In January 1521 the conquistadores entered the valley of Mexico. They staged a series of raids throughout the countryside and took the Aztec stronghold at Texcoco, from whence they could launch the newly built fleet.
In May, Cortés began his final assault on Tenochtitlán, bearing down from every direction, with separate divisions assigned to each of the city’s three causeways and the flotilla moving in by water.
The Aztecs fought valiantly under leadership of the last Aztec emperor, Cuauhtemoc, whose name translates as “falling eagle” or alternately “setting sun.”
Ravaged by diseases introduced by the Spaniards, deprived of fresh water and food supplies from the mainland, they with stood an 80-day siege, surrendering August 13, 1521, only after their captured leader grasped the dagger in Cortés’ belt and pleaded, “I have done all that I could to defend my people. Do with me now what you will.”
Their fervor fueled by victory, the conquistadores lay the Aztec empire to waste, erasing the remnants of the culture as best they could, scorching Tenochtitlán by fire, leveling its majestic temples. The rubble would make up the foundations of a new world, the cradle of a brand new people.
source: extracted from The Spanish Conquest (1519-1521) by Dale Hoyt Palfrey, as published in MexConnect.com