This book contains a substantial extract from William H. Prescott's major work A History of the Conquest of Mexico. Prescott lived from 1796-1859 and his book was a pioneering view of the Aztec civilisation. The country of the ancient Mexicans or Aztecs, as they were known, formed but a very small part of the extensive territories which make up modern Mexico. The story of the life of Hernando Cortes, the Conqueror and the tragic story of Moctezuma the Aztec king are essential to this history. It has been immortalised in works such as the play The Royal Hunt of the Sun. In his fascinating introduction J.H. Elliott sets Prescott's work against the background of the growth of historical research. The extracts from Prescott's book demonstrate that he is among the finest of English prose stylists.