The following resources have been produced by SHP Regional Adviser for the southeast, Andy Harmsworth, to support teachers offering the OCR B World Depth Study ‘Aztecs and the Spanish Conquest, 1519-35’
This addresses one of the key issues in both the ‘Encounters’’ and ‘Conquest, 1519-21’ sections of the specification: why Moctezuma welcomed the invaders who went on to overthrow him and conquer his empire and, in particular, did he believe that Cortés was the returning Aztec god Quetzalcoatl? This in turn is related to the bigger question why were the Spanish, about 500 men, able to conquer an empire of 10 million people in just two years?
This resource focuses upon the arrival of Cortés and his men at Tenochtitlan in November 1519. Tenochtitlan was the capital of the Aztec Empire and, with a population of about 200,000, was one of the biggest cities in the world (the population of London at the time was about 50,000). These materials can be used either as an introduction to this World Depth Study or to the sections ‘Moctezuma’s Empire’ or ‘Encounters’.