Bernal Díaz del Castillo
(c. 1495 - 1584)
Captivated by stories of fortune ripe for the plucking in America, Bernal Díaz del Castillo sailed from Spain for the New World in 1514. A member of Hernán Cortés’ expedition to Mexico, and present in 1521 for the overthrow of the rich Aztec capital, Tenochtitlán, he spent the rest of his life complaining of poverty. Díaz later wrote a firsthand account of the conquest—A True History of the Conquest of New Spain—intending to correct perceived misrepresentations of the expedition by academic historians. He died in Guatemala in 1584.