Cortés was intelligent, courageous, ambitious, insubordinate, greedy, and ruthless — the quintessential conquistador. He established the Spanish empire (New Spain) in Mexico.
In 1511, Cortéz joined the conquest of Cuba, and impressed the island’s first Governor, Diego Velázquez, who chose him for his secretary, appointed him mayor of Santiago (Cuba’s capital), and made him wealthy with vast encomiendas. But Cortés wanted more. Much more.