When Hernán Cortés first came to the Aztec city, the emperor Montecuhzoma believed him to be the god Quetzalcoatl and welcomed him. However, the Spanish soon showed their true colors and began a bloodthirsty attack on the Aztecs.
In an effort to stop the bloodshed, the Aztecs gave Cortés a chest filled with gold coins as "blood money". Cortés, however, refused to end his conquest, incurring the wrath of the Aztec gods. They placed upon the gold "a terrible curse", turning all who took from the chest into undead, unfeeling skeletons. Nonetheless, the Aztec civilization was crushed, Montecuhzoma was killed by his own people, still trusting Cortés, and the Spanish had firmly rooted themselves in the New World.
Cortés eventually died, and his spirit was placed in his sword. His cursed treasure ended up on Isla de Muerta, where Hector Barbossa and his crew happened upon it. The treasure was finally claimed by the sea following Barbossa's death at the hands of Jack Sparrow.
Cortés' sword eventually was sought after by many individuals, and this led to more incidents of "curses".
Years prior to this incident, the Aztec gods cursed Captain Torrents, in retaliation to Davy Jones branding him with a tattoo of Quetzalcoatl. Wherever he went from then on, Torrents was followed by storms formed from his anger.
- Jack Sparrow: The Coming Storm (Mentioned only)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (First mentioned)