Cortes studied law in Spain but then he decided to come over to the Americas. Upon his arrival he joined force with velazquez to conquer Cuba. They did and in 1511 he became the mayor of Cuba. Cortes in 1519 persuaded Velaquez (governor) to allow an expedition to Mexico. Velazquez was skeptical but approved the trip anyway. So Cortes was of to Mexico with six-hundred men and twenty horses. Hernan sailed along the Yucatan and landed in Tabasco. Here he learned of Montezuma II and the Aztecs. During this time Cortes found a mistress named Marina. She helped as an interpreter, guide and counselor for the Spainards. Cortes then established a town, Veracruz. Here he removed the authority of Velaquez . He also burnt the ships which had brought them to prevent people from returning.
Hernan Cortes and his men marched for weeks to reach the acclaimed Tenochtitlan. On his way he met up with the Tlaxcalanc who formed an alliance with him against the Aztecs. In November of 1519, Cortes finally reached the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. Upon his arrival the Axtecs believed Cortes and the Spainards were the return of Quetzalcoatl. Quetzalcoatl was the axtec god-king who was light skinned, bearded, and would return from the east. All of these descriptions fitted Hernan. Hence, the Spainards were treated lavishly and roamed freely throughout the city. During this time the Spainish found a lot of gold stored throughout the city. Even with the lavish treatment the Spainish were receiving they still captured Montezuma II. Meanwhile, Velaquez, in Cuba dispatches Narvaez and to get Cortes for treason. Hernan hears of the news and goes to the coast to meet Narvaez. Cortes then persuades Narvaez and his troops to join him inn the conquests of the Aztecs. Upon his return to Tenochtitlan the Aztecs had revolted. Montezuma tells his people not to revolt, by the force of Cortes. Montezuma is stoned tree days later by his people. The Spainiards were then driven out on the famous Noche Triste in June of 1520. Cortes settled in Tlaxcala and reorganized his army. He then entered Tenochtitlan and defeated Cuauhtemoc bringing the end to the Aztecs.
On the ruins of Tenochtitlan Cortes built Mexico City (the largest modern-day city). Cortes was named governor and captian of New Spain due to the riches he achieved for Spain. Hernan also went on to discover the Baja Peninsula and explore the Pacific Coast of Mexico. He retired to a small estate in Seville, were he later died in 1547.