One of his African slaves was sick with small pox. This slave
gave the sickness to the Aztecs and it quickly spread. The
Europeans had immunity from the disease, but it was a very
deadly for the Aztecs. The disease spread across the Aztec
empire and killed 40% of the population in some cities.
Modern weapons, political fighting within the Aztec empire, and
disease all helped Cortez defeat the Aztecs, but Cortez’s main
weapon was his passion and belief in success.
his passion and his belief.
Of course, not everyone shared his passion and belief. When he
arrived in Mexico, some of his soldiers were already thinking
about running away. They were a very small army facing an
empire of millions, so of course some of the soldiers were afraid.
because they were a very small army facing an empire of
Cortez knew that fear was the enemy. He also knew that belief
and passion were necessary for success, so he did something
crazy. He ordered his men to put holes in the ships. As the
soldiers watched the ships sink beneath the water, they knew that
they could not run away.
the soldiers watched the ships sink, they knew that they
could not run away.
Without ships there was nowhere to go. The empire of the Aztecs
was soon divided, but the minds of the Spanish were always
committed 100% to success. Cortez made sure that his soldiers
had no other options. They would fight or die.
With no other choices, Cortez’s men fought hard and won. Cortez
went on to become a very rich and powerful man. Of course, to
the Aztecs, he was not a hero. He was a villain, who came to
their country to kill and steal.
who came to their country to kill and steal.
Many people today also question the heart of a man who killed so
many people, all for gold and riches. What is not in question is
Cortez’s conviction and belief.
To this day, Cortez is often remembered for sinking his ships.
That decision is a lesson in the power of believing in success and
not accepting failure.
of believing in success and not accepting failure.
Cortez is famous for destroying his ships, but he was not the first
man to do this. “Break the woks and sink the ships” is an ancient
Chinese expression about a man who also refused to accept
failure. Xiang Yu was a general in the Chu army in the second
century B.C. Like Cortez, he was not a peaceful man.
In fact, Xiang Yu rose to power by killing his boss. The army of
Chu was at war with the army of Qin. Xiang Yu wanted to attack,
but his boss, Song Yi, wanted to wait.
wanted to wait.
Xiang Yu was impatient. He pulled out his sword and chopped
Song Yi’s head off. With Song Yi dead, Xiang Yu became the top
general of the Chu army. He had only 30,000 soldiers against the
Qin army of 400,000 soldiers.