Legends of lost Aztec gold are some of the oldest in the Americas, originating at the very point of the Spanish conquest. With superstitions of ancient curses abound, these tales have inspired hundreds of fruitless quests for a wealth that is said to be beyond comprehension. Tainted by the blood of an emperor and the ruins of an empire, this fortune is believed to be worth billions in gold, silver and gems. Inspiring authentic episodes of torture, murder and greed, many think this treasure might now be located in the United States.
It was in 1519 that a force of Spanish conquistadors landed in Mexico. Led by Hernán Cortés, the notorious army consisted of 508 soldiers, 100 sailors, and 14 small cannon. They would write themselves into the annals of history through blood and fire. Seeking to convert the Aztec population to Christianity, the men instead descended into an orgy of violence and greed as they laid waste one of the great and ancient cultures of the Americas.
Cortés soon arrived at the outskirts of the magnificent Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán. Legends say that the Aztecs believing that the power shown bythe Spanish displayed could only be divine and Cortés was heralded as the returned god Quetzalcoatl, who is said to be fair haired and skinned. However, most historians now believe this is untrue and at least the Aztec nobility were fully aware that Cortés was no God. Despite this, he was offered the symbolic penacho (headdress) of Quetzalcoatl de Tula, entering the city in military file over the flower-covered causeway from Iztapalapa. Th causeway was associated with Quetzalcoatl and the spectacle undoubtedly will have impressed the masses.
The Spaniards were welcomed into the capital and offered gold, emperor Montezuma partially becoming jealous of their reception as he tried to make them go away and keep his power as absolute. Equally, he received word before Cortés that Spanish reinforcements were already on their way, understanding that a reenforced garrison would be harder to defend…