This Day In History: The Spanish Retreated from the Aztec Capital (1520)

Hernan Cortes and his men had to fight their way out of Tenochtitlan with heavy losses. the night of the retreat came to be known as  “the Night of Sadness”.  Spanish soldiers drowned in Lake Texcoco  and they also lost much of the treasures they had looted from the Aztecs. Some of the Spanish soldiers that were left behind were later sacrificed by the Aztecs.

Cortez retreated to territory that was controlled by friendly natives. he managed to receive Spanish reinforcements and made new allies. The following year Cortez besieged the Aztec Capital. It was a long and brutal siege and the Spanish had the advantage of some canons. Hunger and disease especially smallpox, eventually reduced the Aztecs and Cortez was able to retake the city that he had lost. This allowed the Spanish to become the heirs of the Aztecs.