Cortés & Machiavelli

Jake M. Isabelle G. and Cooper G.

Hernando Cortés

Who Was He?

  • Born: 1485

  • Died: December 2, 1547

  • Hernan Cortes was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century.

    Why is He Important?

    In 1504 he sailed to the Dominican Republic, moving to Cuba in 1511 where he assisted Diego Velázquez in his conquest of the island.

    In 1518 Cortés persuaded Velázquez the governor at the time, to make him commander of an expedition to Mexico. His reasons were because he had heard rumors that the land was full of wealth.

    The major civilization in the region was that of the Aztecs, led by Montezuma II. Cortés headed for the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlán. It is thought that Cortes' arrival was on the same day that an Aztec prophecy was supposed to occur, which is why Montezuma (the Aztec chief) welcomed Cortés and gave him lavish gifts. However, relations quickly went south and, Cortés took Montezuma hostage, demanding a huge ransom from his people.

    in 1521 returned to Tenochtitlán, which fell after a three-month siege. A new settlement, Mexico City, was built on the ruins and settled with Spanish colonists, becoming the centre of Spanish America. Cortés secured control over Mexico, inflicting great cruelty on the indigenous population. Western diseases such as smallpox also caused huge fatalities.

    In 1523 Cortés was named governor and captain general of New Spain. In 1528, he was forced to return to Spain where the king reinstated him as captain general, but not to the position of governor. On his return to Mexico, his powers were limited and his activities closely watched. He continued to explore Central America, hoping to find a strait from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Instead he found and named California

    In 1541, Cortés returned to Spain and retired to an estate near Seville where he died on 2 December 1547.

    Niccoló Machiavelli

    Short Bio

    Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli May 3 1469 – June 211527 was an Italian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He was for many years an official in the Florentine Republic, with responsibilities in diplomatic and military affairs. He was a founder of modern political science, and more specifically political ethics. Machiavelli was born in Florence, Italy the third child and first son of attorney Bernardo di Niccolò Machiavelli and his wife, Bartolomea di Stefano Nelli.


    The Prince- Machiavelli's best-known book, Il Principe, contains several maxims concerning politics, but instead of the more traditional subject of a hereditary prince, it concentrates on the possibility of a new prince. To retain power, the hereditary prince must carefully maintain the sociopolitical institutions to which the people are accustomed, whereas a new prince has the more difficult task in ruling: He must first stabilize his newfound power in order to build an enduring political structure.

    Discourses on Livy- The Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livy, often referred to simply as the Discourses or Discorsi, is nominally a discussion regarding the classical history of early Ancient Rome, although it strays very far from this subject matter and also uses contemporary political examples to illustrate points. Machiavelli presents it as a series of lessons on how a republic should be started and structured. It is a larger work than the Prince, and while it more openly explains the advantages of republics, it also contains many similar themes.


    Death- Machiavelli died in 1527 at the age of 58. He was buried at the Church of Santa Croce in Florence. An epitaph honoring him is inscribed on his monument. The Latin legend says Tanto Nomini Nullum Par ElogIum ("so great a name has no adequate praise" or "no eulogy would be appropriate to such a great name").


    When did Cortes die?

    Why did Cortes want to go on am expedition to Mexico?

    When was Michiavelli born?

    What is the title of two of Machiavelli's books?