In 1519 Spanish conquistadors arrived on the shores of Mesoamerica under the leadership of Hernando Cortés. Following the defeat of Mexico-Tenochtidan, the Aztec capital, Cortés requested that members of the Franciscan order be sent from Spain to lead the conversion effort. In 1523 the first three Franciscans arrived, among them fray Pedro de Gante. One year later another 12 Franciscans made the journey. They established themselves in the southeastern portion of Mexico-Tenochtitlan, and under their direction Nahua laborers built the principal Franciscan religious compound, San Francisco, and the first indigenous chapel in New Spain, San Josef de los Naturales. Together this friary and chapel served as the main point of interaction for Franciscan conversion efforts within the altepetl, ethnic state, of Mexico-Tenochtidan. In the courtyard of San Francisco, next to the indigenous chapel, fray Pedro established an indigenous school aimed at the indoctrination of the Nahua peoples of Mexico-Tenochtitlan and other outlying altepetl. Although its students were primarily members of indigenous nobility, other promising Nahuas received an education there as well.