Why was the Aztec Empire seemingly uninterested in stopping Cortés?

Feb 2017
421
Latin America
It might be that Montezuma was afraid because some of his vassals almost immediately started to collaborate with Cortes. For example leader of Cempoalla was very impressed with the victory of Hernando Cortes at Tabasco where the Spaniards won the battle mostly because they had firearms. He recieved Cortes and his small army with gifts and they discussed the possibilities to break the Aztecs rule with joined forces. When Aztecs were informed about this early collaboration they sent some of their nobles and demanded that twenty boys and girls should be given to them so that they will sacrifice them to gods as punishment. Cortes then played a tricky game. He demanded that nobles must be jailed and when Indians did this he enabled two of them to escape and told them that he was angry because they were treated badly. Later he intervened and also others were released. So Montezuma got a massage from this episode that Cortes respects him and his empire and would probably like to negotiate some kind of deal. And for quite some time he tried then with diplomacy.

The conquest of Mexico, written by William H. Prescott, published in Ljubljana, 1954, pages 178-182.
They didn't win largely because of firearms, but because Mayans couldn't board their ships, while cavalry that Cortés had sent beforehand returned and attacked the Mayans from the rear. It was basically the same scenario as Adrianople.
 

MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,211
Kansas
Yes, if using a troops rotating system. First 10k would attack Spanish while others waiting and after half of hour those 10k would be replaced with second corps... etc. Like in sports. Only that after few turns Spanish would be unable to raise their hands not to fight with them.

Cortez of course knew that he needs to win fast and killing leaders was the best option because they were having no replacements to step in.
Or use the classic Roam trick, see who want to play on your side and make them fight the battle for you. :)
 

Zip

Jan 2018
648
Comancheria
If you think I'm doing that, why don't you come and dispute anything I say?
I don't care to, frankly it's not worth the effort since I think you'll simply repeat your assertions with increased vehemence. And many of your assertions aren't history but alternate history--would'a, should'a, could'a.

Look here, you started a thread asking questions and then argued with those who answered. If you answered the question I missed it, if so please point out the post.
 

macon

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
4,198
Slovenia, EU
Where is this about rotating attacks? The Aztecs had divisions with proyectile troops and close combatants like any other army on Earth and used both in alternating ways, like any other army on Earth, but they wouldn't come in waves. That's not how they fought. Their infantry charged with full force like any other army on Earth.

Moreover, even a force of 10,000 should have been more than enough to have taken care of Cortés rather meagre 1,500 men. Even if he takes a strong defensive position inside his ships and tries to attack by surprise from the rear with his cavalry like he did with the Mayans at Centla, he is not winning because Aztec infantry should be strong and professional enough to survive even a surprise cavalry charge (like they did multiple times at Otumba, where cavalry only broke the Aztec infantry because the Tlaxcalans pinned them down and even then only after several assaults). The Mayans routed by Cortés's surprise cavalry charge at Centla were far from being a threat because it was a local levied army of a trade town, far from the hardy and well-trained men the Aztecs had.
Aztec hardy men were not so hardy because they were having mixed troops of different quality, veterans and recruits mixed. No, infantries on earth were not charging with full force from Hannibal and Cannae on. It is called separate units under separate leaders and while some fight others rest. 10.000 is nothing against Spaniards with iron weapons and armor defending a hill or a choke point especially when those 10.000 have a goal not to kill but to capture. What happened in such attack were hundreds of Aztec dead piling between then and Spanish line.

Here is a big difference why Mapuche were successful against Spanish: they were killing Spanish from a start and they were less orthodox and ceremonial in everything: from guerilla, night attacks, terrain use to adornment of their leaders: they were not sticking out so much from their horde as Aztec ones (obviously because they were hunters/ gatherers and poorer).

I still think that Moctezuma II's passivity was a big factor and that Ahuitzotl would have acted much better.
 
Feb 2017
421
Latin America
Aztec hardy men were not so hardy because they were having mixed troops of different quality, veterans and recruits mixed. No, infantries on earth were not charging with full force from Hannibal and Cannae on. It is called separate units under separate leaders and while some fight others rest. 10.000 is nothing against Spaniards with iron weapons and armor defending a hill or a choke point especially when those 10.000 have a goal not to kill but to capture. What happened in such attack were hundreds of Aztec dead piling between then and Spanish line.

Here is a big difference why Mapuche were successful against Spanish: they were killing Spanish from a start and they were less orthodox and ceremonial in everything: from guerilla, night attacks, terrain use to adornment of their leaders: they were not sticking out so much from their horde as Aztec ones (obviously because they were hunters/ gatherers and poorer).

I still think that Moctezuma II's passivity was a big factor and that Ahuitzotl would have acted much better.
Mapuches were not "hunter-gatherers". They had agriculture and the whole of the Southern Cone had been doing metallurgy for centuries. I believe they were even moulding platinum like Incas further above and learned the process from them.
 

macon

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
4,198
Slovenia, EU
Mapuches were not "hunter-gatherers". They had agriculture and the whole of the Southern Cone had been doing metallurgy for centuries. I believe they were even moulding platinum like Incas further above and learned the process from them.
Also north American Indians were having agriculture but big part of them were still hunter gatherers. Density of Mapuche settlement says that they were a combination and also so much to south and on such terrain that 100% agriculturalism was impossible.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,817
Spain
Simple note:

Pánfilo de Narváez was not killed. He died drowned in a storm in what 150 years later it willd be know as Mississippi mouth.
Spaniards used dogs for fighting in America... firearms were not so much important... as it is proves in bones... Spaniards killed more with swords and spears than firearms...horses were short in number in Mexican campaign but very important.

Araucanos didn´t win the war...it was a "draw"....they didn´t win more battles and always using numerical superiority.

The Chilean historian Francisco Antonio Encina Armalet calculated Spanish casualties in Arauco Wars (1536 - 1772) in 35.000 deads+ 60.000 auxiliary indians. Araucanian casualties were 200.000 dead
 
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