Political map of North America & the Caribbean 13 August 1521 (Fall of Tenochtitlan): In June 1520 Moctezuma (Moctezuma II)’s brother Cuitláhuac led the Aztecs in revolt against the Spanish, resulting in Moctezuma’s death and forcing Cortés to flee Tenochtitlan (La Noche Triste). Cuitláhuac died a few months later—perhaps from smallpox (Cocoliztli epidemics)—and was succeeded by Cuauhtémoc, while the Spanish fell back on Tlaxcala (Tlaxcala (Nahua state)) to reorganize. In late 1520 Cortés was ready to return, gaining control of Lake Texcoco with a locally-constructed fleet of brigantines, and capturing Tenochtitlan itself in May–August 1521 (Fall of Tenochtitlan).