Cuauhtémoc is known for being the last Aztec emperor , who ruled from 1520 to 1521. He was an emperor who was tortured and assassinated by the Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés in 1522. When Hernán Cortés arrived in Tenochtitlán, Cuauhtémoc took it upon himself to defend the city for a period of four months but was captured by the Spanish. Cuauhtémoc was then tortured to reveal the location of the Aztec gold . His stoicism and refusal to speak became legendary. In 1522, Cortés took the emperor to Honduras and ordered him to be hanged.


Personal information

  • When was he born: 07/14/1496
  • Where he was born: Tenochtitlán, Aztec Empire
  • When he died: 02/28/1525
  • Where he died:  Itzancanal

Who was Cuauhtémoc?

Successor of Moctezuma II , he was an emperor who was in charge of tenaciously defending the city of Tenochtitlán , which was the capital of the Aztec Empire , against the siege of the attacking Spanish troops under the command of Hernán Cortés .

  • Characteristics
  • Cuauhtémoc biography
  • government
  • Performance in the Conquest of Mexico
  • Cuauhtémoc’s torment
  • Death
  • Family
  • Importance
  • Cuauhtémoc phrases
  • Acknowledgments


The main characteristics that could be seen reflected in Cuauhtémoc were the following:

  • Some historians consider that he was a stubborn man , strong and a little foolish .
  • It was known by the Spanish conquerors with the name of Guatemuz .
  • It is considered the last Mexican tlatoani of Mexico -Tenochtitlan .
  • The name Cuāuhtémōc is a name that literally means ” Eagle that descended ” and that is why he was considered as a God by many.
  • Cuauhtémoc was elected as Huey Tlatoani in February 1521.
  • He was captured in Tlatelolco .

Cuauhtémoc biography

Cuauhtémoc was born in Tenochtitlán in 1502 in a city that was considered modern in Mexico, capital of the Aztec empire . He was the eldest and legitimate son of the Aztec emperor Ahuitzótl and the princess Tlilalcapatl . When he was only 15 years old, he entered the calmecac , in other words the school for the nobility, and devoted himself mainly to the study of religion , science and art . After being trained academically, he joined the military service of his country.

He participated in several military expeditions to subject neighboring towns to Aztec rule . Due to his military exploits, he was named techutli , a term indicating a superior military and administrative position. In 1515 he was also named a lordship of the Tlaltelolco region . In the last days of his life he was captured by the Spanish, who tortured him trying to make him say the place where the riches of the Aztec people were found .


In the year 1515 he was first appointed as the ruler of Tlatelolco , a position that was reserved for men and warriors who belonged to the elite . He came to power in 1520 as the successor of Cuitláhuac , who was the nephew of Emperor Moctezuma II.  He came to the throne with only 18 years of age in the middle of a city besieged by the Spanish and by diseases such as smallpox that had been brought by the inhabitants of the New World.  During his government and his tenure as emperor, he was in charge of defending the city although later it was captured by the Spanish.

Performance in the Conquest of Mexico

In 1519 the Spanish conquerors, led by Hernán Cortés , began the conquest of Mexico . During the conquest of Mexico , Cuauhtémoc dedicated himself to reorganizing the Mexican army to rebuild the city and to make it stronger to be able to fight against the Spanish. Cortés captured the Aztec emperor Moctezuma and ruled the empire after he left the throne. In 1520 , however, the Indians, under the leadership of Uncle Cuitláhuac de Cuauhtémoc, who had succeeded Moctezuma as Aztec emperor,they rebelled and expelled the Spanish. Cortés regrouped his men and prepared to recapture Tenochtitlán.

After many battles, on August 13, 1521, Cuauhtémoc asked for help to prevent the fall of Tenochtitlán, but the war continued. I only get support from the Tlatelolcas who were always loyal to the Aztecs, but not having enough reinforcements, they were defeated by the Spanish and Cuauhtémoc was captured.

Cuauhtémoc’s torment

He first suffered the torment of the lust for gold . The Spanish were distrustful and the gold they had obtained was not enough to be distributed among the entire Spanish troop. Some Spaniards believed that the Aztecs had hidden and stolen the gold. Hence, the officers of the Royal Treasury, and especially the treasurer Julián de Alderete, were the torment of Cuauhtémoc. He was tortured by wetting his hands and feet with oil and burning them . Days before they threw him into the lagoon, after this, Cuauhtémoc was crippled and limped . They also tried to convert it toChristianity , but they only succeeded until the day of their death.


Cuauhtémoc tried to escape during his last battle but was captured by Cortés’s men . Cuauhtémoc asked to be killed , but Cortés refused, took him to his headquarters in Coyoacán and kept him under house arrest . Cuauhtémoc remained in captivity for a long time and was even subjected to brutal torture because the Spanish believed that he knew where the Aztec treasures were hidden .

During his captivity, Cuauhtémoc accompanied Cortés on various expeditions , and for months, Spaniards and Indians traveled through Central America. Cortés was convinced by his men that Cuauhtémoc was urging the Indians to rebel . Although Cuauhtémoc protested his innocence , Cortés insisted that he and other Indian leaders must die. Cuauhtémoc was hanged near the city of Itzancanal on February 26, 1525 .


He married Isabel Moctezuma who was the daughter of Emperor Moctezuma II . The exact number of children they had together is not known, nor is another wife known. He was also a cousin of Moctezuma Xocoyotzin and Tecuichpo .


Cuauhtémoc has great importance for his role in the fall of Mexico-Tenochtitlan and for having been the last of the Mexican tlatoanis since he was the last emperor or tlatoani of the empire that controlled the current capital of Mexico . After his captivity, and despite being seriously injured, the figure of Cuauhtémoc continued to be revered as a Mexican tlatoani, but under the orders of the Spanish, who used him to govern.

Cuauhtémoc phrases

Some of his most important phrases were the following:

  • Because you kill me without justice .
  • Take that dagger you have on your belt and kill me.
  • And do you think I’m in a bed of roses ?


Probably the main recognition of the Aztec hero is the modern city of Ixcateopan , located in the state of Guerrero , which is home to the remains of this character. Many places in Mexico are also named after him. There is also a metro station in Mexico City and Monterrey that were named after him. Even a video game bears his name, and it represents the leader of the Aztecs.

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