Hernán Cortés

Essay by soma123High School, 11th gradeA, February 2009

download word file, 8 pages 3.0

During the late 15th century, the Spanish Empire was preparing itself. It was rapidly becoming the pinnacle of exploration, conquest, and colonization. The future laid the path for many men to take part in this epic stage of expansion. Thus, the stage for Hernán Cortés Pizarro was set to leave his imprint and story of conquest in history.

Hernán Cortés was born in Medellín, Extremadura, Kingdom of Castile during the year of 1485. Luckily, Cortés was born into a world of moderate luxury. His father, Martin Cortés de Monroy, was a distinguished infantry captain with an ancestry of slender nobility. While his mother, Catalina Pizarro Altamirano gave Cortés the blood of a conqueror. Catalina provided Cortés with the blood link between him and the Francisco Pizarro, the famous conquistador of the Incan Empire. Cortés was noted as a pale and sickly child during his early childhood but was able to prove himself intellectually competent when he was admitted into Spain’s greatest center of learning and education, the University of Salamanca, at the age of fourteen.

This is where he stayed and pursued the principle and dignified study of law and Latin. However, after two years of attendance, Cortés found himself tired and burnt out of school and returned home to Medellín. Without fulfilling his parents’ desire for a proper legal education, Cortés was greeted with irritation and disappointment. However, unknown to everyone, those two years at Salamanca and his experience as legal notary would provide Cortés with a comprehensive understanding of the legal codes of Castile and the Spanish Empire that would eventually save his life.

By this time, Cortés was starting to feel impressionable pangs from the surrounding environment during this era of exploration and conquest. The reports of Columbus’s momentous discovery of the new world were streaming back...