The Spanish Conquistador
Born around 1485, Hernán Cortés was a Spanish conquistador and explorer who defeated the Aztec empire and claimed Mexico for Spain. He first set sail to the New World at the age of 19. Cortés later joined an expedition to Cuba. In 1518, he set off to explore Mexico. There he strategically aligned some native peoples against others to overthrow them. King Charles I appointed him governor of New Spain in 1522. Cortés died in Spain in 1547.