Published Date

May 1, 2004

Resource Type

Primary Source

This resource was developed in 2004 as part of “The Conquest of Mexico” by Nancy Fitch.

From Hernán Cortés, Cartas y relaciones de Hernan Cortés al emperador Carlos V, second letter, 145.

I remained at Cempoala with the rest of the men to provide for the interests of your Majesty. I also dispatched a messenger to the city of Tenochtitlan, by whom I made known to the Spaniards I had left there the success of my enterprise. This messenger returned from thence in twelve days, and brought me letters from the alcalde whom I had left in authority, in which he informed me that the Indians had attacked the garrison on all sides, and set fire to it in many places; that they had sunk mines about it, placing our people in imminent danger; all of whom would perish, unless Moctezuma should command the hostile operations to cease; that at the present moment they were closely invested, and although the fighting had been discontinued, yet no one was suffered to go two steps from the garrison. It was added, that a great part of their supplies had been forcibly seized, and that the enemy had burned the four brigantines I had built there; and finally, that our people were in extreme distress, and begged me to come to their aid with the greatest possible haste. Seeing to what extremities they were reduced, and that if I did not instantly fly to their relief, not only would their lives be sacrificed, together with all the gold, silver, and jewels, of which we had become possessed, as well the portion appertaining to your Highness, as that assigned to the army and myself; but that it would also involve the loss of the greatest and noblest city in the whole new world, and with it every thing we had gained. . . .