A 33-year-old conquistador landed in Mexico with 500 men. He was shocked to find the Aztecs taking prisoners of the weaker tribes, ripping their hearts out atop temples, and in a frenzy eating their bodies. The conquistador freed the prisoners, knocked down idols and erected crosses. His name was Hernando Cortez, and he died this day, Dec. 2, 1547. His personal secretary, Francisco Lopez de Gomara, wrote: “Cortez told them of their blindness … in worshiping many gods and making sacrifices of human blood. … He then told them of a single God, Creator of Heaven and earth … whom all men should worship and serve.”

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