In his Christian conquest, Cortes committed perhaps the greatest crime to history: he nearly obliterated the Aztec culture in his zeal. So when Cortes died, on this date in 1547, he died a good Catholic, if not a good man.
It was on this date, January 15, 1678, that the French priest who is remembered as a lifelong atheist, Jean Meslier, was born. Meslier has been described as the first person in the West to write an entire text in support of atheism – discovered, redacted (to make him a Deist) and promoted by Voltaire. […]