Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LOPEZ, Martin, Spanish sailor. He lived in the 16th century, but, though his name is often cited in the history of the conquest of Mexico, there is no record of his birthplace or the dates of his birth and death. He was a carpenter by profession, made several voyages to Cuba, and accompanied Francisco Hernandez de Cordova in 1517, Juan de Grijalva in 1518, and Cortes in 1519, to Mexico always as chief carpenter of the expedition. After the defeat of Cortes in Mexico and his retreat to Tlascala in July. 1520, he formed a plan to attack Mexico by land and water, and Lopez offered to build proper vessels. He began to cut wood in the mountains of Tlascala, and the native chief Chichemecatecuhtli furnished men to carry the wood to the city. At the end of December, 1520, the timbers for the vessels were finished. They were then carried, with the iron-work, rigging, and sails that had been saved from the vessels that were burned in Vera Cruz, to the borders of the Lake of Texcoco. On 28 April, 1521, twelve brigantines were launched amidst festivities in the Lake of Texcoco. These vessels rendered good service in the siege and final capture of the city, on 13 August, and Lopez was rewarded by the conqueror with great honors and riches. He afterward resided in the city of Mexico, where he died.
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