What If? | The Immolation of Hernán Cortés


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"Cortés and his men leapt across the breach in the causeway to pursue the fleeing Aztecs, only to see them turn and attack. Drawn into the trap, Cortés and sixty-eight other Spaniards were captured and dragged off, leaving scores of others dead on the road. Ten captives were killed immediately, and…the remaining fifty-eight were taken to the towering Great Temple, which could plainly be seen from the Spaniards' camp, made to dance before the statue of the Aztec god of war, Huitzilopochtli, and then, on by one, they were sacrificed…Cortés escaped this fate only through the intervention of Cristóbal de Olea, who sprang to his defense, killed the four Aztecs who were dragging him off, and freed his leader at the cost of his own life. The very conquest of Mexico hung on this single act." — Ross Hassig, "The Immolation of Hernán Cortés

What if Cortés had died on the causeway or at any other point in his dangerous career?

Join us as we continue asking "What if", speak to what might have happened if the conquistador had met his end at the hands of those he sought to conquer, and how our world might be different today.

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