|La Noche Triste ("The Night of Sorrows")|
|Part of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire|
The battle of La Noche Triste
|Commanders and leaders|
| Hernán Cortés (WIA)|
Pedro de Alvarado (WIA)
|varies; likely 600–1,000 Spanish and 20,000 native allies||50,000 Aztec warriors; likely more in reserves|
|Casualties and losses|
|Between 400 and 800 Spanish killed, drowned, or captured; between 2,000 and 4,000 native allies killed or captured||Unknown|
La Noche Triste ("The Night of Sorrows", literally "The Sad Night") was an important event during the Spanish conquest of Mexico, wherein Hernán Cortés, his army of Spanish conquistadors, and their native allies were driven out of the Aztec capital at Tenochtitlan.
This section needs additional citations for verification . (July 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Cortés' expedition arrived at Tenochtitlan, the Mexica capital, on November 8, 1519, taking up residence in a specially designated compound in the city. Soon thereafter, suspecting treachery on the part of their hosts, the Spaniards took Moctezuma II, the king or Hueyi Tlatoani of the Mexica, hostage. Though Moctezuma followed Cortés' instructions in continually assuring his subjects that he had been ordered by the gods to move in with the Spaniards and that he had done so willingly, the Aztecs suspected otherwise. During the following 98 days, Cortés and his native allies, the Tlaxcaltecas, were increasingly unwelcome guests in the capital.
In June 1520, news from the Gulf coast reached Cortés that a much larger party of Spaniards had been sent by Governor Velázquez of Cuba to arrest Cortés for insubordination. Leaving Tenochtitlan in the care of his trusted lieutenant, Pedro de Alvarado, Cortés marched to the coast, where he defeated the Cuban expedition led by Pánfilo de Narváez sent to capture him. When Cortés told the defeated soldiers about the riches of Tenochtitlan, they agreed to join him. Reinforced by Narvaez's men, Cortés headed back to Tenochtitlan.
During Cortés' absence, Pedro de Alvarado ordered a preemptive slaughter of Aztec nobles and priests celebrating a festival in the city's main temple. In retaliation, the Aztecs laid siege to the Spanish compound, in which Moctezuma was still being held captive. By the time Cortés returned to Tenochtitlan in late June, the Aztecs had elected a new Hueyi Tlatoani named Cuitláhuac.
Cortés ordered Moctezuma to address his people from a terrace in order to persuade them to stop fighting and to allow the Spaniards to leave the city in peace. The Aztecs, however, jeered at Moctezuma, and pelted him with stones and darts. By Spanish accounts, he was killed in this assault by the Mexica people, though they claim he had been killed instead by the Spanish. 294 :90:
|Religion · Mythology · Philosophy|
|Calendar · Medicine|
|Tenochtitlan · Templo Mayor|
|Aztlán · Warfare|
|Codices · Aztec writing|
|Aztec Empire · Tlaxcallan|
|Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire|
|Moctezuma II · Hernán Cortés|
With Moctezuma dead, Cortés and Alvarado knew they were in a precarious position. Under constant attack, with gunpowder, food, and water in short supply, Cortés decided to break out of the city by night. In order to put the Aztecs off their guard, he sent messengers asking for a one-week ceasefire, at the end of which the Spaniards would return any treasure of which they were in possession and would be permitted to leave the city peacefully. 296:
Since the Aztecs had damaged bridges on four of the eight causeways into the island city, the Spaniards devised a portable bridge they could use in order to cross any unspanned sections of water. Cortés ordered that as much of the accumulated gold and other booty as was feasible be packed and carried away, and invited the Spanish soldiers to take and carry away as much as they wished of the remainder. This invitation would lead to the demise of many soldiers who, overburdened with treasure, found it impossible to navigate the causeways and other obstacles encountered on the way out of the city. 297,306:
On the night of July 1, 1520, 298,305[ discuss ] First by a woman drawing water, and then by the priest of Huitzilopochtli from atop Templo Mayor. :85Cortez's large army left their compound and headed west, toward the Tlacopan causeway. The causeway was apparently unguarded, and the Spaniards made their way out of their complex unnoticed, winding their way through the sleeping city under the cover of a rainstorm. Before reaching the causeway, they were noticed by Aztec warriors known as the Eagle Warriors, who sounded the alarm. :
The fighting was ferocious. As the Spaniards and their native allies reached the causeway, hundreds of canoes appeared in the waters alongside to harry them. The Spaniards fought their way across the causeway in the rain. Weighed down by gold and equipment, some of the soldiers lost their footing, fell into the lake, and drowned. Amid a vanguard of horsemen, Cortés pressed ahead and reached dry land at Tacuba, leaving the rest of the expedition to fend for itself in the treacherous crossing. 299–300:
Seeing the wounded survivors straggle into the village, Cortés and his horsemen turned back to the causeway, where they encountered Pedro de Alvarado, unhorsed and badly wounded, in the company of a handful of Spaniards and Tlaxcaltecas. According to Bernal Díaz del Castillo, it was at this point that tears came to Cortés' eyes, as he realized the extent of the debacle. 300:
Cortés, Alvarado and the strongest and most skilled of the men had managed to fight their way out of Tenochtitlan, although they were all bloodied and exhausted. Cortés himself had been injured in the fighting. All of the artillery had been lost, as had most of the horses. 302:
The sources are not in agreement as to the total number of casualties suffered by the expedition. Cortés himself claimed that 154 Spaniards were lost along with over 2,000 native allies. Thoan Cano, another eyewitness to the event, said that 1170 Spaniards died, but this number probably exceeds the total number of Spaniards who took part in the expedition.Francisco López de Gómara, who was not himself an eyewitness, estimated that 450 Spaniards and 4,000 allies died.
Montezuma's son, Chimalpopoca (Moctezuma) was killed and the Tepanec prince Tlaltecatzin, 87 King Cacamatzin, his three sisters and two brothers were also killed. :90:
Diaz states the Spaniards suffered 860 soldiers killed, which included those from the later Battle of Otumba. The Tlaxcaltecas lost a thousand. The noncombatants attached to the expedition suffered terribly, 72 casualties, including five Spanish women. The few women who survived included La Malinche the interpreter, Doña Luisa, and María Estrada. 302,305–306 The event was named La Noche Triste ("The Night of Sorrows") on account of the sorrow that Cortés and his surviving followers felt and expressed at the loss of life and treasure incurred in the escape from Tenochtitlan.:
Further battles awaited the Spaniards and their allies as they fought their way around the north end of Lake Zumpango. One week later, at the Battle of Otumba, not far from Teotihuacan, they turned to fight the pursuing Aztecs, decisively defeating them — according to Cortés, because he slew the Aztec commander — and giving the Spaniards a small respite that allowed them to reach Tlaxcala. 303–305:
It was in Tlaxcala that Cortés plotted the siege of Tenochtitlan and the eventual destruction of the Aztec Empire.
Moctezuma II, variant spellings include Motecuhzomatzin, Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma, Motēuczōmah, Muteczuma, and referred to in full by early Nahuatl texts as Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of the Aztec Empire, reigning from 1502 to 1520. The first contact between the indigenous civilizations of Mesoamerica and Europeans took place during his reign, and he was killed during the initial stages of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, when conquistador Hernán Cortés and his men fought to take over the Aztec capital Tenochtitlán.
Tenochtitlan, also known as Mexico-Tenochtitlan, was a large Mexica altepetl in what is now the historic center of Mexico City. The exact date of the founding of the city is unclear. The date 13 March 1325 was chosen in 1925 to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the city. The city was built on an island in what was then Lake Texcoco in the Valley of Mexico. The city was the capital of the expanding Aztec Empire in the 15th century until it was captured by the Spanish in 1521.
Pedro de Alvarado y Contreras was a Spanish conquistador and governor of Guatemala. He participated in the conquest of Cuba, in Juan de Grijalva's exploration of the coasts of the Yucatán Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico, and in the conquest of Mexico led by Hernán Cortés. He is considered the conquistador of much of Central America, including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Although renowned for his skill as a soldier, Alvarado is known also for the cruelty of his treatment of native populations, and mass murders committed in the subjugation of the native peoples of Mexico.
Cacamatzin (1483–1520) was the tlatoani (ruler) of Texcoco, the second most important city of the Aztec Empire.
The Massacre in the Great Temple, also called the Alvarado Massacre, was an event on May 22, 1520, in the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan during the Spanish conquest of Mexico, in which the celebration of the Feast of Toxcatl ended in a massacre of Aztec elites. While Hernán Cortés was in Tenochtitlan, he heard about other Spaniards arriving on the coast – Pánfilo de Narváez had come from Cuba with orders to arrest him – and Cortés was forced to leave the city to fight them. During his absence, Moctezuma asked deputy governor Pedro de Alvarado for permission to celebrate Toxcatl. But after the festivities had started, Alvarado interrupted the celebration, killing all the warriors and noblemen who were celebrating inside the Great Temple. The few who managed to escape the massacre by climbing over the walls informed the community of the Spaniards' atrocity.
The Fall of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire, was a decisive event in the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. It occurred in 1521 following extensive manipulation of local factions and exploitation of pre-existing divisions by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, who was aided by the support of his indigenous allies and his interpreter and companion La Malinche.
The Aztec Empire, or the Triple Alliance, was an alliance of three Nahua altepetl city-states: Mexico-Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan. These three city-states ruled the area in and around the Valley of Mexico from 1428 until the combined forces of the Spanish conquistadores and their native allies under Hernán Cortés defeated them in 1521.
Juan Velázquez de León was a Spanish conquistador, who along with Hernán Cortés participated in the third Spanish expedition to continental America in 1519. He was distinguished by being relative of the then Governor of Cuba Diego Velázquez, but overall served Hernán Cortés and the cause of the Conquest. Cortés gave Juan the daughter of Maxixcatzin, baptized as Doña Elvira, after the Tlaxcallan's made peace with the Spanish.
The Aztecs were a Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican people of central Mexico in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. They called themselves Mēxihcah.
The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, also known as the Conquest of Mexico (1519–21), was one of the primary events in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. There are multiple 16th-century narratives of the events by Spanish conquerors, their indigenous allies, and the defeated Aztecs. It was not solely a contest between a small contingent of Spaniards defeating the Aztec Empire but rather the creation of a coalition of Spanish invaders with tributaries to the Aztecs, and most especially the Aztecs' indigenous enemies and rivals. They combined forces to defeat the Mexica of Tenochtitlan over a two-year period. For the Spanish, the expedition to Mexico was part of a project of Spanish colonization of the New World after twenty-five years of permanent Spanish settlement and further exploration in the Caribbean.
Gonzalo de Sandoval was a Spanish conquistador in New Spain (Mexico) and briefly co-governor of the colony while Hernán Cortés was away from the capital.
The Battle of Otumba was a battle during the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. The battle was fought at Otumba de Gómez Farías, Mexico in 1520.
Qualpopoca was an Aztec administrator and military commander whose operations on behalf of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma Xocoyotzin against the Spanish conquistadors at Nautla prompted the crisis in Aztec-Spanish relations that provided Hernán Cortés with the pretext he needed to capture Moctezuma and overthrow the Aztec state. Qualpopoca had killed and captured a number of conquistadors in a battle close to Nauhtla after a dispute about tribute, and thus was the first Aztec commanders to have any success against the Spanish. In revenge, Cortes forced the captive Moctezuma to order his arrest, return him to the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan and subsequently burn him alive in front of the Templo Mayor.
Tecoaque is a Mesoamerican archaeological site, located in western Tlaxcala state, central Mexico, close to Calpulalpan. The site was inhabited by the Acolhua, one of the three ethnic groups making up the Aztec Empire. Tecoaque had many white-stucco temples and was the home to approximately 5,000 people, mostly priests and farmers.
Aztec Massacre is a 2008 television documentary produced by Thirteen/WNET New York and ITVS International and broadcast as part of PBS's Secrets of the Dead series. It presents the grisly discovery of more than 400 mutilated skeletons at the Aztec site of Zultapec, Mexico. It purports to show that the 500-year-old discovery “paints a new picture of the violent relations between the Aztecs and the Conquistadors and rewrites much of what we thought we knew about the Aztec civilization”. The accuracy of many of the program's assertions, however, has been questioned.
La Conquista is an opera in two acts by Lorenzo Ferrero set to a trilingual libretto by the composer and Frances Karttunen, based on a concept by Alessandro Baricco. It depicts the major episodes of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1521 and the subsequent destruction of the Aztec civilization. The libretto (English-Spanish-Nahuatl) is a blend of historical and literary sources drawn from transcriptions of indigenous and European literature, both kept, with some exceptions, in their original languages. The texts are taken from The Truthful History of the Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Díaz del Castillo, the Book XII of the Florentine Codex, the works of Juan Boscán Almogáver, Bernardino de Sahagún, Lope de Vega, Heinrich Heine, and from Aztec prayers, songs and poems as collected in Cantares Mexicanos and Romances de los señores de Nueva España.
The Third Letter of Relation of Hernán Cortés to the Emperor Carlos V is one of five letters written by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés to the emperor Carlos V, sent with the intention of informing Carlos V of the territories discovered and their conquest; it was signed on 15 May 1522 in Coyoacán. The letter describes part of the expedition to the New World, the conquest of Tenochtitlán and the destruction of the city, covering the events from 1520 until the final conquests in 1522.
The Second relation letter from Hernán Cortés to emperor Charles V is one of the five Letters of relation written by Hernán Cortés to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor by his name in the Holy Roman Empire, and to his mother, the queen Joanna of Castile in which he relates his trips to Mexico and the conquest of Mexico-Tenochtitlán. This second letter was dated on 30 October 1520.
Francisco de Lugo was a Spanish conquistador. Described by Bernal Díaz del Castillo as "a man of uncommon bravery", he served with Hernán Cortés in the conquest of Mexico as one of his officers.
Xicomecoatl, Chicomácatl, or as he was referred to as by the Spanish conquistador Bernal Díaz del Castillo, "Cacique Gordo", was the ruler of the city of Cempoala while it was under control of the Mexica Empire.