Featured

5 Inventions That Shook History

Humans are ridiculous. In our short history, we have gone from hunter-gatherers in Eastern Africa to a spacefaring race of 7 billion and counting. Our unmatched cognitive ability and outright bipedal lunacy have allowed us to walk to the top of the food-chain then shatter it entirely.

Along the way we did some thinking and came up with some rather profound technologies. Aren’t we smart?

Here are 5 human inventions that shook history.

1. Language

It really is difficult to stress how significant language is in shaping the course of human history. It is so intrinsically linked to us a species it would be hard to imagine life without it – dare I say impossible as there would be no fiction.

Around 70,000 years ago, a random genetic mutation changed the wiring of the brains of Homo sapiens, but not our hominid cousins such as the Neanderthal. What followed was the Cognitive Revolution – the beginning of humanity’s unrivalled ability to think and communicate.

It might be a bit egotistical to say language was invented, after all, a lot of evolutionary hoops had to be jumped through for language to come about. But after these hoops, language presented itself as the next natural step.

Homo sapiens now had the power to gossip, assess situations, and make calculated decisions, but what came next would change the world forever.

Possibly the most significant consequence of language is our species bypassing the genome. Listen up. Language allowed Homo sapiens to form larger and more complex social structures, but our capacity for fiction meant we would go on to co-operate in the millions under the banners of nations, religions, and corporations. The first practices of these fictions and myths formed the basis of culture – this is extremely important, it was here that history and biology separated. The ways in which Homo sapiens lived were no longer dictated by DNA. Instead, we could rapidly change our culture and restructure our societies depending on pressures and needs. Think about it. We couldn’t just examine the DNA of some long dead band of Homo sapiens to understand how they lived. We would need to understand their culture, their shared myths and fiction.

In essence, language is a form of everyday magic; an idea gets from one mind to another through vibrations in the air or symbols on a page. With this tool, we scream of our existence to the universe.


2. The Internet

Infinite knowledge. Instantaneous communication. These were once considered impossibilities of God-hood and far-flung fantasies of science fiction. Now billions of us hold this power in our hands.

And what do we use it for? Pornography and memes, the crème de la crème of life. You were wrong, Uncle Ben; with great power comes great irresponsibility, and this is one world wide web that should have never been spun. But it was spun and this is how.

The internet wasn’t invented by a single person, it was a decades-long process in which many people contributed. Here are some key events and figures. Don’t worry, I got rid of the tech jargon.

The ARPANET

The internet started out as the Advanced Research Agency Projects Network (ARPANET) in the mind of a man called Leonhard Kleinrock. In 1961, he wrote a paper called Information Flow in Large Communication Nets,in which he proposed the idea for a Wide Area Network (WAN) that connected universities and research centres.

In the following year, with renaissance man style, Joseph Carl Licklider envisioned a ‘Galatic Network’ not unlike today’s internet. Licklider became the first director of the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) where he pushed and popularised the idea.

In 1969, the ARPANET was born. The first two nodes were between the University of California and the Stanford Research Institute. On October 29th, UCLA student Charley Kline attempted to send the word ‘login’ to a computer at SRI, but the system crashed after ‘lo’.

Lo and behold, the ARPANET is here.


Fathers of the Internet & TCP/IP

Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf are heralded as ‘Fathers of the Internet’. In 1978, the virtual shit hit the fan when Kahn and Cerf designed Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). These sexy layers of computer code handle information with the touch of a good lover. Ones and zeros go where they need to go and in the right order.

On January 1st, 1983, the ARPANET migrated to TCP/IP and the virtual frontier as we know it was almost ready.


Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web

Tim Berners-Lee, a member of the Internet Hall of Fame, knighted by Queen Elizabeth, has not directly profited from his creation. In August 1991, he gave us the World Wide Web (WWW), making it possible to create web pages and share pictures, videos, audio, and other content. Three mechanisms make the web possible.

  1. URLs – an address for stuff.
  2. HTTP – a format for stuff.
  3. HTML – a way for stuff to get about.

The first website was launched on August 6th, 1991. Look, here it is. Not much, right? Wrong. That site is the cyber equivalent of Neil Armstrong’s footprint on the moon. Be grateful.


The internet may be in its infancy but it has become inseparable from modern life. On average, a UK citizen spends more than 24 hours online a week. We check our phones first thing in the morning, every 12 minutes throughout the day, and right before we go to sleep.

What I said before about the power of the internet in our hands, it’s half true. The internet is a vast and indomitable spectre we glimpse through pixels on a screen. It is omnipotent and omnipresent. Life has been accelerated by it and an age of information ushered in. The implications of this technology are beyond us; we are yet to understand the effects.

There is a duality to this power: information and misinformation; connectivity and isolation; accessibility and data scandals. A future of artificial intelligence and fake news awaits us. Hence, the internet is one of humanity’s most significant inventions.


3. Agriculture

For 2.5 Million years, humans lived in hunter-gatherer societies. That all changed around 10,000 years ago with the rise of the Agricultural Revolution. People all over the world were waking up to the glory of putting seeds in the ground and covering them with shit. Farming and animal domestication became the way in which we fed ourselves and brought about unprecedented changes to demography, genetic variation, culture, and the environment – not always for the better.

Agriculture is first said to have appeared in south-eastern Turkey, western Iran, and the Levant around 9500-8500 BC. People farmed wheat and domesticated goats. In the following centuries and millennia, agriculture absorbed more plants and wildlife. Since 3500 BC, there have been no significant additions to the list of plants and animals we have domesticated.

You might suspect that agriculture spread outwards from this epicentre, passed on from person to person, sending ripples through humanity, but that is not the case. Scholars now agree that civilizations across the world became agricultural societies completely independent of one another. People in Central America, South America, West Africa, the Middle East, China, and Papua New Guinea, separated by impossible distances, arrived at this juncture themselves.

So, what’s all the hubbub?

Well, agriculture removed nomadism from society – we no longer had to move about to exploit resources or for fear of the weather. Farming and animals tied people to one spot, giving rise to the first permanent villages such as Jericho in the Middle East in 8500 BC. More food and permanent villages meant babies were being popped out left, right, and centre. Around 10,000 BC, Earth was populated with 5-8 million humans. By the first century AD, that number had risen to around 250 million.

However, agriculture had its costs; it’s about to get sad.

The work was laborious and ill-fitted for bodies designed for climbing trees to pick fruit and chasing gazelles through the savannah. Although people could have more children, they were weaned at an earlier age and worked on the fields to make food for the next generation. People were stuck in a loop of famine, work harder, food surplus, more mouths to feed, famine, work harder, food surplus, more mouths to feed . . . Furthermore, with the advent of larger settlements, disease was rampant. This combined with famine meant that child mortality was extremely high. 1 out of 3 people perished before reaching the age of twenty. Being tied to one location with one source of food also put people at the mercy of the environment. If conditions weren’t just right, if a drought or flood occurred, the crops failed and people suffered. On the other hand, if the granaries were full, rival villages might be tempted to steal and take over, forcing walls to be built and guards to be stationed. The fact is that the hunter-gatherers that came before them lived happier lives.

It’s important to remember the people in these societies weren’t our distant genetic cousins, they were people like you and me. The same brain and body, the same capacity for thought and discussion.

Nonetheless, agriculture and language paved the cobbled way towards our first cities. Out of the landscape, we apes carved a new world, one where impossible pyramids stand for thousands of years and metal spires touch the sky.


4. Medicine

Humans have been fighting a war against disease and injuries since time immemorial. Even our cousins, the Neanderthal, waged this war – skeletal remains have shown signs of injury and recovery, meaning their tribe fought and hunted in their behalf. In early civilizations, shamans warded off evil spirits, used herbal remedies, and incited rituals of dance and magic. The oldest known medical text is the Ebers Papyrus, dating back to 1550 BC. This scroll contains 700 magical formulas and folk remedies, even one about birth control.

Medicine has a lineage nearly as long as our own but there are some milestones which shook history more than others. So, let’s give some credit to the innovations that let you live.

Vaccines

In 429 BC, Athenian historian and general Thucydides noticed that people who survived the smallpox plague did not become reinfected with it.

In 900 AD, the Chinese had discovered a primitive form of vaccination against smallpox called variolation. This involved putting scabs from pustules up the nose or under the skin of the patient. Jeez, I’d rather just die.

By the 1700s, variolation was used across the world. Since smallpox killed 1 out of every 3 that caught it, people were queuing up to put scabs up their nose.

So, the idea of immunity wasn’t new.

In 1796, Edward Jenner, a country doctor in Gloucestershire, England, carried out the world’s first vaccination. He had noticed that milkmaids who had caught cowpox did not get smallpox. Interesting. Jenner took some pus from a cowpox lesion on a milkmaid’s hand and inoculated a boy called James Phipps. Nothing too mad just yet. Then, six weeks later, Jenner variolated Phipp’s arm with smallpox. Eight-year-old Phipp’s will go down as the medical guinea pig to end all guinea pigs. If Jenner was just a lunatic with a doctor’s license then Phipp’s was a dead man. But, no, Jenner was right and Phipp’s was immune.

Today, smallpox has been eradicated, except for some cheeky quantities in two research labs in the U.S. and Russia. Approximately 5 million lives are spared annually because of this vaccination and that is just one disease. We’re coming for you, polio!

But there is a new disease spreading across the land. It’s carried by Mums on the internet and threatens our very existence. This disease is anti-vaxxeritos. The only cure is avoiding misinformation and seeing a qualified doctor. Please, if come across someone with anti-vaxxeritos, run.


Antibiotics

‘Cough, cough.’

‘What’s that?’

‘Bacteria.’

‘What you gonna do?’

‘Die, I guess.’

Such was life in the dark ages before antibiotics. The world of germs was a mystery and the common infections of today were deadly.

The first milestone occurred in 1909 when German physician and scientist, Paul Ehrlich, and Japanese bacteriologist, Sahachirō Hata, developed the Arsphenamine drug, the first effective anti-syphilitic drug.

Ehrlich and Hata eyeing up them pathogen bad boys.

Then Scottish physician, Alexander Fleming, accidentally discovered penicillin. You’ll remember him from GSCE biology, I’m sure, the teacher ranting on about a Petri dish or something. It was a September morning in 1928 in the basement laboratory of St Mary’s Hospital, London, where Fleming found that fateful Petri dish left open. The bacteria inside had blue-green mould on it. Around the mould there was a no-man’s land for bacteria, so Fleming concluded that the mould was stopping bacterial growth.

‘Cough, cough.’

‘What’s that?

‘Bacteria.’

‘What you gonna do?’

‘Penicillin, mate.’

Such is life in the golden age of antibiotics. According to the New World Encyclopedia, at least 200, million lives have been saved by the discovery and mass production of penicillin.

But, something isn’t right.

Today, humanity’s war with infection is taking a turn. Bacteria didn’t just lie down and submit, no, they doubled down and adapted. Antibiotics are being prescribed all willy-nilly and scientist fear that this will allow bacteria to outdo medicine.

‘Cough, cough.’


Medicine is undoubtedly one of humanity’s greatest inventions. Since 1900, the global average life expectancy has more than doubled to nearly 70 years. The first person to live to 150-years-old has already been born – imagine that, getting to 75 and being half way there. Who knows, with advancements in stem cell research and nanobot technology, humanity might achieve the impossible and put the grim reaper out of a job.


5. The Gutenberg Press

How do I sum up Johannes Gutenberg’s invention? It was essentially the internet of the 15th century, a conduit for a medieval information age, and the foundations for the cultural blossoming we call the Renaissance. I can’t downplay the implications of the first printing press; imagine a world where books weren’t ubiquitous, where only a select few could read and afford them, where any idea, thought, and observation had to be remembered or passed down orally for fear of it being forgotten. Without the printing press, we would still be living in a pre-industrial age.

Before the printing press, books were crafted by hand and took years to finish. In all of Europe, there were approximately 30,000 books. 50 years later, there were 12, million.

Circa 1449, Gutenberg unveiled his creation; a machine whereby movable type could be placed and pressed onto paper. Simple yet ingenious.

German professor and priest, Martin Luther, took notice of the printing press and used it to spread his opposition to Roman Catholicism. In 1517, Luther nailed copies of his heretical Ninety-Five Theses to the door of a church. The 16th century saw a schism erupt in Western Christianity between Catholicism and the new Protestant traditions Luther pushed for.

Gutenberg opened the door for the Renaissance. The landscapes of science, philosophy, mathematics, art, architecture, and so many other disciplines were changed forever. Gutenberg’s press made him a purveyor of ideas, the most lucrative currency we know.


You’ve made it to the end you absolute specimen, the rest are weak. I certainly hope you enjoyed reading my ramblings.

Unfinished Sympathy

Nearly three decades have passed since Massive Attack released their debut album Blue Lines and in its wake lies a legacy of influence and innovation. Widely considered the first trip-hop album, Blue Lines spawned a notorious new sound that fused electronic music, hip hop, dub, ’70s soul, and reggae, a sound that heavily informed artists and groups such as Bjork, Portishead, and Radiohead.

For me and many others, ‘Unfinished Sympathy’, the album’s second track, remains one of the best pieces of dance music ever made. Riding the sweat-soaked coattails of the second summer of love, Massive Attack took the acid-house heritage of the Great British soundscape and refined it, proving that there was room for introspection on our drug fuelled dance floors.


It starts with a steadfast beat made up of a kick drum and hi-hat, locking me in for the journey to come. Voices mutter in the background and a vinyl is scratched, its echoes fading out like ripples in murky water.

Suddenly, the beat becomes infectious and unapologetic. Sampled from J. J. Johnson’s appropriately named ‘Parade Strut’, it stomps and tiptoes its way forward. It is accompanied by a milk bottle percussion that emulates Bob James’ ‘Take Me To The Mardi Gras’. Above all of this, the successive drones from the forty piece string orchestra sound like a fog horn across that murky water.

Sample at 0.08

Only twenty seconds have passed.

All of that menace is alleviated when the strings ascend in unison, lifting a burden, cutting through the fog. The iconic refrain ‘Hey Hey Hey Hey’ – sampled from Mahavishnu Orchestra’s ‘Planetary Citizen’ – punctuates this feeling as the voice soars higher and higher.

Sample at 0.02

But that reprieve swiftly passes and the next moments feel more uncertain; the strings ascend then drop suddenly and that angelic refrain sounds more like a call for help with each echo.

All the while, the tempo of that ‘Parade Strut’ beat stops me from lingering. Here, I find myself enraptured and ready to hear this song through to the end.

Shara Nelson’s tempest-voice takes centre stage as she laments about some unknown heartbreak and the strings ebb and swell around her. For me, her mention of day and night refers to a duality that permeates the heart of this song: ecstasy and turmoil. The instrumentation only serves to strengthen this duality as calculated beats and soulful strings produce a sound that is somehow warm and cold, human and mechanical.

A piano riff rolls in like an off-the-cuff remark – suave, smooth, and melancholic – that genre-bending sound taking a hint of the blues.

Nelson’s voice falls away and all parts of the instrumentation converge – vocal samples, vinyl scratches, strings, and beats – everything has been building up to this. Momentum seems to compound with each repetition, the sound becomes heavier, more intense. A sample asks ‘Are you ready?’ and the answer is no. The string orchestra builds a wall of sound and a sense of impending grows with it. Thoughts and images flash across my mind. How did they achieve this sound? What the hell am I hearing? My disbelief is overshadowed by a brief, piercing crescendo and the wall of sound collapses, revealing the familiar beat and milk bottle percussion, and I welcome it as I collect my thoughts and catch my breath.

The vocal sample heard towards the end of the song claims ‘I don’t know where this one came from’, and I would have to agree. ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ emerged from the brains of some self-described ‘lazy Bristol twats’ and cemented itself into the canon of British music.

I hope to hear it for more decades to come.

P.S. Where do you think The Verve got the idea for the strings and video for ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’?

The Lost City Of Tenochtitlan

Where Mexico City stands today, there was once Lake Texcoco – one of five bodies of water in the Valley of Mexico.

On this lake, there was once a city – Tenochtitlan (Teh-notch-tit-lahn) – the capital of the Aztec Empire.

Never underestimate the people of the past; the Aztec were a disciplined and erudite people responsible for creating one of the largest and most complex cities of the Middle Ages.

The city existed for a brief moment in history and has been largely forgotten. I’d like to shed some light on this wonder.


When Was The City Founded?

In 1325, the Mexica people founded the city. According to legend, Huitzilopochtli (Wee-tsee-loh-poch-tlee), the god of war, the sun, and human sacrifice, ordained the spot on which Tenochtitlan would be built. He told the Mexica tribe to seek an eagle, perched on a prickly pear cactus, devouring a snake. The Mexica found this eagle on a marshy island on the western side of Lake Texcoco.

The eagle, snake, and prickly pear cactus appear in the Mexican flag.

For a little backdrop, the 1300s saw: the beginning of the Renaissance in Italy, the Hundred Year’s War between England and France, the bubonic plague, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and the end of the Mongol Empire. Astonishingly, Oxford University, founded in 1249, is older than the Aztec Empire.

The Rise Of The Capital

Tenochtitlan started out as a meagre settlement. Building materials were scarce, but, with mobility on the water, its people survived as raiders and traders and lived off the local flora and fauna.

Following drainage and construction projects in the following decades, the settlement and population expanded.

In 1427, Itzcoatl became the fourth leader of the Aztec people. He formed an alliance with two other societies in the region – Texcoco and Tlacopan – to overthrow the Tepanec people in the city of Azcapotzalco. In 1428, the alliance emerged victorious and would go on to sign a treaty together called the Triple Alliance.

Aztec glyphs of the Triple Alliance: Texcoco (left), Tenochtitlan (middle), and Tlacopan (right).

The Triple Alliance became the dominant power in the region, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific. Trades routes opened and tributes came from conquered provinces.

Tenochtitlan distinguished itself as the dominant power in the Triple Alliance and the city flourished.

Layout

At it’s height, this ancient metropolis covered 14 sq km and had a population of 300,000. For some perspective, London, at the time, had a population of just 80,000.

The market place of Tlatelolco could hold 60,000 people and was an orderly affair.

Five great causeways with retractable bridges connected the city to the mainland.

The dense grid layout consisted of roads, buildings, and canals, and a 3 km long aqueduct carried water in from the surrounding hills.

At the centre, there was a sacred precinct, a walled plaza which held a dozen important structures including the Templo Mayor, a 60 m tall twin peaked great temple.

The sacred precinct.

It’s hard to imagine this as a place that really existed from our modern vantage, but try to look past the artist renditions, statistics, and history. The city of Tenochtitlan was real and real people walked its streets. Children walked to school on sun baked terracotta. Colourful frescoes adorned walls and buildings. Priests breathed deeply as they climbed the steps of the great temple and the cityscape stretched out around them. Fisherman canoed through the network of canals. Craftsmen toiled in workshops. Soldiers patrolled the quarters and guarded the precinct. Nobles engaged in diplomacy.

The video below covers more of the layout and workings of the city.

Firsthand Account

There exists only four firsthand accounts of Tenotchtitlan. Bernal Dias del Castillo, a conquistador who served under Hernan Cortés, wrote The Discovery and Conquest Of Mexico, 1517-1521. Castillo’s account is one of the closest means by which we can see the city.

‘Indeed, this infernal temple, from its great height, commanded a view of the whole surrounding neighbourhood. From this place we could likewise see the three causeways which led into Mexico . . . We also observed the aqueduct which ran from Chapultepec, and provided the whole town with sweet water. We could also distinctly see the bridges across the openings, by which these causeways were intersected, and through which the waters of the lake ebbed and flowed. The lake itself was crowded with canoes, which were bringing provisions, manufactures, and other merchandise to the city. From here we also discovered that the only communication of the houses in this city, and of all the other towns built in the lake, was by means of drawbridges or canoes. In all these towns the beautiful white plastered temples rose above the smaller ones, like so many towers and castles in our Spanish towns, and this, it may be imagined, was a splendid sight.’

‘After we had sufficiently gazed upon this magnificent picture, we again turned our eyes toward the great market, and beheld the vast numbers of buyers and sellers who thronged there. The bustle and noise occasioned by this multitude of human beings was so great that it could be heard at a distance of more than four miles. Some of our men, who had been at Constantinople and Rome, and travelled through the whole of Italy, said that they never had seen a market-place of such large dimensions, or which was so well regulated, or so crowded with people as this one at Mexico.’

Bernal Dias del Castillo, The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico, P. 238

The entire book can be read here.

The Meeting Of Two Worlds

In February 1519, Hernán Cortés and his army of 500 conquistadors reached the Mexican coast.

In a symbolic gesture, Cortés burned his ships down; there was no retreat, just exploration and conquest.


Hernán Cortés.

Moctezuma II, the Aztec leader, heard rumours of the conquistador’s arrival; white men with beards covered in metal coming from boats. Some sources claim that Moctezuma thought Cortés could be the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. According to prophecy, Quetzalcoatl was exiled and had left from the same coast Cortés landed on, promising to return in the Aztec year 1 Reed. Cortés arrived that year. However, this omen may have materialised after the downfall of Tenochtitlan, a retrospective narrative to justify the Aztec defeat.

Moctezuma II

Cortés pushed into the continent and accumulated knowledge of the Aztec Empire’s enemies – dissatisfied regions paying tribute and those resisting their control. During this time, Moctezuma sent emissaries bearing gifts to Cortés.

In September 1519, an alliance was secured between Cortés and the Tlaxcalans, united in their common goal to topple the Aztec Empire. Thus, several thousand warriors were added to Cortés’ ranks.

On 8th November 1519, the conquistadors saw Tenochtitlan for the first time. On one of the great causeways, Moctezuma greeted Cortes amicably; two worlds met. In the following days, Cortés took Moctezuma hostage and ruled the city through him.

In April 1520, a Spanish force led by Pánfilo de Narváez had landed on the coast of Mexico to oppose Cortés. Cortés took a portion of his army to confront Narváez and won a decisive victory, even convincing Narváez’s men to join him.

Meanwhile, Pedro de Alvarado, the lieutenant left in charge of Tenochtitlan, committed a massacre in the great temple. He believed the Mexica were preparing to overthrow the conquistadors. Consequently, the nobility and people celebrating an Aztec festivity for the god Tezcatlipoca, were slaughtered by the Spaniards in a preemptive attack.


Pedro de Alvarado.

Tensions were rising and rebellion ensued. Cortés returned in late June and ordered Moctezuma to try and calm his people, but they were disillusioned with his leadership so they pelted him with rocks. The Spanish claimed he died from his injuries whilst the Mexica claimed he was killed by the Spanish.

The Mexica promptly elected Cuitláhuac as their new leader.

On 30th June, under the cover of night and rain, the Spanish fled the city. Overburdened by gold and intercepted by Mexica in canoes, many of the Spanish died in the waters outside the city. Cortés lost most of his horses and artillery and thousands of his Tlaxcalan allies were killed. The night would be remembered as La Noche Triste – The Night of Sorrows.

The battle of La Noche Triste.

Cortés retreated to Tlaxcala and rebuilt his army, but in his wake an invisible threat ravaged the region: smallpox. Even the new Aztec ruler Cuitláhuac died to the disease and Cuauhtemōc succeeded him. Before the arrival of Cortés, around 30 million people lived in Mexico. By 1568, a maximum of 3 million remained. Smallpox played a huge role in weakening the Aztecs and the subsequent fall of Tenochtitlan.

The Fall Of The Capital

Through diplomacy and fighting, Cortés managed to accumulate an army and once again set his sights on Tenochtitlan. He and his indigenous allies commanded an army of up to 200,000 natives, 16 cannons, 13 lake brigantines, 100 cavalry, and 1,000 infantry.

On 22nd May 1521, the Spanish and their allies made a move. They took positions at the great causeways, Alvarado cut the great aqueduct so water stopped flowing into the city, and the brigantines established dominance on the lake.

The Mexica fought desperately to keep control of the great causeways and managed to prevent the attackers from advancing into the city for some time.

In one attack, Cortés was almost killed but was able to retreat. The conquistadors watched as their compardes and allies were taken to the top of the great pyramids and sacrificed to the gods, causing a devastating blow to their moral.

However, famine, dehydration, and disease was taking its toll on Tenochtitlan. Everyday, their forces would weaken and lose ground to the attackers. Whereas Cortés received reinforcements from previously neutral societies and supplies shipped from Spain.

In August, Cortés managed to break through and most of the Mexica forces retreated to the northern part of the city. Here, the Mexica had their last stand. It is said that women cut off their hair and joined the battle.

On August 13th, 1521, the Mexica surrendered. The siege had lasted three months and an estimated 240,000 Aztecs had been killed, but the Tlaxcalans continued to slaughter civilians and pillage valuables. In the following days, the survivors abandoned the city.

For a more detailed account of the siege of Tenochtitlan, I would recommend watching the video below.

The Aftermath

Cortés established a settlement on the ashes of Tenochtitlan, sowing the seeds for Mexico City. Spanish colonists arrived and Mexico City became the centre of Spanish America.

The conquest of Mexico saw the meeting of the Old and New Worlds and history was forever changed.

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started