In 1519, an explorer by the name of Hernan Cortes left his home in Cuba in order to explore Mexico. The major civilization in the region was that of the Aztecs, led by Montezuma II. Cortes and over 500 men arrived in Mexico, and began travelling towards the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. It is thought that Cortes's arrival coincided with an Aztec prophecy about a white-skinned god arriving from the east. So, at first, Montezuma welcomed Cortes and gave him lavish gifts. However, relations quickly deteriorated and, fearing a n attack, Cortes took Montezuma hostage, demanding a huge ransom from his people. After Montezuma was killed during a revolt in Tenochtitlan, Cortes laid siege to the city, which fell after three-months. A new settlement, Mexico City, was built on the ruins, and settled with Spanish colonists, becoming the centre of Spanish America. Cortes secured control over Mexico, and in 1523, was named governor a n d captain general of New Spain.