Latin American Biographies
Montezuma II(1466-1520) • Last Aztec emperor • when Cortés arrived, Montezuma thought he was a god. • He was held hostage, then killed, by Cortés. • His empire was conquered and destroyed by Spain.
HERNAN CORTES (1485-1547) Spanish adventurer and conquistador who overthrew the Aztec empire and claimed Mexico for Spain (1519-21). Killed Montezuma II, sent Aztec treasures to Spain, and was governor of “New Spain”.
Atahualpa(1502-1533) • Last leader of Incas. • Won leadership of Incan Empire after a war. • Before he could celebrate, he was captured by Pizarro. • Atahualpa paid a big ransom in gold, but Pizarro still executed him.
After several months in fear an imminent attack from general Rumiñahui, the outnumbered Spanish saw Atahualpa as too much of a liability and decided to execute him. Pizarro staged a mock trial and found Atahualpa guilty of revolting against the Spanish, practicing idolatry, and murdering Huáscar, his brother. Atahualpa was sentenced to execution by burning. He was horrified, since the Inca believed that the soul would not be able to go on to the afterlife if the body were burned. Friar Vicente de Valverde, who had earlier offered his breviary to Atahualpa, intervened, telling Atahualpa that if he agreed to convert to Catholicism, he would convince Pizarro to commute the sentence. Atahualpa agreed to be baptized into the Catholic faith. He was given the name Juan Santos Atahualpa. In accordance with his request, he was strangled with a garrote on July 26, 1533. Following his execution, his clothes and some of his skin were burned, and his remains were given a Christian burial. Atahualpa was succeeded by his brother, the puppet Inca TúpacHuallpa, and later by another brother Manco Inca.
FRANCISCO PIZARRO (1478-1541) • Spanish conquistador who discovered and conquered the Incan Empire. • He killed Atahualpa and took the Incan treasures for himself and for Spain.
Toussaint L’Ouverture(1743?-1803) • born a slave • rose to become liberator and leader of Haiti. • did this by taking advantage of wars between France & Spain who occupied his island.
Miquel Hidalgo(1753-1811) • The Father of Mexican Independence • leader in the revolt against Spain • worked to make life better for the poor • Executed by the Spanish as a traitor • September 16 is celebrated as Mexico's Independence Day.
Simón Bolívar(1783-1830) • 6 nations—Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia—honor him as their liberator from the rule of Spain. • He is known as the George Washington of South America. He inspired men to follow him and to fight and die for liberty.