Battle to the Death: Ivan the Terrible vs. Hernán Cortés in Deadliest Warrior Season 3

June 7, 2011
This week's first matchup revealed is one where we see a ruler who turned a nation into an empire fight against a leader who led the colonization of's Ivan the Terrible vs. Hernán Cortés!

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Ivan the Terrible was a Russian Grand Prince who named himself as Russia's first official Tsar. Under his rule, Russian territory expanded tremendously, many battles were fought, and power became more centralized in Russia. Born in 1530, Ivan's father died when he was only 3 and his mother died when he was 8, so he had already been crowned Grand Prince of Moscow at a tender age. In 1547 Ivan named himself Tsar of All Russia, and led a successful Empire, opening trading connections and conquering Khanates of Kazan, as well as Astrakhan. Unfortunately, his later reign was not as successful, as after his wife died in 1560 he grew more and more paranoid and allegedly, psychotic – he even took the life of his own son, Ivan, in 1581 when an argument they were having turned violent. His reign of terror grew as he created the Oprichnina, a northeastern segment of Russia directly under Ivan's rule where his henchmen or Oprichniki carried out his bidding: torturing and executing thousands of his enemies. Although Ivan grew more wild and violent in his ways, he died in a gentler way – while playing chess in 1584. After his death, his other son, Feodor, took over as Tsar, just as Moscow was left in complete anarchy. Ivan had successful foreign policy campaigns, but ultimately plagues, failed invasions, and his mentally unstable state of mind ended his rule.

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It is hard to imagine that one man could lead an army of Spanish conquistadors and Tlaxcalan warriors to bring down the entire Aztec Empire in just over 2 years, but Hernán Cortés is the man who did it. Born in Medellín, Spain in 1485, Hernán attended the University of Salamanca when he was 14 for two years to study law, but lost interest and returned home, being distracted by stories about the New World. In 1511 he and Spanish forces conquered Cuba, and later in 1519 took over Tabasco, Mexico, defeating the local natives there. Tabasco was only the beginning, however, as the next two years saw some of the most vicious battles take place at Veracruz and Tenochtitlan, where in 1520 Montezuma was killed by disgruntled Aztecs and in 1521 the Aztec Empire came crumbling down finally. Hernán Cortés was a significant figure in Spanish history as it was him and his forces who essentially paved the way for a wave of Spanish forces to begin colonizing the Americas, changing history forever.

Ivan the Terrible and Hernán Cortés join Crazy Horse vs. Pancho Villa, George Washington vs. Napoleon Bonaparte , US Army Rangers vs. North Korean Special Operations Force, Genghis Khan vs. Hannibal, Saddam Hussein vs. Pol Pot, and Joan of Arc vs. William the Conqueror as the officially announced matchups for Deadliest Warrior Season 3. Our next matchup will be revealed Thursday, June 9, so follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the up-to-the-minute info. Until then, let us know who would win this great battle, Ivan the Terrible vs. Hernán Cortés. Don't forget to vote in our poll below!

We also want hear from you, the fans, about which match up you want to be the first of the season. Let your voice be heard on Twitter, Facebook, or leave a comment right here!