The Last Emperor of the Aztecs


Book Details

Author  Charles River Editors
Publication Date   October 1, 2012
Pages  36


*Discusses the legends and controversies surrounding Montezuma's life and death, and the conquest of the Aztec Empire by Cortes
*Describes the Aztec Empire, the city of Tenochtitlan, and the human sacrifice rituals.
*Includes pictures of historic art depicting Montezuma and important people, places, and events.
*Includes a Table of Contents.

"Cortés and all of us captains and soldiers wept for him, and there was no one among us that knew him and had dealings with him who did not mourn him as if he were our father, which was not surprising, since he was so good. It was stated that he had reigned for seventeen years, and was the best king they ever had in Mexico, and that he had personally triumphed in three wars against countries he had subjugated. I have spoken of the sorrow we all felt when we saw that Montezuma was dead. We even blamed the Mercederian friar for not having persuaded him to become a Christian." – Bernal Díaz del Castillo

Nearly 500 years after his death and the demise of his empire, Moctezuma II is the most famous ruler of the most famous civilization in the New World, the Aztec. For centuries the legends surrounding his life and the conquest of the Aztecs by Hernan Cortes have fascinated readers and historians alike.

Moctezuma was born around 1466 in the legendary Aztec city of Tenochtitlan and into the ruling family of the Aztec Confederacy. In the Nahuatl language, his name means “Angry Lord” or “Strong Armed Lord,” and he was the ninth ruler of the Aztecs, who called their leaders tlatoani. Though he is the best known ruler of the Aztec today, he was actually the second Aztec tlatoani to bear the name Moctezuma, after he assumed the throne from his uncle.

The Spanish conquest of the Aztec and some of the myths and legends surrounding it have made his name (and variations of it like Montezuma) instantly recognizable around the globe, his life is shrouded in mystery; Bernal Diaz del Castillo’s The Conquest of New Spain and Miguel Leon-Portilla’s translation of the Aztec observation of the conquest, The Broken Spears, recorded but a few details about the last Aztec ruler’s life. Also, these two sources are only concerned with the circumstances surrounding the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs and therefore only deal with the very end of Moctecuma II’s life and reign. Thus, his early life largely remains a mystery.

So what is known about the famous Aztec ruler? Naturally, there is still a fierce debate over what happened during the conquest of the Aztec, and one of the most controversial episodes of the conquest was Moctezuma’s death. But all of the sources agree that Moctezuma – sometimes called Moctezuma the Younger – generally possessed a reputation as a valiant warrior and was considered a courageous combat leader among his people. Myths and legends have helped fill in the blanks, regardless of their accuracy, and many of them have since become the best known details of Moctezuma’s life.

The Last Emperor of the Aztecs chronicles the life and legacy of the famous ruler and examines the myths, legends and historical accounts in an attempt to separate fact from fiction. Along with pictures of famous art depicting important people, places, and events, you will learn about Moctezuma II like you never have before.

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