Moctezuma or Montezuma

Aztec emperor
Born: 1480?

In 1502 Moctezuma became the ninth emperor of the Aztec empire of Mexico. Almost constantly at war, the Aztecs had a large, expertly run army. But they were also masters of the more peaceful arts, and were highly skilled in architecture, art, engineering, mathematics, and astronomy. The Aztec capital of Tenonchtitlán, located on the site of present-day Mexico City, had a complex and sophisticated infrastructure. The temple complex and Moctezuma's luxurious and spectacular palace in Tenonchtitlán were architectural and artistic wonders. Under Moctezuma's rule, the Aztecs reached their zenith. But Moctezuma was also a harsh and repressive leader who ruled by fear.

When the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés arrived in Mexico, Moctezuma welcomed the foreigners as gods, believing they were descendants of the Aztec god Quetazlcoatl. In 1519, he entertained Cortés lavishly at his magnificent palace. Taking advantage of the situation, Cortés took Moctezuma hostage and attempted to rule the Aztecs through him. the following year, in 1520, the Aztecs rebelled against the Spanish. Moctezuma was killed in the ensuing battle. Tenochtitlán fell to the Spanish in 1521, signaling the demise of the Aztec empire.

Died: 1520