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Moctezuma II (c. 1466-1520), also known as Montezuma, was the last emperor of the Aztecs. He was imprisoned by Cortés's Spanish troops and later died in their captivity. Much of his history is either unknown or known from extremely biased Spanish sources, so it is hard to reach an accurate reading of his character and abilities. What is known is that he was not loved by the numerous peoples that he conquered, and his complicity with the Spaniards led initially to strife within the Aztec nobility, and eventually to Moctezuma's own death.

Moctezuma's demise was the climax of the Spanish story of conquest of what is now Mexico. According to different sources, Moctezuma was either a somewhat simple ruler who was unable to comprehend the threat the Spanish posed to his empire, or he was a wily schemer who sought to use the arrival of the Spanish to his advantage but was foiled by his own people. His death and the dismemberment of his empire allowed the Spanish to firmly embed themselves in the New World, and the riches of the Aztecs made their way into the pockets of many conquistadores. Today, Moctezuma is considered a hero by those who see him as the last of the native rulers of Mexico.

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