A letter from Hernán Cortés dating from 1529 and other manuscripts were recovered by U.S. authorities and delivered to Mexico, informed Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard. "Historical documents from the 16th century, including Letter of Hernán Cortés, recovered by the New York Attorney General's office and Home Land Investigations. Today they were delivered to SRE and placed in the custody of our consulate in New York to be transferred to the CDMX," he tweeted.

At the headquarters of the Mexican Mission to the UN, the official assured us that this is very relevant for our Country since they are documents that had been lost and sold illegally. In addition, he indicated that they were given pre-Hispanic pieces.

"Thanks to the very close collaboration of the U.S. authorities today they are recovered again to be part of our collection, our national archive," he said. "Thank you, this is part of one of the most important recoveries of Mexican documents ever made in history."

Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano (1485-1547), (Copy) by Mateo Saldaña, 1917.
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano (1485-1547), (Copy) by Mateo Saldaña, 1917.

Biography of Hernando Cortés

Hernando Cortés was born in the town of Medellín (Extremadura, Spain) probably at the end of June 1485, son of Martín Cortés de Monroy and Catalina Pizarro Altamirano. His biographers agree that Cortés studied for a time at the University of Salamanca where he acquired knowledge of Latin and law.

In 1504 he traveled to the Indies and arrived in Santo Domingo (Hispaniola), where he received from the hands of Governor Ovando, the office of the town council of the Villa de Azua, and some indigenous people, as a reward for his participation in the pacification of some towns in the region.

In 1511, the new governor of Hispaniola, Diego Columbus, commissioned Diego Velazquez to conquer the island of Cuba, who persuaded Cortes to participate in the expedition and later granted him the mayoralty of Santiago de Baracoa, a city on the island where he resided with his wife Catalina Suarez (or Juarez) de Marcaida.

In the heat of the news arrived with Juan de Grijalva, Diego Velázquez began to plan a new expedition, and as Bernal Díaz del Castillo -privileged witness of the facts- thanks to the influence of Andrés Duero and Amador de Lares, the governor of Cuba chose Hernán Cortés as captain of the new enterprise.

As the aforementioned chronicler relates in his True History, Cortés' expedition began in Cozumel and continued through Tabasco, until reaching San Juan de Ulúa, where they received Moctezuma's messengers; passing through Cempoala and Quiahuistlán resulted in the formation of a league with the objective of confronting Moctezuma. Between the months of August and November 1519, Cortés moved from the coast to the highlands; during this period the events of Tlaxcala and Cholula were recorded.

Once in Tenochtitlán, Cortés had to return to the coastal region to face the expedition led by Pánfilo de Narváez. Back in the valley, the agitation provoked by the massacres forced the Spaniards to withdraw from the city in the so-called "Sad Night" (30/06/1520). From May to December 1521, the siege of the main Mexica city took place.

In 1523 he was named governor, royal captain, and major justice. From New Mexico City, he sent several expeditions to the region of Honduras and Baja California. Three years later he received the title of Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca.

Other names: Fernando Cortés (Spanish name), Hernán Cortés (Spanish name)
Date of birth: 1485 (Approximate date)
Date of death: 12/03/1547