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On This Day… The Spanish Defeated A Vast Aztec Army

Written by: George Chittenden : 20 May 2019

It was on this day, 7th July back in 1520 when Spanish forces defeated a vast Aztec army at the Battle of Otumba. The Spanish forces, numbering approximately 500, were completely outnumbered by the Aztecs who were over ten-thousand strong. Despite the over-whelming odds the Spanish secured a decisive victory, largely down to the fact that the Spanish used cavalry charges that broke through the Aztec ranks and decimated their lines. The leader of the Spanish, conquistador Hernán Cortés, ordered his troops to concentrate their attack on the captains and leaders of the enemy, recognising them by their armour.

It was supposedly Cortés himself who recognised the Aztec leader Matlatzincatl, and then sent his own captains to eliminate him. This proved fairly straight forward and the Aztec battle-standard was retrieved and delivered to Cortés. Following the death of their leader, the Aztec forces slowly diminished and the Spanish secured a victory. The battle occurred over a year after the Spanish had arrived in modern-day Mexico. The new arrivals had been welcomed into the Aztec Empire's main settlement, Tenochtitlan, however they performed a pre-emptive attack on the Aztecs during a ritual ceremony. The Spanish retreated from the city, and the Battle of Otumba was fought outside the city on a plain where they encountered a vast Aztec army.

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