7 July 1520 – Battle of Otumba – Temalacatitlán

On 7 July 1520, the Spanish forces and their Tlaxcalan (Indian) allies under Hernán Cortés faced a pursuing Aztec (Mexica) army as the approached the town of Otumba de Gómez Farías. As Cortés’ force was overtaken, the were forced to stand and fight. The Spaniards were exhausted after fleeing from the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán on the night of 1 July 1520 when their alliance with the Aztec leader named Moctezuma II ended abruptly with his controversial death. The overnight flight from Tenochtitlán was called La Noche Triste or The Night of Sorrows. Confident of victory, the pursuing Aztecs were no longer trying to kill the few remaining Spaniards, but attempting to secure prisoners for their sacrificial rituals. Cortés and a handful of horse-mounted Spaniards rode through the Aztec lines in a desperate attempt to turn the tide of their demise. Cortés and a comrade managed to kill one of the prominent Aztec battle leaders and put the huge Aztec force into a panic. The Spaniards and Tlaxacalans killed thousands of the Aztecs in the ensuing chaos.

The Spaniards regrouped at Tlaxcala, but the Aztec loss emboldened Cortés to take the Aztec capital again. Thereafter, Spain’s control of the area was assured and it became known to Europe as New Spain.

The battlefield is approximately 70KM from the center of México City. This would make a good winter ride as a refugee from Canadian or American winters. A rider could also take in a Liga Mexican de Béisbol game at the Mexico City Red Devils (Diablos Rojos de México) or the Puebla Parrots (Pericos de Puebla). (see map)

Image Credit: By Anónimo, Manuel de Yáñez [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

1 Comment

  1. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.

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