Guatemozin , the last Aztec emperor of Mexico, nephew and son-in-law of Montezuma, born about 1495, executed Feb. 15, 1525. On the death of Montezuma's brother and successor Cuitlahua, in 1520, he was elected to the vacant throne. The Spaniards, repulsed during the reign of his predecessor, were preparing for a new attack upon the Mexican capital. Guatemozin at once made energetic preparations for defence, which were barely completed when the Spanish army appeared before the city (April 28, 1521) and speedily invested it. The siege was productive of the most terrible suffering to the Mexicans; but they did not yield till exhausted by famine and greatly reduced in numbers by pestilence. Guatemozin, at the entreaties of his family, endeavored to escape by the lake of Tezcuco, but he was pursued and captured. He was first treated with respect by Cortes; but when the smallness of the booty found in the city caused the Spanish soldiers to charge their leader with being in collusion with the fallen emperor to deprive them of their plunder, Cortes permitted him to be put to the torture, as though to force from him either a confession or denial concerning the treasure.
Guatemozin bore the torture (the burning of his feet at a slow fire) with great firmness, and is said to have answered the complaints of the cacique of Tacuba, who suffered with him, with the stoical query, "Do you think, then, that I am taking my pleasure in my bath?" All that was extorted from him was the information that " much treasure had been thrown into the water;" but this statement was probably intended to mislead his captors, as the lake and canals were dragged without result. As nothing was to be gained from the prisoner, he was allowed to live at Mexico in an honorable captivity. When Cortes began in 1524 his expedition for the conquest of Honduras, he took Guatemozin with him; and he was thus a witness of the misfortunes that attended this march of his conquerors. Late in the campaign two Spanish nobles accused him and his Mexican companions of having formed a plot to assassinate the Spanish chiefs, Cortes among the rest. The latter ordered them to be at once brought before him, and after a brief inquiry into the accusation, which was not sustained by proof, he commanded their execution.
According to Prescott they were hanged on a large ceiba tree standing by the roadside; according to other authorities, they were executed with considerable ceremony in the public square of Teotilac. The widow of Guatemozin was thrice married after his death, in each case to a Spaniard.