Talk:Hernán Cortés

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Former good article nominee Hernán Cortés was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
June 21, 2006 Good article nominee Not listed
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The section "After the fall of Tenochtitlan" needs work[edit]

I am really not very comfortable with the following text but I'm not ready to remove it without a better understanding of the events described therein.

<begin quoted text> Bernal Diaz del Castillo tells us that other Spaniards supported him on his brutal decision to execute Cuauhtémoc. The execution eventually had to be carried out by Tlaxcallan soldiers. Notarized testimony at his many subsequent trials (for murdering his legal wife, etc.) has abundant testimony from friends and enemies alike that this crime ruined Cortés. He never forgave himself and seems to have gone somewhat mad.

Cortés took off on a senseless, death-defying expedition through Guatemala to Honduras to punish a fellow Spaniard who had betrayed him, and with his departure all shadow of personal authority left Mexico. He became paranoid as well, having Cuauhtémoc hanged over the strong objections of his men. <end quoted text>


My basic problem is that the above text is highly derogatory of Cortes and I just haven't seen any support for this assessment of his post-Tenochtitlan behavior. A more neutral discussion of his exploration of Baja California seems to be in order. I'll do try to do some research and then improve this section.

Link to online version of Cortez's first letter is wrong[edit]

Hi there,

I have noticed that the link provided to the online version of Cortez's first "Carta de Relacion" does not lead to the document (this is under "Writings"). Could someone change it? Please find below the correct link.

http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/IbrAmerTxt/IbrAmerTxt-idx?type=header&id=IbrAmerTxt.Spa0015&pview=hide

Thank you very much in advance.

March 12, 2008 (4:11 EST)

173.89.14.170 (talk) 15:34, 8 March 2009 (UTC)[edit]

Okay first of all I want to announce that all the comments made by bcr were made by me! bcr wasn't a real account. That was just a name I came up with to sign under. This was something I signed under with a different IP address before. However, I was wondering if I could remove all the comments I made on this page. I don't think it's fair to leave my comments if nobody cares about them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.89.14.170 (talkcontribs) 11:34, March 8, 2009

Misspelling of Cortez[edit]

In the other names section under Cortez's photo, his name is spelled "Cortes." Although it is correct to spell it with either an "s" or "z", if you go with the "s" ending need the "e" to be "é". So it should say "Cortés." Also I would recommend instead of using "Cortés," use "Cortez" because it is another way to correctly spell his name and it is under the other names section.

Done. Tarl.Neustaedter (talk) 02:30, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
Note that it is not correct to spell it with Z. Cortéz and Cortés are two different names with different pronunciations and different etymologies in Castillean Spanish (Cortéz means "son of Corto", Cortés means "courtly") - he never himself wrote it with a z, although other sources frequently do. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:35, 3 April 2012 (UTC)


Lagentepotente (talk) 21:01, 23 May 2012 (UTC)I would also recommend that the IPA spelling after the first appearance of the name "Cortés" in this section be changed to reflect the actual pronunciation of the name. Currently, the IPA shows the sign for the unvoiced "th" sound 'θ', when it is actually just an 's'.

"headed by Villafana, who was hanged"[edit]

"In January 1521, Cortés countered a conspiracy against him, headed by Villafana, who was hanged."

The article never mentions Villafana before this, nor who he is. ScienceApe (talk) 19:08, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

Antonio de Villafana. His sole claim to fame appears to have been the mutiny which resulted in his death. See (in spanish) http://www.antorcha.net/biblioteca_virtual/historia/solis/19_5.html Tarl.Neustaedter (talk) 21:02, 9 June 2012 (UTC)


Another problem "Fearing that Cuauhtémoc might head an insurrection in Mexico, he brought him with him in Honduras and hanged him during the journey."

The article introduces these random people in the article without any warning. Who is Cuauhtemoc? He was never mentioned before, but the article just introduces him and confuses the reader. These two issues should be resolved. ScienceApe (talk) 23:53, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Cuauhtémoc is mentioned earlier, as the last Tlatoani (emperor) of the Aztecs, whose capture by Cortés ended their empire. In that mention, there is a wikilink to his page. In the context of the Aztec Empire, Cuauhtémoc is one of the two most recognizable names (his predecessor Moctezuma being marginally better known outside Mexico), so probably does not require more mention here. Tarl.Neustaedter (talk) 00:11, 11 June 2012 (UTC)


I had considered changing the following line: There, he encountered Geronimo de Aguilar, a Spanish Franciscan priest who had survived a shipwreck a period in captivity of the local Maya before escaping.

I considered changing the line to: There, he encountered Geronimo de Aguilar, a Spanish Franciscan priest who had survived a shipwreck and a period of captivity by the local Maya before escaping.

I could find no edit button for no clear reason and therefore the article remains unchanged. -not signed (talk) 02:55, 10 November 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.205.133.50 (talk)

Scuttled Ships[edit]

I thought Matthew Restall's book mentioned that Cortes/Cortez never scuttled his ships and that the story was part of the myth surrounding Cortes/Cortez. Please see page 19 of Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest byron— Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.131.173.214 (talk) 23:34, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Irrelevant or inaccurate passage[edit]

The text reading "Estrada sent Diego de Figueroa to the south; but de Figueroa raided graveyards and extorted contributions, meeting his end when the ship carrying these treasures sank" should have either a [citation needed] or be removed entirely. The bearing of the information on the article is not clear, and the story does not appear under Diego de Figueroa's article.

Natural children?[edit]

Is 'natural children' (as in the first sentence of section Children) some kind of standard phrase in English, meaning something like 'he made them himself', not another guy? Just curious... (since unnatural children would be weird). Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 17:35, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

"Natural Children" is a polite way of saying "illegitimate" or "bastards". This mattered in the 16th century. Tarl.Neustaedter (talk) 18:28, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Early Life[edit]

This section contains incorrect information regarding Cortés's studies. The second paragraph states: "At the age of 14, Cortés was sent to study at the University of Salamanca in west-central Spain. This was Spain's great center of learning, and while accounts vary as to the nature of Cortés's studies, his later writings and actions suggest he studied Law and probably Latin." It is a myth that Cortés studied at the University of Salamanca. There is no record of his name in the comprehensive register of students of this university, and he himself made no such claim, despite his penchant for self-promotion; others who knew him well also said nothing of the sort. His biographer, Francisco López de Gómara, states in the first chapter of his History of the Conquest of Mexico (1552): "When he was fourteen years of age, his parents sent him to study in Salamanca, where he studied for two years, learning grammar in the house of Francisco Núñez de Valera, who was married to Inés de Paz, the sister of Cortés's father." These are clearly pre-university studies, and the phrase "in Salamanca" refers to the city, not the university. When Cortés returned home, Gómara continues, "his parents regretted it greatly, as they wished that he study Law, a rich faculty honored among all others." A good analysis of the myth of Cortés's university education and its sources is: David A. Boruchoff, “Hernán Cortés,” International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 2nd edition (Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008), 2: 146a-49a. Available online at http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Hernan_Cortes.aspx. I would correct the article, but it is protected. Maybe someone with authority can correct it instead. Onlythefactsmaam (talk) 15:24, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

You have more than sufficient authority to make that change (which is correct and impportant) yourself. Authority is a funciton of the quality of sources you have at your disposal, and Boruchoff is a fine and very reliable source.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:22, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Made the change requested. User:Onlythefactmaam would not have been able to, not enough edits to qualify as autoconfirmed yet. Tarl.Neustaedter (talk) 19:20, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Why doesn't the article include the interesting information discussed here on the talk page? There are also a number of unreferenced notes in the article. My teachers always insist that our footnotes include the complete name of the authors cited and the titles and page numbers of the works, etc. A lot of the notes in the article are missing these things. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.87.31.178 (talk) 16:48, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Narrative confusion[edit]

In the section, Last years and legacy, Cortés is described as "heavily in debt". The narrative continues that "he made a claim on the royal treasury, but was given a royal runaround". But in the following paragraph, we are informed that "he died a wealthy ... man" who "left his many mestizo and white children well cared for in his will". The story is self contradictory. — O'Dea (talk) 09:45, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

It was a confusing time. He died wealthy in property (Marquis of the valley of Oaxaca), but deeply in debt because of cash flow problems. This was a not uncommon situation. Tarl.Neustaedter (talk) 15:54, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. If this is the case, a reliable verification needs to be found so the article can be clarified. It also needs to be explained how he could be "heavily in debt" and yet leave his family "well cared for in his will". How could he not leave himself well cared for while he was alive? Could he not liquidate his assets? The explanation raises questions. — O'Dea (talk) 19:34, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Generally feudal nobility could not liquidate their assets since titles could not be traded, and property was dependent on titles. But I agree that we should look at some reliable biographies to resolve his actual financial status at the end of his life.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:16, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

Mexico City[edit]

Of course the Spanish did not name Tenochtitlán "Mexico City" but Ciudad de México. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 189.234.222.153 (talk) 19:14, 29 August 2014 (UTC)