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What if Cortez had lost, and the Aztecs won?

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  • What if Cortez had lost, and the Aztecs won?

    It was a strange, Improbable victory in any case. If a less superstitious Emperor had been in charge, or if Moctezuma had been overthrown as soon as things started going sour, Cortez and his little band would have been nothing more than an unusual snack for that Empire.

    Of course, that snack left a great deal of heartburn. The pox killed many, but the Byzantine Empire survived equaly severe misery and managed to carry on.

    The Aztec Empire was in it's prime at that time, still on the upswing, as was the case with Rome at the time of Ceaser. Could an early set-back for Spain have lead to centuries of warfare in Central America? It is not impossible that England or another rival could have supplied the Aztecs with just enough technical know-how to withstand Spain's advances?

    Spain would have been deprived of the gold it used to impose it's will on the rest of Europe that century, so much would have been different there, right up to the thirty years war and beyond.
    There was also the Inca Empire, a possible rival to southern Aztec expansion, or an ally against the plauge-bearing Europeans.

    North American Indian tribes might have turned to those same Europens for help against the cannibalistic Aztecs, who celebrated religious holidays by slaughtering POWs. The Tlaxcalans already had.

    The whole pattern of colonization would have changed.... but in what ways?
    "Why is the Rum gone?"

    -Captain Jack

  • #2
    Aztec empire:



    Byzantine Empire under Justinian:



    You can't compare the two.
    Flag: USA / Location: West Coast

    Prayers.

    BoRG

    http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/8757/snap1ws8.jpg

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PtsX_Z3CMU

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    • #3
      I was talking about resistance to the devestating influence of plague, not acreage.

      THat map of the Aztecs looks puny, are you sure that this was all they had any influence over?
      The Mayans were long gone, anyway.
      "Why is the Rum gone?"

      -Captain Jack

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
        I was talking about resistance to the devestating influence of plague, not acreage.

        THat map of the Aztecs looks puny, are you sure that this was all they had any influence over?
        The reason why the map of the Aztec Empire look puny is because it was, at least in the standard compared to European or Asian empires anyway.

        Map of the Aztec Empire from Wiki:


        Flag: USA / Location: West Coast

        Prayers.

        BoRG

        http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/8757/snap1ws8.jpg

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PtsX_Z3CMU

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        • #5
          I'd say this what if does raise a valid question.

          first, it was very plausible that Cortez bought the farm. after all, if not for montezuma's naive believing (I mean, people believe in god... what a concept?!) and if they fought better, the chances of the 500 or so spaniards were slim.

          so if utterly defeated and sacrificed on Tehituacan's pyramid, what woudl be spain reaction?

          another expedition, this time 100 times stronger? i.e. stay the course (and ultimately win)

          or negotiate trade agreements?
          "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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          • #6
            Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
            I'd say this what if does raise a valid question.

            first, it was very plausible that Cortez bought the farm. after all, if not for montezuma's naive believing (I mean, people believe in god... what a concept?!) and if they fought better, the chances of the 500 or so spaniards were slim.

            so if utterly defeated and sacrificed on Tehituacan's pyramid, what woudl be spain reaction?

            another expedition, this time 100 times stronger? i.e. stay the course (and ultimately win)
            Send more soldiers. Thats what they did when Cortez was run out of Mexico. After Montezumas death a group of senior Aztec leaders mobilized the fighters and attacked the Spaniards, killing many and sending the surviors retreating back to the coast. Cortez had already burned his ships so return to Cuba was not a option. He did have some small craft to carry messages back to home base. The governor of Cuba had pleanty of suplus young gentlemen available, so reinforcements were dispatched. With another few hundred men, horses, and a lots of gunpowder the Spaniards used their political skills to organize a revolt of several subject states against the Aztecs. There was a hard war of several years as the Spaniards and allies slowly defeated the Aztecs and their allies.

            A paralle example is the Navarro expidition into the Mississppi basin of North America. Only four men survived out of 300+, but the Spanish sent two or three more larger expiditions from the Gulf coast into Florida, Loisiana, Texas, and as far north as Kansas before they gave up.

            Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
            or negotiate trade agreements?
            The Spainards negotiated with many of the small nations they encountered. The Aztecs had little to gain from talkand expended themselves trying to preserve their empire.

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            • #7
              If cortez had been sacrificed (which if my memory serves correctly almost happened) the expdition would likely have been wiped out. This would have left the Aztecs with several firearms and western swords. Even if they could not figure out how to use the firearms, the Aztecs would still have the swords which they could have easily figured out how to use. If some of the spanish were spared, they may have agreed to teach the Aztecs how to use the firearms or make more swords in exchange for not being sacrificed. The Aztec military would then have at least a few champions armed metal blades if not a small battalion with muskets as well. They would also have some knowledge of spanish tactics.

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              • #8
                I agree that the death of Cortez would have made the Conquista very problematical. His arrival arrival coincided with the prophecy of the return of Quetzalcouatl and the convincing identification of Cortez by the woman known as La Malinche to the subject tribes as the Feathered Snake God had a lot to do with their willingness to follow him against the Aztec Empire.
                "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
                George Mason
                Co-author of the Second Amendment
                during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Engineer 1888 View Post
                  If cortez had been sacrificed (which if my memory serves correctly almost happened) the expdition would likely have been wiped out. This would have left the Aztecs with several firearms and western swords. Even if they could not figure out how to use the firearms, the Aztecs would still have the swords which they could have easily figured out how to use. If some of the spanish were spared, they may have agreed to teach the Aztecs how to use the firearms or make more swords in exchange for not being sacrificed. The Aztec military would then have at least a few champions armed metal blades if not a small battalion with muskets as well. They would also have some knowledge of spanish tactics.
                  good points. it may mean that now it might be US citizens crossing the mississipi into Aztexico for work?
                  "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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                  • #10
                    it may mean that now it might be US citizens crossing the mississipi into Aztexico for work?

                    Not a chance. Mexico lost all that territory because they could not colonize or even govern so much land. THey failed at that because they did not attract the immigrants that the US did... Mexico just didn't have a very atractive system, or offer much improvement over European treatment of its peoples.


                    Now, that was an interesting point about captured armaments. Matchlock muskets might not have been very handy (and powder would have been hard to come by) but steel weapons and body armor would have been a revelation to the Aztecs!

                    How much crazier could it get? The Portugese might have smuggled a few mecenaries ashore on the west coast, and provided a few artisans and blacksmiths, just to keep things interesting.

                    Would Spanish arrogance have caused other tribes to join the Aztecs? I doubt it. The Aztec religion was one of it's most hideous features, they indulged in up to 20,000 human sacrifices on certain holidays.

                    It would have been a struggle that might have gone on for decades, depending on how much of a breather the Spanish gave the Aztecs. The Spanish Infantryman was a formidable fellow, probably the best soldier of that century, but how many would have been needed to subdue an Empire that was ready for them?
                    If it was a serious enough struggle, the Spanish Armada might never have been possible, and Spain might not have spared any ships or men to take part in the battle of Lepanto (OOPS!).
                    The Aztecs would eventualy have been beaten, but when? 1550... or 1750?
                    "Why is the Rum gone?"

                    -Captain Jack

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                    • #11
                      Spain had a plentifull supply of soldiers. Even with the emberrasment of the loss of Cortez on the pyramid top Spanish determination generally bore thru. The previous example of the multiple expeditions into North America, despite the complete loss of Navarros group demonstrates this. That the Spaniards continued sending these armies into the Florida swamps or the western plains just on the rumor of gold suggests they were not going to give up looting the proven Aztec wealth easily.

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                      • #12
                        probley a diffrent United States
                        "The people never have the power, only the illusion of it. And here is the real secret: they don't want it. The responsibility is too great to bear. It's why they are so quick to fall in line as soon as someone else takes charge."
                        "

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                          Spain had a plentifull supply of soldiers. Even with the emberrasment of the loss of Cortez on the pyramid top Spanish determination generally bore thru. The previous example of the multiple expeditions into North America, despite the complete loss of Navarros group demonstrates this. That the Spaniards continued sending these armies into the Florida swamps or the western plains just on the rumor of gold suggests they were not going to give up looting the proven Aztec wealth easily.
                          Exactly. As soon as the Spaniards learned that there was almost limitless amounts of gold in the area, they would have soon re-doubled their efforts many times over. In one way or another, the Aztec's day was over.
                          "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ace View Post
                            probley a diffrent United States
                            Cerrtainly had Spain been somehow repeled from the Aztec region the colonial pattern would have been different.

                            There have been several science fiction storys about this. In one Jews fleeing pogroms in Europe bring metalurgy and other technology to the American civilizations a century or two before Columbus. The would be Conquistadors or the early 1500s are horrified to run into a energetic Jewish civilization with serious military skills.

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                            • #15
                              a energetic Jewish civilization with serious military skills.

                              A contradiction in terms back then, wasn't it?

                              Columbus just barely made it, with teh best technology of the day and seamanship skills that were incredible. I find it hard to believe that anyone could have made it before he did, unless they used the nothern route. During the little Ice Age, that was not likely.

                              Wild idea, even cooler then the idea of China arriving at the same time, and a world war errupting over contol and colonization of the whole Hemisphere.
                              "Why is the Rum gone?"

                              -Captain Jack

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