Montezuma II, or Moctezuma II (1480?–1520), the Aztec emperor of Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest. Montezuma became ruler in 1502. During his reign the Aztecs enlarged their empire and exacted heavy tribute from subject peoples.
The landing of Spaniards under Hernando Cortez in 1519 recalled to the Aztecs prophecies about Quetzalcoatl, a fair, bearded Indian god. Some legends said that he would return to end Aztec dominion and usher in an age of universal peace. These prophecies seem to have paralyzed Montezuma's will to resist Cortez. He sent envoys to the Gulf Coast to bribe Cortez into departing. Instead the Spanish marched toward Montezuma's capital, Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City). As they progressed, they gathered support from local tribes eager to throw off Aztec rule.
Montezuma greeted the Spanish in person before Tenochtitlán and escorted them into the capital. Soon after, Cortez had him seized, persuaded or forced him to do homage to the king of Spain, and ruled in his name. In June, 1520, the Aztecs revolted. When Montezuma tried to stop the revolt, the Aztecs showered him with stones and arrows. He either died of his wounds or was killed by the Spanish.