Question | How did Hernan Cortes unload his horses?

Oct 29, 2020
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I am not even gonna try to imagine how them 16 horses Hernan Cortes allegedly brought to America got transported. I'm just trying to figure out how he got them offloaded once he got there.
  • Pictures of horses being offloaded of some seriously big ships are here.

What ships did Cortes use anyways? We know there were 11, with ~ 500 soldiers, ~100 sailors and 16 (wiki says 13) horses. I can't find names and types of his vessels. It sounds like the name of his personal ship might have been The Caravel.
  • If his "The Caravel" was a caravel, than it sure had to suck to be a horse on such a tiny ship.
  • For how long did them poor horses have to slide around?
We are told that there were no horses in Americas prior to Cortes bringing some:
  • The first horses to return to the main continent were 16 specifically identified horses brought by Hernán Cortés in 1519. If you wanna know what "to return" means, here is your answer.
  • Or, may be it was Columbus... what do we know?

KD: Anyways, how did Cortes unload 16 horses? I can't seem to find the answer.
Never mind the logistics of loading and unloading horses onto wooden ships. Easily accomplished by a samp ramp. Why lift them when they can walk?

Hell getting them onto a ship is as easy as ballasting the ship or judging the tide to get the deck horizontal to the jetty/dock and then they can be led on. Getting them off at the other end does require a ramp if the ship was beached or a jib of some description to lift them off. But again why lift them when they can walk?

What negates the idea of horses travelling from Spain to South America is the water issue. No ship can set sail directly for a foreign shore without knowing what volume of water is required to be carried to cover the distance. Even just a human crew requires a daily intake of fresh water to keep condition somewhere near.

Exploration has to have been done by sailing around the coasts and just as crucially using local knowledge as it is termed to find ways across larger bodies of water say like the Bering strait for example. This leap frogging around the coast allows for a constant resupply of the ships water, food, clothes, materials to repair any damages/losses the vessel incurs in its travels. It even allows for the replacement of dead or sick crew members either by voluntary agreement or by force along the way.
Add in the extra water that would need to be carried to keep horses alive but hardly in peak condition and the idea collapses into nonsense.
Wet hay ferments very quickly. Keeping hay dry on a wooden ship is I would suggest extremely difficult and gets more difficult the further the ship travels. Horses also need more than just hay to eat or they quickly go out of condition.

Cortez and the tales attributed to him including this horse introduction read like a boys own novel. Full of fantastical achievements against all odds and then some. It makes no sense to take horses on long sea voyages even one where they are travelling along the coast but since when did sense have an role in the mainstream historical narrative?

So once again the only ways to get a horse on and off a ship is either to walk it on and off using a ramp or lift it by use of a jib that is part of the ship.
Incidentally this holds true for all ships no matter what their vintage no matter what exploration use they were put too no matter what part of the historical mainstream bullshit story mentions the transporting of horses across open water.

Edit to correct 'samp' to ramp' FFS!
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There has to be something in the narrative explaining how he got them unloaded in Mexico.
  • Can a ramp be used without mooring docks?
Found an article on wiki. May be it’s just me, but I have serious doubts about this narrative:
  • Horse transports in the Middle Ages were boats used for effective means of transporting horses over long distances, whether for war or general transport.
  • They can be found from the Early Middle Ages, in Celtic, Germanic and Mediterranean traditions.
  • The Romans had developed efficient methods of sea transport for horses, which were improved by the Arabic nations in the Early Middle Ages; these transports became common in Europe from the tenth century.
  • Horse transports could be powered by oars or, sometimes, by sail.
  • The oared tarida was able to be loaded and unloaded directly on a beach, using doors as loading ramps.
  • In 1174 an Italo-Norman force attacked Alexandria with 1,500 horses transported on 36 tarides.
  • Detailed specifications for thirteenth century tarides exist, showing they could carry 20-30 horses.
  • In Angevin tarides, horses were stalled in threes, supported by canvas slings.
  • Genoese tin 1246 carried 150 water butts containing 39,750 litres in total.
  • Continue reading...
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Cortes is a fictional character, like many others in the official version.
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Very interesting, never thought about the subject because I assume that Native Americans had horses long before. As seen in cave paintings.

The dissertation posits that the discrepancy between the Spanish “reintroduction” theory and the story reflected by current evidence has to do with a cultural bias that is still present within Western academia.

Found this article talking about how horses were already in the America's prior to any Spanish/French/English settlers.
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Here is a brief look at the Cortez story from the horse angle. It is full of assumptions by necessity as there is no way to know anything about the event or even if it occurred. Some of the links to the logistical info this article contains are on another computer so will come back and add them in when I am on that one hopefully later today.

Cortez is said to have sailed from Spain to conquer Mexico. This statement suggest Cortez or his ships captain(s) or navigators had a map of a route so they knew where they were heading and likely what was going to be there when they got there.
The most direct route from Spain to Mexico today (and presumably 'back then') is straight across the ocean in a direct line. Sailing ships cannot go direct as their direction is governed by the winds and currents, along with the skills of the crew, as is the time it takes. Between Spain and Mexico are various islands which we have no way of knowing if they were known to Cortez or his navigator. Cortez could have restocked at these islands and he could have picked up horses at some of them most likely.

Cortez is said to have sailed in his own ship plus ten others making eleven in total. He is also said to have travelled with a body of 500 men and 100 ships crew. He is also said to have taken 16 horses on the voyage.

First off a fleet of ten ships sailing such a vast distance together and staying together to arrive together and unload together in good order is remarkable at best. Even today with all the wizardry of high tech equipped ships sailing together simply disappear and lose touch with each other, fishing fleets being the prime contemporary example.
Lets assume the horses were for the officers among the 500 men including Cortez which is why they were so few in number in proportion to the men. Obviously it is not likely the ships captains had horses.
It's possible the horses were travelling on two ships. They are herd animals and need the company of other horses for their well being. Splitting them between two ships would mean the odds of at least eight of them making it to Mexico were better. Of course one of the ships could have been a horse carrying ship but should that be lost then Cortez and the officer would have to walk like every last one of their men had to. How far can a human walk carrying all their supplies and remain in fighting condition every day?
Horses can do around fifteen miles a day. Mexico is a big place as far as I can tell!
Lets assume the horses were carried o a single ship. Which makes a lot of logistical sense as we shall see.

Question is what type of horse to take? Unless any of the officers had been to Mexico prior then all they had to go on was other peoples reports of what the country was like when coming to a decision on which breed or type of horse to take with them. Clearly some are more suited to carrying humans than others. Does one take ones finest stallion to impress the locals and ones men or a beast much more suited to what is likely to be there which will get one from A to B in some degree of comfort?

Also what men would be required to look after the horses on the voyage and on the conquering trail?
Blacksmith, ostler, stable hands, some sort of veterinarian who knew how to treat horse ailments?
And are these also meant to be fighting men?
It is unlikely the ships crew would have neither time nor skills required to tend the horses on the voyage

Horses eat ten times as much by volume as humans do. (Ten times as much shit is produced all of which has to be thrown overboard)
This of cours means the horse fodder onboard would take up ten times the volume of the human fodder. As horse fodder is much less dense than human fodder the space it would require is over ten times more than human fodder. It would have to be carried on the horse carrying ship(s) as there would be no opportunity to cross ship fodder at sea. They are sailing across an ocean don't forget.

A little bit of numbers. I don't do numbers as a rule, not fluent in maths to be honest but hey ho.
  • 11 ships
  • 16 horses on one ship.
  • 500 men
  • 100 ships crew.
Let's assume all the ships were of the same size so they all had the same crew of 9. If the horses were all on one ship then there would be the crew plus whatever number were required to look after them. Let's say three or four to feed water, muck out, tend the horses and allowing for one of the four to fall ill. This means the horse ship has 13 humans and 16 horses.
The other ships just have the remaining 91 crew and 496 officers and men spread across them giving a ship total of 9 crew and 49/50 other humans onboard.

Whatever ships rations were in them days they would have taken up far less space than the horse fodder in that ship. So ballasting and the use of horse/human rations must have been done very carefully to keep the ship seaworthy. There is also the inherent risk of fire from stacked hay. It is far from unknown for hay stacks and barns full of hay at the wrong moisture content to spontaneously combust. On land its bad enough but in a wooden ship catastrophic.
Sanitation for horses and men would also have to be managed very effectively as disease thrives where there is a lack of condition and with the best preparations possible both horse and man would be under stress from the get go on such a venture so any decline in sanitary standards would allow disease to get going again with catastrophic results.
This ship would also be carrying the only livestock save for possibly pigs, chickens, goats, ducks/geese so should the human rations get spoiled or lost at sea then the horses are a giant ready meal for starving desperate men and would be lost to Cortez if such an event occurred.

If commerce were in use back then then this ship is also carrying a high value cargo and the opportunity for the ships captain and crew or crew alone to simply fall out of sight of the other ships, sail back to land or another country to flog off said horses must have been a tempting one. Again depriving Cortez of his horses.

But the overwhelming factor is once again fresh water.
Humans can get by on wine and ale for long periods as water source horses cannot. They need fresh water alone. The horse carrying ship would have to have a far greater volume of fresh water onboard than any of the other ships were carrying. Fresh water that once spoiled is no longer fresh and the horses will not touch it no matter how thirsty they are.
The ballasting of the ship at this point becomes crucial to the ships survival on the ocean. Liquids in containers move as the thing the containers are in moves. Unless the containers usage is worked out very carefully it can unbalance the ship and it capsizes or sinks. Should any of the ballast move it goes down.
Wine and ale can be carried in barrels so it is fair to suggest that water too was carried in barrels
The skill that is required to keep a relatively small ship full of horse fodder and liquid filled barrel on the level and keeping the latter from contaminating the former is incredible and the captain and crew would have to be the very best available among the merchant fleet with experience of carrying barrels and possibly horses if it had been done before.

Here is a Caravel replica. Not sure how they arrive at the size of these replicas as it seems no caravels have survived though the design persists it seems.


This one is the Pinta the larger one of the two caravels in the Colubums fleet so it comes along before Cortez in the fairy story that is official history. However it is all there is to go on as Caravel is simply the title for a style of ship in the same way as clipper or steamship or frigate. There is no hard and fast sizing to these vessels.
The Pinta is the larger of the two Caravels in the photo with the Nina the smaller one being hailed as the most historically accurate. As you can see there are nine or ten people onboard in this photograph and this represents the totality of the crew on Cortez's ships and gives some idea of the human scale to these vessels. Worth noting just how much smaller the 'historically accurate' Nina is.
Cortez's ships are of size unknown.
But let's assume the horse ship was of the same scale as the Pinta.
Where would they fit stalls or stables for sixteen horses on that vessel?
Where would they store however many tons of fodder?
Where would they store however many tons of fresh water?
The hold as in below decks is the only choice it seems.

They could of course put the horses in stalls in the hold as well using a system of ramps to walk them down in Spain and out again in Mexico which would make some sense as at least they would be near their food and water and their weight would be better below deck than on for ballasting purposes but all the shit and piss horses produce must have made it a nightmare to keep clean. Imagine a bilge full of horse sewerage.

So there it is.
Really not much more to add. Once again the logistics of fresh water, with a supporting role for horse shit and piss not to mention feeding and watering said horses, shatter the mainstream narrative.

Turns out though there is a third way to disembark horses from a ship and that was to literally push them overboard and persuade them to swim to shore as you will see when I pull the links from the other computer!

Edit to add
Found these pictures from onboard both ships. With humans for scale.
Second edit to add links.


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If you feel that Cortez and his men flew in 11 airships then present the evidence please.

it is a different way of viewing the same presented evidence . I assume you can present the actual ships instead of replicas ?

with quote for context
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it is a different way of viewing the same presented evidence .
Fair enough.
The replicas are just replicas aka someone's idea of what Columbus's ships may have looked like presumably based on some manner of evidence, pictorial, archaeological, documentary most likely and modern shipwrights interpretations of what the people who did the research came up with
I did say this in my article, included as you may have missed it.
Here is a Caravel replica. Not sure how they arrive at the size of these replicas as it seems no caravels have survived though the design persists it seems.
None of the Cortez fleet or the Columbus fleet are around today in fact no Caravels from the times these characters are said to have lived survives, however there are the replicas and the claim that the Nina of Columbus's fleet is 'historically accurate'. I did not go beyond that as the focus of this thread is horse transportation from Spain to Mexico in particular the boarding and unloading.
I used the Pinta as the guide primarily as she is bigger than the Nina and is likely to be more akin to the size of Cortezes caravel as ship designs do over time seem to get larger and more capable so it might be fair to assume that the Cortex Caravel was bigger than the Pinta replica but by how much is anyone's guess.

As I also said right at the beginning of my article
It is full of assumptions by necessity as there is no way to know anything about the event or even if it occurred
Again quoted in case you missed it.

There is pictorial, photographic and documentary evidence that horses were/are carried by ships both wooden and iron/steel ships I presented this in the form of links in an effort to show horse unloading is doable with or without a jetty and I used the replicas as the best evidence of average size of vessel said to have been in Cortez's fleet. The impossibility of carrying sixteen horses on a ship the size of the largest replica, the Pinta, was evidenced by the photograph of the deck of the replica.

Incidentally it also invalidates the idea that these vessels carried 50 men and 10 crew long with stores and water across the Atlantic.
This rather casts doubt on the whole horse introduction to the Americas mainstream narrative. In fact it renders it null.

There is of course the possibility that Cortez did not actually sail from the Spain in Europe but from an Island named Spain or another part of the Americas named Spain or New Spain or some such and the story is obfuscated to fit the narrative that civilisation was founded in Europe and spread outwards in a similar vein to the evolution nonsense that homo sapiens arose in Africa and spread out from there.
This method of story telling is used to chart the 'spread' of the horse back into America courtesy of Cortez and his officers.
There is no evidence for this so it remains an idea or three.

Same goes for the idea that Spain and Mexico were physically closer together back then and moved apart due to the actions described in tectonic plate theory and expanding earth theory. Again these are just ideas that sit without evidence which would take them from theory into fact.

Airships are real. One was built not three miles away from where I am typing this out. It was huge and could carry next to bugger all in weight terms. An airship carrying men and/or horses and stores and water across the Atlantic is an idea for sure but there is zero evidence of any airship that could carry these weights being available in the time attributed to Cortez. And if you have an airship you do not need horses to impress the locals into submission.
How would they have produced the helium/hydrogen to fill the airship with?
How would they have braced the 'skeleton' of the airship?
What materials would they have used?
Where would they have assembled it?
How would they have landed it in a potentially hostile environment?
How would they have recognised Mexico from the air?
How would it be propelled?
Was it a one trip vessel?
Etc etc

Do not forget the people said to be in Mexico at the time of Cortez's arrival are claimed to have seen Cortez as a god in part because he was on horseback. Well surely disembarking from an airship would have been of much greater impact than turning up on horseback.
Though the impact of 11 caravels turning up on the coast carrying men just as themselves must have been missed by the Mexican shore dwelling locals or they simply weren't impressed but the 'big chiefs' of the area were off their heads on wacky baccy and saw things differently.
Another idea there is zero evidence for.

To deconstruct the mainstream story the mainstream story has to be the frame of reference. There is no need to go down the fantasy fiction route (fantasy simply because there is no evidence of any kind for the existence of airships in the time frame attributed to Cortez) when sticking with the mainstream narrative and applying the measure of logistics which are known and are in use today along with some assumption demolishes the story so effectively and quickly.
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Fair enough.
I stopped here - thank you for being fair ... you might not know me , it is that simple . if anyone cared to look I think your defenestration of the napoleonic stuff is etched in grandiose terms ... that future tapestries write about :)

I will continue reading your post now
Do not forget the people said to be in Mexico at the time of Cortez's arrival are claimed to have seen Cortez as a god in part because he was on horseback.
I get the narrative , if it was so good I would spend different time here ...

if an air ship rolls out some horsemen maybe that is interesting. or everyone keeps playing in the same sandbox
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