He did fail and survive, at Noche Triste. Retreated out of Anahuac, he was in a trouble with the few hundreds of men who had escaped with their lives from Tenochtitlan - not only had he led hundreds of Spaniards to being massacred by enemies against express orders first to not fight (only explore and trade), and then not sail at all, but he had directly killed a number of Spaniards for obeying orders - hanged two in 1519, and killed 15 of Narvaez in 1520. If the survivors of Noche Triste had insisted on going back to safety of Cuba, or even just retreating to coast and waiting for adequate reinforcements,, Cortez would have had to answer not just for disobedience but for Spanish blood shed.
If the survivors of Noche Triste had insisted on going back to safety of Cuba, or even just retreating to coast and waiting for adequate reinforcements,, Cortez would have had to answer not just for disobedience but for Spanish blood shed.
"Although the elite is mostly Spanish, they tend to identify with the Aztec civilization, rather than glorifying its Spanish conquest. "
I'm an Anglo who has lived over 15 years in Mexico. I also speak fluent Spanish and know locals (many of whom are friends) from all the socioeconomic groups.
To perhaps over generalize, there are three groups in Mexico:
The Indios, who are primarily of the indigenous races (and still sometimes don't speak Spanish or speak it as a second language)
The Mestizos, who are of mixed Indian and Spanish blood, are the largest of the three groups and socioeconomically are in the middle
The Creoles, who have the highest percentage of Spanish blood and are usually part of the highest socioeconomic level. (In reality there is virtually no one in Mexco today of pure Spanish blood; everyone is really a Mestizo or Indio.)
The highest concentration of indigenous people are in Chiapas and the most southern parts of Mexico. They do not identify with the Aztecs, as they are not of Aztec blood, but rather descend form peoples conquered by the Aztecs. Indios identiy with their indigenous (most often Mayan) heritage; however, they are so poorly educated they do not know enough about their ethnic and cultural history to know much if anything about the origin of their cultural identity.
The Mestizos--those of mixed Spanish and Indian blood--are the largest group. They think of the themselves as Mexicans and tend to look down on the indigenous people--who are often referred to as "Marias"--as much because of their poverty as their race. (BTW, in Latin America the Columbus Dia holiday is called Dia de la Raza (Day of the Race) because Latin Americans view Mestizos as a distinct race; and the one that the majority of Mexicans see themselves as belonging to.)
The Creoles consider themselves superior to the indigenous peoples and the Mestizos; however, they view themselves as being the "real Mexicans." They do not identify with their Spanish heritage and would be insulted to hear someone say they identify themselves with an indigenous people such as the Aztecs. The reason is the Mexican War of Independence was really a struggle between those born in Spain and the Creoles, or people of Spanish blood born in the New World. The Creoles won, but have no love for Spain because they were treated as inferiors by the Peninsular born Spaniards prior to gaining independence from Spain. (In Old Spain there were 16 different legal "racial" groups with each group having different rights. For example, a person with father born in Spaish and a mother of Spanish blood born in Mexico was of a higher legal class than a person with a father of Spanish blood born in Mexico and mother born in Spain. The Creoles were by law second class citizens who lacked some of the rights that only belonged to those whose father and mother were Peninsular born Spaniards. The term "cabarello" actually means horseman, because by law only certain classes were permitted to ride horses. )