…that’s pretty much what Moctezuma II said to Hernan Cortes on this date in 1519.
It was a grevious error on his part.
Moctezuma, Montezuma, or Motecuhzoma as it’s spelled in various places, was the ruler of the Ancient Aztec Empire of Mexico.
When we think of empires, we think of Greece, Rome, Great Britain, and The Evil Empire of the USSR. (Reagan was such fun!).
We don’t usually think of Mexico. But it really was a pretty big deal.
The Aztecs were a warrior nation lead by Moctezuma on a quest to conquer the other Mexican Tribes and Nations around them.
They needed the slaves and they needed humas to sacrifice during religious rituals.
But, Spain had an empire too.
Hernan Cortes landed at what is now Vera Cruz and he and his 200 men raped, pillaged, and rampaged their way to the heart of Mexico.
Tenochitlan was the Capital of the Aztec Empire.
When Moctezuma figured out that Cortes didn’t have the best of intentions, things got a little dicey, and Cortes and his 200 men defeated one of the greatest empires existing in the world at that time.
Tenochitlan was not only the Capital, it was a Holy City.
Now, no one really knows what Tenochitlan looked like, since Cortes left his camera at home. He then proceeded to take it apart stone by stone.
Mexico City, er excuse me Distrito Federal, la Ciudad de Mexico, now covers where Tenochitlan stood, and much more.
Moctezuma was no fool, but he was terribly superstitious. He believed the story of Quetzalcoatl, the vengeful messiah who would someday return to rule over ‘Mexica’. Somewhere along the line, the Aztec priests got it in their mind that a Holy Man with blonde hair would come to deliver them from the evils around them and save the world.
When Cortes arrived, Moctezuma instantly thought he was one and the same, and welcomed him to the city.
Moctezuma was so impressed, he removed his gold shoes in defference.
Again, big mistake.
Moctezuma means “lord and forever almighty” in the Nahautl, the original language of the Aztecs. It has also been translated “he who is angry in a noble manner”.
Well, not so much.
He was the supreme ruler of the Aztec Empire, and his word was law.
His superstitions and his defference to Cortes helped him lose his throne, empire, and life.
Even his people turned against him.
The story gets murky. Cortes left Tenochitlan for a while to fight another Spainard, Panifilo de Narvaez, who had come to oppose Cortes. Evidently word had gotten back to Spain that Cortes was sitting on his culo and whoring around ‘con las putas’.
After kicking some serious Panifilo, Hernan headed back to Tenochitlan where all heck had broken loose. The Aztecs were pissed that the Spanish were sitting around doing nothing while Moctezuma was cow-towing to them and treating them like guests.
Well a fight broke out.
Moctezuma was taken hostage and used as a pawn. He eventually became a prisoner in his own home.
Then a victim!
No one knows for sure, but most say that Moctezuma was killed by his own people.
It could just be Spanish caca de toro PR; many think Cortes and his boys took him out.
But, Moctezuma supposedly made a speech from a balcony begging his people to retreat from battle and surrender. Once the speech ended, he was pelted with rocks and darts. The rocks and darts thing could be a key to their defeat!
Regardless of how or by whom, he died.
You may ask why this is important on this chilly November Monday.
Well, just be careful whom you welcome into your life.