City, but Cortés and his troops marched inland anyway. The Aztecs rose up to fight the Spaniards, but Montezuma was wounded as he addressed his warriors. He died a few days later, on June 30, 1520, one year before Mexico City fell to the Spaniards.


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