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Montezuma II

The most familiar figure in Aztec history for many people is Montezuma II, the great leader of the Aztecs at the time of the Spanish conquest. Montezuma II, in Nahuatl Montecuhzoma (1480-1520), ruler of the Aztec Empire of Mexico, succeeded Ahuizotl, who reigned from 1486 to 1502, and ruled during the Spanish invasion of his country. When the Spanish conquistador, Hernando Cortez, arrived in Mexico in 1519, Montezuma believed that he was the Aztec god-king Quetzalcoatl. Accordingly, Cortez was presented with elaborate gold and silver gifts. Later, fearful that the Aztecs would attack the outnumbered Spanish troops, Cortez held Montezuma hostage. In June 1520, the Aztecs, growing restive under Spanish control, revolted. Cortez called on Montezuma to quell the revolt, but the Aztec ruler was stoned while adressing his subjects. He reportedly died three days later. Montezuma was succeeded by Cuitlahuac and 80 days later by his nephew, the last Aztec ruler, Guatemotzin.

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