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Conquering America

On Good Friday, April 20, 1519, a fleet of Spanish ships landed near present-day Veracruz. Shortly after landing, a nobleman with a law degree, Hernán Cortés, led a small army to conquer the gold-rich Aztec empire by 1521. His expeditionary corps numbered only 110 sailors, 553 soldiers, a maximum of 50 horses, 200 indigenous slaves and 14 artillery pieces. However, it would be naive to think that Cortés destroyed the Aztec empire with several hundred European troops - he commanded a large army of at least tens of thousands, but probably a much larger Totonak army, the main enemies of the Aztecs, who enthusiastically welcomed Cortés' arrival as a good opportunity to launch an armed uprising.

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