A City of Dreams Tenochtitlan / Mexico City 1511

Spanish conquistador (invader) Hernán Cortés and his small troop of soldiers first approached Tenochtitlan, the island capital of the Aztecs, on November 8, 1511. As one of his soldiers, Bernal Diaz, wrote, “…we saw so many cities and villages built in the water and other great towns on dry land and that straight and level Causeway going towards Mexico, we were amazed and said that it was like the enchantments they tell of in the legend of Amadis, on account of the great towers and temples and buildings rising from the water, all built of masonry. And some of our soldiers asked whether the things that we saw were not a dream.” In 1511, an estimated 250,000 to 350,000 people lived in Tenochititlan and its suburb Tlatelolco, which was five times the population of London at that time.  The Aztecs were ultimately defeated not by the strife within Mexico or by the guns and swords of the Spanish soldiers, but primarily by the smallpox germs carried by one of the Spanish slaves.