Native American Veteran and Canadian aboriginal veteran List.

tenochticlan

1519 - 1521

(The conquista ends in 1620)

 

 

Colonial war drawing title

25,000 - 30,000 COMMITTED

Number of DEAD IN SERVICE unknown.

 

A handful of men against an Empire ... so could be summed up the military exploit of Cortés, the Spaniard who defied the Aztec emperor just a few years after the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. Based in Cuba under the command of Diego Velázquez, the governor of the island with whom he has conflicting relations, Hernan Cortés is quickly attracted by the unknown and rides an expedition to the West, direction: Mexico.

On April 22, 1519, the eleven ships of the expedition of Cortes land on the American continent. When they see these men coming down from the sky, with their white skin and their faces covered with hair, the natives are rather impressed, for sure. Iron armor, firearms, cannons, ... the technology used by the invaders is evolved compared to the ancestral weapons used by the local populations.

The news is rife in Central America: as soon as he arrives, Cortes sees emissaries of the different peoples of the region coming to meet the Conquistadors from all over Central America. Assisted by an interpreter, Cortés learns a little more about the country every day. Information that will be very useful to him ...

 

 

conquistador.jpg

 

The weeks go by ... Cortés now masters the military stakes of this new territory, and understands that the Amerindians are far from being a peaceful people. In reality, two peoples have clashed since time immemorial: the Tlaxcaltecs and the Aztecs . But far from them the idea of ​​completely eliminating the other! Here, he learns, there is no war to kill the enemy, no! The purpose of the conflict is to maximize the number of prisoners who are then sacrificed to the bloodthirsty Sun-God.

 

 

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But how can he enslave a civilization of millions of people with, at the most, half a thousand men? Certainly, the Conquistadors take advantage of their status as teules , demi-gods, and are feared and respected despite their under-number. But will this status still hold?

Meanwhile, before sinking into the inhospitable jungle, Cortés consolidates its positions on the coast and founds the city of Veracruz . Incidentally, he proclaimed himself captain general and thus evaded the authority of the governor of Cuba, his enemy Diego Velázquez. It now depends directly on the authority of the King of Spain ... 

On August 16, 1519, four months after their landing, Cortes left a garrison of a hundred men in Veracruz and sinks with the rest of his troops in the land, Fifteen days later is the first confrontation with the Tlaxcaltecs, the hereditary enemies of the Aztecs whose Cortes had received emissaries a few weeks earlier.

Victorious, Cortés shows a real political intelligence. He knows that his greatest opponent will be the Aztec people he will soon meet. He wishes to make the most of the secular hatred of the two peoples ... If the Tlaxcaltecs agree to rally to his cause against the Aztecs, he promises them life. Otherwise, it will be death and destruction ... 
For the Indians, the calculation is quickly done! And Cortés to resume his road reinforced more than 2,000 warriors Tlaxcaltecs ...

 

 

 

conquistador3.jpg

Welcomed cordially by the emperor Moctezuma II, on November 8, 1519, Cortes then takes him hostage following the massacre of Veracruz. The Spaniards remain several months in the capital, plunder and massacre the population. In the night of June 30 to July 1, 1520, they are driven by an armed revolt: The sad noche.

Cortes and his family fled to Veracruz ... Tenochtitlan is now behind them, certainly, but the Aztecs do not intend to let go of the affair so easily! They immediately dispatch their best warriors and track down the fugitives, whom they catch up at Otumba ...

The Aztecs rejoice! Finally, they will be able to avenge the death of their brothers. Ten times more numerous than the false gods who turn their backs on them, victory can not escape them! Against all odds, the fight turns to their disadvantage. By what miracle? The heavy Spanish war horses and the death of the enemy warlord very early in the battle easily explain this reversal of situation!

The Aztecs routed, Cortes and his men take refuge among the Tlaxcaltecs. Will they be welcoming? Will they trust them again? Yes! The solidarity between natives, it is not really in the local customs ... They always see in Cortes the providential man who will allow them to annihilate their enemies of always. Cortes can now return to Tenochtitlan, reinforced with more than 30,000 warriors.

In armed combat, Cortés prefers the siege of the city. On May 30, 1521, he surrounded the Aztec capital to starve the entire population. A winning bet since, three months later, the Aztecs decide to surrender. It is definitely over for their civilization.

Back in favor with the Spanish Crown, Cortes is congratulated for his conquest. He is appointed governor of "New Spain". 
Tenochtitlan no longer exists. Instead, the foundation of Mexico City begins.

 

As a reward for the help they had given to Cortes, the Tlaxcaltecs received a number of privileges. The city is governed in municipio, under the same model as the Spanish cities of Spain or America. The inhabitants regularly send embassies to Spain as early as 1527. A delegation of five nobles accompanies Cortes when he goes to Spain to validate his mandate as captain general. They demand recognition of service to the crown and exemption from the encomienda (an extremely painful bondage system).

These missions continue throughout the 16th century. In 1534, a noble of Tlaxcala, Diego Maxixcatzin, went to Spain to ask for privileges, first the title of Leal Ciudad (Royal City), the coat of arms and a direct tutelage under the crown. In 1540 and 1543 new embassies were held. Strong links between the Indian municipio and the monarchy exist. They are reinforced by the creation of a convent, Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion, in charge of training the children of the Indian elites and teaching them Castilian.

In 1538, the truce of Nice between Francis I and Charles V is celebrated in Tlaxcala by theatrical performances in which are represented the king of France, the emperor, the pope and biblical characters to exalt peace.

The municipality sends in 1551 a delegation to the audiencia in Mexico City to ask the question of the personal service, the chores. They belong to the pre-Colombian system: the nobles of Tlaxcala received the chores of the non-noble. The natives are attracted by the wages of the conquistadores of Mexico and leave Tlaxcala. The nobles therefore want chores to continue.

Tlaxcala regularly writes to the sovereign. In 1563, she finally obtained the title of a very noble and loyal city granted by Philip II with a shield of arms for the city and its main aristocrats. There is therefore an aristocratization in the Spanish mode of the Indian rulers. It is not simply an honorary title but a legal status, the highest it could receive. Tlaxcala is directly subject to the Spanish Crown, without intermediaries.

The city provides many soldiers for Spanish expeditions to Guatemala or Florida and to quell internal revolts, such as the Mixton war, against the Chichimec Indians. The inhabitants of Tlaxcala continued to serve as auxiliaries to the Spaniards in their work of conquest: they participated in the conquest of northern Mexico, where they founded settlements. They also participated in the Santa Fe Foundation of New Mexico. They are also found accompanying the Spaniards in the Philippines in the 17th century.

Far from being a people enslaved by whites, the Tlaxcaltecs will in fact be one of the first Amerindian peoples to serve the European Armed Forces.

 

 

 

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