Mexico City Marks 500 Years Since Conquest Battle Began

An ancient Aztec temple, foreground, a Spanish colonial church, top center, apartments, top left, and a modern government office constructed in the 1960s, right, stand in the Plaza of Three Cultures in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The plaza honors Indigenous Mexico, Spanish colonialism and the “modern” mixed-race Mexico that resulted from the conquest 500 years ago. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

(AP) — There are two ways of remembering the Spanish siege of Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital now known as Mexico City. It was either the painful birth of modern Mexico, or the start of centuries of enslavement.

The world-changing battle started May 22, 1521, and lasted until the city fell to the conquistadores on Aug. 13th. It was one of the few times an organized Indigenous army under local command fought European colonizers to a standstill for months.

The final defeat helped set the template for much of the conquest and colonization that came afterward. Historian Salvador Rueda says “The fall of Tenochtitlan opened the modern history of the West.”


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