Europeans Invade the Aztec Empire

Hernán Cortés
“Cortés’ 1524 Map of Tenochtitlan,” in Praeclara Ferdinādi Cortesii de Noua maris Oceani Hyspania narratio [...]
Nuremberg, Germany: Friedrich Peypus, 1524

In his letters to the Hapsburg Emperor Charles V, King of Spain, Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés trumpeted his exploits, and described the people and wonders of the new land he had conquered. This map, published with Cortés’s letters, provided Europeans with the first image of the Aztec capital city, Tenochtitlan.

Although in ruins at the time of the map’s publication, the island city, with the Aztec sacred ceremonial district at its heart, appears serene and orderly under the double eagle and crown of the Hapsburg imperial flag. The smaller map to the left represents the Gulf of Mexico.

Newberry Library: Ayer 655.51 .C8 1524d

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