Certainly, it wasn’t the ignorance of foreign threats, oppressive rule which alienated subjects, or Spanish weaponry which undid the Mexica empire. It's like asking why King Richard the first didn't bring a bunch of gold to give to the poor when he went to the holy land like Mansa Musa did. The problem with the tooth examination strategy is that it can only look at DNA, but some viruses don't have DNA — they have RNA. The research also determined that the epidemic began in the valleys of central Mexico, and although losses were heavy in the indigenous population, the Spanish population was hardly affected at all. But 100 years later, there were just 1 million left. As Cortes demonstrated in small actions, his conquistadors were a formidable match for the much-feared Mexica warriors. That, along with Spanish steel, guns, and horses, was the reason for the small Spanish retinue’s unlikely conquest. That, along with Spanish steel, guns, and horses, was the reason for the small Spanish retinue's unlikely conquest. How do you explain the conquest of an impressive civilization like that of the Mexica by mere hundreds of conquistadors? Any mention of being hailed as a god is conspicuously absent from Cortes’s letters and memoirs. The word Aztec was taken up by Europeans in reference to the city … The Aztecs aren't really gone. The city fell in just 93 days largely thanks to an epidemic that swept through the Aztec population. Then, hard and painful nodules appeared behind one or both ears along with heartache, chest pain, abdominal pain, tremor, great anxiety, and dysentery.". Of course, if the portends and symbols all had pointed to the Spanish being returning gods, the reason for Mexica leaders’ indecision is clear. One is that it was “much more difficult than is commonly imagined for the Spanish to vanquish the Aztecs.” For example, it’s claimed that since the Spanish didn’t write about this event for over a decade (which is apparently true: the first existent writing we have from the Spanish is from 1548), then it didn’t exist. Smallpox kills roughly 1/3 of the people it infects, but it's even worse than that. They made drills out of reed or bone, they understood mathematics, they used a 365-day calendar, and they were one of the first cultures in the world to require that all children receive an education. So their next step was to murder a bunch of nobles, which they did during a ritual dance (classy move, guys). But even more telling is the depiction of the human heads on the rack. Except no one, not even the Spanish, initially suggested there was any case of mistaken identity. Smallpox devastated the Aztecs, but it wasn't the end of them. Paratyphi C causes an enteric fever nearly identical to typhoid, which is why a lot of scientists once believed that cocoliztli and typhoid were the same thing. For a people who were already devastated by smallpox and conquistadors, cocoliztli must have been both terrifying and demoralizing. And after a 93 day siege, the city fell to the Spanish once again. Where was the Sunstone in Aztec times? Speaking of visiting Inca history, Machu Picchu is a desired vacation destination. The Spanish city of Toledo was known as one of the best places in the world for making arms and armor and a fine Toledo sword was a valuable weapon indeed. Another 1/3 of smallpox victims usually go on to develop permanent blindness, which means that the population of the capital city wasn't just reduced in numbers, but also in its fighting effectiveness. In November 1519, Hernán Cortés reached the Aztec Empire. Of course, probably not many of them really felt like going out in the field between bouts of turning yellow and developing weird pustules behind their ears, but still. Columbus defied those orders, which eventually led to tensions between the explorers and the Spanish government. Wait, didn't the Aztecs practice human sacrifice? It wasn't until this century that researchers finally started to put two and two together, based on historical accounts of the disease and the high death toll. The Spanish didn't see it that way. In the 15th century, there were 25 million people living in the Aztec Empire. “They knew before we did, it seems, that technology was the crux.” Townsend says that two facts, seemingly counterintuitive, need to be considered about the conquest. Questions to address: How did the Aztecs initially respond to the arrival of the Spaniards? The disease swept through Mexico and Guatemala in the latter part of the 16th century, decades after Cortés' conquest of Tenochtitlán. Names. All quotations require a citation; all paraphrasing and summarization should also have a citation. The queen ordered the natives to be converted to Christianity and taught European behaviors. Scientists finally think they've figured it out, and you'll probably be stunned by their conclusions: It was likely a form of Salmonella enterica. Later, the Aztec ruler Montezuma died under "mysterious circumstances," but everyone can probably guess what those mysterious circumstances entailed. This stage was followed by delirium and seizures. 1.They had advanced weaponry as guns and such while the aztecs still where using spears, 2. This research identified cocoliztli as a probable cause for the final collapse of the Aztec culture, though it was unable to precisely identify the pathogen responsible for the disease. If they had fight then history would be much different. After the Spanish Conquest, he uses the term Nahuas for the conquered people, from their shared language Nahuatl. The closest his and other conquistadors’ accounts get to the “god-myth” is describing the natives as awe-struck at the display of Spanish firearms. Battle against the Spanish and the Aztecs where Spanish had to flee. Just in case the Aztecs weren't already starting to suspect that the gods were out to end their civilization, the two cocoliztli epidemics coincided with long periods of drought. And as the conquistadors made their way inland toward the Mexica capital, Tenochtitlan, the Spanish solicited native allies. The Mesoamerican ballgame is known by a wide variety of names. The Aztecs are famous for their clash with Cortes during the discovery of the New World. When the conquistadors took over the city of Tenochtitlán, one of their keys to victory was smallpox. Cortes didn’t want any of that and went to fight them. A second outbreak hit in 1576, right around the time survivors were probably starting to relax and think the pestilence was a thing of the past. 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