Bernal Díaz del Castillo

Bernal Díaz del Castillo (1492 – 1585) was a conquistador, who wrote an eyewitness account of the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards for Hernán Cortés, himself serving as a rodelero under Cortés. Bernal Díaz del Castillo was born 1492 in Medina del Campo (Spain), he came from a poor family and received little education. He sailed to Tierra Firme with the expedition led by Pedrarias Davila in 1514 to make his fortune, but after two years found few opportunities there. Many of the settlers had been sickened or killed by an epidemic, and there was political unrest. He later sailed to Cuba, where he was promised a grant of Indian slaves (as a part of the Encomienda system). That promise was never fulfilled, leading Díaz, in 1517, to join an expedition being organized by a group of about 110 fellow settlers, and similarly disaffected Spaniards, from Tierra Firme. They chose Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, a wealthy Cuban landowner, to lead the expedition. It was a difficult venture and after sailing from Cuba for 21 days, they discovered the Yucatán coast in early March 1517, on the Cape Cotoche. On march 4, 1517, the Spanish had their first encounter with the Yucatán natives who came


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