Hernán Cortés was a Spanish explorer and conquistador, most famous for his conquering of Tenochtitlan in today's Mexico.
Hernán Cortés was born in Spain in 1485 to minor nobles in Medellín. He went to the New World at the age of 19 to explore it. In 1511, Cortés went to Cuba, where he eventually became the mayor of Santiago.
The would-be explorer was not content with staying on dry land, so he puts together an expedition and sailed to present day Mexico (even though he was told not to), being the first European to get there.
Cortés anchors at modern-day Tabasco. Next, he sailed to Veracruz, where he sunk all his ships except for one to show his men that they would conquer this land. The remaining ship he sent to Spain with news.
Next, he banded together with some natives and attacked the Aztecs, who were the present rulers of those lands. Cortés entered Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztecs, without a fight. The Aztecs thought he was an envoy from the god Quetzalcoatl and revered him, but then he took the king, Montezuma II, hostage, and took over.
When Cortés heard that the Spanish were coming to punish him for disobedience, he fled the city, leaving Pedro de Alvarado, one of his captains, in charge. Alvarado massacred some chiefs, and the city revolted, throwing him out.
When Cortés came back, he attacked the Aztecs and won, destroying their forces and taking Tenochtitlan.
Cortés had many more adventures, and died in Spain in 1547, at the age of 62, trying to get support from the Spanish to go on another adventure.