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Aztecs: The Fall of Tenochtitlan *

The Aztecs have known from the first that Hernando Cortés and the Conquistadors are not gods. Inviting them into the city of Tenochtitlan (teh-nosh-TIT-lahn) was a ruse to size them up but Cortés took Emperor Montezuma hostage which angered the Aztecs. The Emperor died as the Conquistadors escaped the city. The Emperor was replaced by his younger brother but he died of small pox so he was replaced by a cousin, Emperor Descending Eagle. These rapid changes cause chaos in the chain of command. The Aztecs cannot work it out before Cortés returns with over 2,000 Conquistadors at his back. Tenochtitlan falls and Emperor Descending Eagle is captured. The Emperor makes Cortés promise to protect his family. Cortés will arrange a marriage between the Emperor's 12-year-old daughter, Isabel (a Christianized name), and a Conquistador. She is already a two-time widow and she will have several marriages before she becomes pregnant at the age of 17. Cortés will be the father. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Warning: all reports on Cortés should be taken with a grain of salt. If you want to think of him as the biggest butthead on the planet, I won't try to dissuade you. He has some determined enemies including his own wife, Catalina. (It's a long story.) By next year she will be dead. It really smells but he will walk away unscathed. He will send several Aztecs back to Europe to expose the Old World to New World culture including the wonders of a rubber ball and a game that looks like a combination of soccer and basketball. Cortés will introduce cattle ranching to the Americas, and slavery to the North American continent. Had he focused on developing his lands, he might have done better with what he had but like Christopher Columbus, he will neglect his administrative duties to seek adventure.

Martin Luther and the Diet of Worms

Martin Luther is called to Worms to defend his 95 Theses. Pope Leo the 10th has already excommunicated him and issued an opinion that the 95 Theses contain 44 errors. Martin Luther shows up, and defies the Holy Roman Emperor by refusing to recant his alleged heresies. The speech he gives to the Diet is short and to the point. In summary: he is willing to set his own books to the flames if anyone, great or small, can demonstrate through the words of the New Testament or the Prophets where he is wrong. Usually such defiance is a guaranteed trip to the horizontal barbeque (burning at the stake), but Martin Luther has convinced some powerful princes and they manage to protect him for now. [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
A link to Martin Luther's speech can be found below. The last time a prominent person had been called up to defend his alleged heresies was John Wycliffe who died of a heart attack in 1384 before he could make travel arrangements to Rome and Jan Hus who had been guaranteed safe passage, but was burned at the stake anyway in 1415. A terrible war ensued that lasted for years and ended more from exhaustion than anything else. Nothing really changed. The Church has kicked the can down the road one too many times. Martin Luther has put his foot down but make no mistake... the strongest man knows to step aside as a bull comes charging at him. Martin Luther will drop out of sight for a year.[6]

Magellan Reaches the Known World and Dies

Ferdinand Magellan has attempted the circumnavigation of the world by going south around South America into the Pacific Ocean. This year he has found Guam, and the Philippines. He befriends and converts a number of the natives to Christianity, and in the midst of a minor war between tribes, Magellan is stabbed to death. His officers will continue the journey to Spain, coming full circle.

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Out of the 237 men who began this journey in 1519 only 18 men will return to port in 1522. Juan Sebastián Elcano will bring the Victoria home with a load of spices. This is not an ideal route to the Philippines but now they know it can be done. They keep missing Australia though.[7]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1521, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Moctezuma II - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 17 February 2015. “Moctezuma II (c. 1466--29 June 1520), also known by a number of variant spellings including Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma and referred to in full by early Nahuatl texts as Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin (Moctezuma the Young),[N.B. 1] was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of Tenochtitlan, reigning from 1502 to 1520. The first contact between indigenous civilizations of Mesoamerica and Europeans took place during his reign, and he was killed during the initial stages of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, when Conquistador Hernán Cortés and his men fought to escape from the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan.”
  2. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (BOOK), Knopf. ISBN 9780307265722. “But despite taking the Triple Alliance emperor hostage in his own palace--a paralyzing surprise to the enemy--the initial assault failed calamitously. Indeed, the Spaniards barely escaped from Tenochtitlan.” 
  3. The Fall of the Aztec Empire. Aztec-History.com (2015). Retrieved on 16 February 2015. “25% of the empire is said to have been lost to the disease alone. But more importantly, the Aztec chain of command was in ruins. The emperor, Cuitláhuac, died of smallpox, along with many of the leaders of the army.”
  4. Diet of Worms - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 17 February 2015. “Emperor Charles V commenced the Imperial Diet of Worms on 28 January 1521. Luther was summoned to renounce or reaffirm his views. When he appeared before the assembly on 16 April, Johann Eck, an assistant of the Archbishop of Trier (Dan Bornfeld at that time), acted as spokesman for the emperor.”
  5. Luther defiant at Diet of Worms — History.com This Day in History — 4/18/1521. History.com (April 18, 1521). Retrieved on 17 February 2015. “Refusing to recant or rescind his positions, Luther was declared an outlaw and a heretic. Powerful German princes protected him, however, and by his death in 1546 his ideas had significantly altered the course of Western thought.”
  6. Before the Diet of Worms. Bartleby.com (1521). Retrieved on 17 February 2015. “I implore you by the mercies of God to prove to me by the writings of the prophets and apostles that I am in error. As soon as I shall be convinced, I will instantly retract all my errors, and will myself be the first to seize my writings, and commit them to the flames.”
  7. Ferdinand Magellan - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 17 February 2015. “When Victoria, the one surviving ship, returned to the harbor of departure after completing the first circumnavigation of the Earth, only 18 men out of the original 237 men were on board.”

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