‘The fall of the Aztec empire’ asks: How could such a mighty empire fall so quickly to the Spanish? Hernan Cortés was not the first Spaniard to land in Mesoamerica: two Spaniards had been shipwrecked there. These two Castilians, along with the translator Malintzin, allowed Cortés to form alliances with the Aztecs' rivals on his way to Tenochtitlan. While Cortés was meeting with further Spanish troops, his men massacred Aztecs at an important ritual. This led to a revolt which drove the Spanish from the city. During the subsequent five months the Spanish regrouped while the Aztecs were ravaged by smallpox. A final siege brought a tragic end to Tenochtitlan.