Link to enlarge K6042 (Las Bocas - Ceramic Vessel) THE FOUNDATION RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

History of the Mexicans as Told by Their Paintings
Translated and edited by Henry Phillips Jr.
Read before the American Philosophical Society, October 19, 1883
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society XXI:616-651, 1883.
Edited by Alec Christensen

Table of Contents


Chapter   1
Chapter   2
Chapter   3
Chapter   4
Chapter   5
Chapter   6
Chapter   7
Chapter   8
Chapter   9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23

Notes 1-16
Note 17
Note 18
Notes 19-48
Notes 49-62
CHAPTER [20] [p.632]

[The History of Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco.]

In the second year of the settlement of Mexico the Mexicans began to lay the foundations of the large and important temple of Vchilogos, which kept on increasing at a great rate, for every ruler of the dwellers in Mexico who succeeded another in power added to it a building equally as large as the original one which the first inhabitants had erected there; and this the Spaniards found very tall and strong and broad, and it was much to look at.

In these days the Mexicans had for their ruler Illancueitl, a woman of importance who had power over them; and she was the wife of Acamapichi, 49 a native of Culuacan, and she was of Coatlixan, and although of Culuacan, descended from the Mexicans, for her mother married there one of the chief men of Culuacan, and the mother was a Mexican; and her husband, at the suggestion of his wife, came to Mexico, and she told them that as he was of the best family and they had no lord, they should take him for their ruler, and so he was the first ruler, and his wife died in [the] twenty-fourth year after the foundation of Mexico; and after her death they chose him for lord because in her life he was only looked upon as the chief man; 50 three years before this, which was reckoned as twenty-one years from the foundation of Mexico, the Mexicans made war upon the people of Culuacan and burnt their temple. In the next year, the twenty-second from the foundation of the city, the Culuacans took notice of the great progress the Mexicans had made in those twenty two previous years, and were smitten with fear, and placed their gods in a canoe with which they went to Suchimilco; and when they had reached the town of Cuantlecaxtan, the sun shone forth with so much brilliancy that his rays struck them blind, and so they could not see until they had come close to Mexico; and when they had recovered their sight they placed their gods in Mexico, and built for them a small temple a short distance further on than the place where now stand the shambles.

In the twenty-eighth year from the foundation of the city in which the fifty-two years were fulfilled, there was held a great public festival in which all light was extinguished throughout the land, and when it was all extinct they would draw fire anew from the mountain of Estapalapa. This festival took place from every fifty-two to fifty-two years, so that the year that completed the four times thirteen years was the fifty-second one.

At the thirty-first year from the foundation of the city fire first began to issue forth from the volcano, and in the forty-seventh the Mexicans conquered Tenayuca, and burnt its temple, which was of straw, and the people of Tenayuca were Chichimecas.

In the fifty-second year of the foundation of the city the people of Tatilulco petitioned for a ruler Teçuxomutli, the lord of Escapuçalco, and he gave them for their master Teutleuac, whose rule did not endure forty days, for he bore too hardly upon their braves, and they helped him in no manner. Teçucumutli, who was a Mexican, was chosen for their lord by those of Escapuçalco, as one of the two which it was their custom to have, and they have always had that number, and have to this day.

Quaquanpuanaque was the second ruler of the Tatilulcans whom the lord of Escapuçalco gave them; his reign lasted fifty days, at the end of which time they fled away from him; he is represented with claws on his feet. In the fifty third year of the foundation, Acamapichi was made ruler of Mexico. In the fifty-sixth year the Mexicans made war upon the Suchimilcans, and burnt their temple; and in the year 59 Acamapichi conquered Mezquiqué. In the year 63 from the foundation of the city there went forth from Mexico forty men and women by Guaximalpan, and the Otomis of Matalçingo found them, and slew them by treachery in Cuitralavaca (sic).

In the seventieth year from the foundation of the city Acamapichi conquered Cuitralavaca, and burnt for them their temple. In the seventy-third year Lord Acamapichi died, and they made Vichilivci, the son of Acamapichi, their ruler. In the year 75 Miciaçixiuci, the daughter of Escoaçi, lord of Cuernavaca, 51 wife of Viciliuçi, bore Mutiçuma, the elder, who first was called Iluican Minaçi, and afterward Mutiçuma; because his father was lord against the will of very many people, the son changed his name into Mutiçuma, which signifies angry lord. In the year 79 a sister of Viciliuçi married with Istlisuchilci, lord of Tezcuco, and bore Neçavalcuyuci, who became lord of Tezcuco. In the year 81 the Mexicans conquered Quaximalpan from the Otomies.

In the year 85 from the foundation of the city the Mexicans conquered Capiscla, and in the same year Quanximilco, in the province of Chalco, and in the next year they waged war against all the aforesaid peoples, and in that year they gave themselves up. In the ninetieth year from the foundation they conquered Tezquiaque. In the ninety-second year the Mexicans sent out seven of their chieftains to ascertain if the peoples of Puchitlan were for war, and as they passed by Xaltocan three of them were treacherously made captive and murdered, and the other four escaped by [634] flight. In the next following year conquered the province of Tazcuco, and they began upon Tepepan, much against the wishes of its ruler, who, when he saw them. went away and fled to Tezmuluco, a town of Suyocingo; the father (here occurs a lacuna) being dead, because they were at peace with the Mexicans.

In the following year 94, Viçiluicin died, and they took for their lord a brother of his named Chimalpupucaçi. In the year 97 the people of Tuzcuco gave themselves up to Chimalpupucaçi, and in the same year they captured Tulancingo, and the Mexicans were a whole year in making themselves masters of it. In the year 99 the people of Tatiluco fled to Tula, and as they had died out, and had left their god, named Tlacauepan there, so they took him and carried him to Tatilulco. In the year 105 from the foundation of Mexico, Teçocumuc, lord of Escapuçalco, died, and as Maxtlato, son of Çocumuc was lord of Cuiuacan in the lifetime of his father, and as his father was now dead, he came to be lord of Ecapuçalco; and this one gave orders that there should be a general uprising against Mexico, and when Ximalpupacaçi saw that the land was in rebellion, he slew himself, and being dead the Mexicans chose as their lord one of his brothers named Izcuaçi; and when Tlacateulti lord of Tatilulcoco saw the great force and command that the lord of Escapuçalco had, he fled away from him, but to no avail, for he was captured near the fountain of Saltoca, and there they slew them; and it was because formerly, when he was lord of Escapuçalco, the lord of Tatiluco seduced his wife, and for that reason the captive was ordered to be slain; and in this year Neçagualcuyuci fled from Tezcuco,  *  because the Tezcucans were in revolt against Mexico. In the following year 106, the natives of the country endeavored to make war against Mexico, by order of the lord of Escapuçalco, but one of the chiefs of Escapuçalco, named Totolayo, made peace with Mexico in the year 108, and the inhabitants of Mexico would not permit of a peace unless they slew the lord of Escapuçalco, and seeing how on account of their desire for a peace they could do no other thing, they caused him to be slain, and so it was done (In the year 109 Tatilulco rose in revolt), and in the year 112 they came into conflict with the Mexicans. In the next year, 113, Quautlatoaçi, the lord of Tatiluco (sic), revolted against Mexico, and one night in his dreams there appeared to him one of the gods they worshiped w ho told him he had done wrongly, and for this reason he rendered himself up at Mexico, and the Mexicans were unwilling to slay him, so they handed him over to his own people that they might put him to death, and so they killed him. In the [year] 117 the Mexicans gained Guautitlan, and in the next year Izcoaci died, and they raised to be their lord Mutiçuma, the elder. In the year 125 of the foundation of Mexico, Vchilobos (sic), renewed himself, and made himself enormous.

In the 128 at the Easter-of-Bread season there fell such a terrible hail, and so much of it that the houses were destroyed and fell in ruins, and the lagoon froze up. In the year 132 there was terrible hail and famine, so much [635] so that in the next year it was ordered that if one took but a thread of maize, even if the maize field belonged to him, he should die for the act. In the year 136 Moteçuma the elder, having made a round buckler (or disk: rodela) of stone, the same which Rodrigo Gomez drew forth, caused it to be buried at the door of his house, and placed a hole in the middle of it, and it was a very big hole, and in that hollow they placed the captives taken in war, fastening them to it, so that they could command only their arms, and gave them a shield and a sword of wood, and they brought in three men dressed respectively as a lion, a tiger, and an eagle, and all these fought the prisoner, and wounded him; then they took a large knife and cut out his heart; they made these knives out of stone, under this enormous large and round stone; and afterwards the others who were lords of Mexico made two other stones and placed them, each lord his own, one over the other, and the one they took away, 52 and it stands to this day underneath the baptismal font; and the other was broken up and burned when the Spaniards entered, and the very first persons who used this stone were the people of Cuaistravaca.

In the year 139 Cruistravaca was taken, and much precious stones were brought to Muteçuma. In the year 141 the Mexicans took Quetlasta. In the year 147 Moteçuma (sic), died, and Axayacaçin, his son, was raised to be lord. In the year 151 Mochiuçi, the lord of Tutilulco, surrendered himself to Mexico, and in the next year the people of Quetlastla revolted on account of the annual tribute of twenty men, and they took refuge in a house filled with red pepper (agí), and consumed themselves with fire; but soon in the year 153 they were subjugated. Next year Axayacaçi made Citlalcoaçi the lord of Malinalco. In the year 155 Axaycaçi seized three men himself, and was wounded, and so he personally gained Matalçingo. The following year, 159, Axayacaçi died, and they made his brother, Tizçoçicaçi, lord of Mexico.

The following year, 160, they endeavored to make Vchilobi very large, and almost all, even to the infants, set to work on him. Next year they held a festival in the temple of Vchilovi (sic), with the blood of the Matalçingos and Tlaulans, for they slew many of them. In the year Tizcoçicaçi died, and his younger brother Auiçoçi was raised to be lord of Mexico. Next year Vchiloci (sic) was finished by Auiçoçi and he sacrificed many people on that occasion. In 176 the water rose so high in the lake, especially the river of Cuiuacan, that all the houses were drowned and the water came up to the first circle of Vchilobi, and the houses which were of adobe fell in; and it is said that the water that rose was black and full of vipers, and it was looked upon as a miracle. In 180 Aucoçi (sic), died, and was succeeded by his brother Muteçuma, who was the last lord. In 182 Muteçuma built a temple to Quiçalcoatla, where, at the present time, stands the house of the bishop, and covered the roof with straw. Next year the lightning fell on it. and consumed it, ’twas said that the bolt was sped by Tlaloque, the god of water. They built a very large temple to the honor [636] of Çintelil, the son of Piciutetl. In the year 184 the inhabitants of Mexico slew many of those of Çoçola, whom they had captured in war; having stretched them out on two pieces of wood in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross, they shot them to death with arrows, and every year they celebrated this festival. In the 185th year from the foundation of Mexico, the fifty-two years were completed, and Muteçuma celebrated the festival for the last time. In the [year] 189 there appeared an omen in the heavens, which arose from near the summit of the volcano and floated on high over the city, and it was of a white color as broad as two arms; and Moteçuma endeavored to discover what this thing might portend, and his wise men responded that it foretold his decease in that year, and it turned out that this was the very year in which the Christians appeared on their journey to this land. In the year 193 the Tascalans 52* laid siege to Guaxocingo, and they were reduced to great straits through hunger, until Muteçuma brought them assistance, and took some of them to Mexico, and others of them he placed there for his defence; and they prayed to Camastle, their god, and after that they had made an end of prayer, they rose in revolt so that the Mexicans let go their prisoners and returned to the city; and the people of Guaxocingo slew the Mexican women who had intermarried with the men of Guaxocingo, and all their sons, because they were of Mexican blood.

In the year 196 in Guaçacalco (sic), came two ships which were received at Vera Cruz de Paz, to spy on whom Muteçuma sent one of his people, and soon Muteçuma said that these were his gods; the ships remained at Guaçacualco (sic), and said they would return a year later; 53 the day they arrived at Guaçacalco was called centochil; the port of Vera Cruz bore the name of Chalchuecan. In the year 197 came the Marquis to New Spain to whom Muteçuma sent an envoy to Vera Cruz with many shields and plumes, and a sun made of gold, and a star of silver; they made themselves understood by the Indians by means of an interpreter named Marina. 54 Afterwards the Marquis came to Cempoal, where they received him with trumpets. Thence he proceeded to Tascala, where the warriors sallied forth to battle, and all who came forth were slain; and he being informed that the Tascalans desired to massacre the Chululans, he joined with them in another place and slew them all. It is said that whilst the Marquis was in Chulula, he sent Alvarado to the province of Chalco, who returned with the information that the land and the people were both bad, and that he should turn back; on which Tamaya, the lord of Çempoal said that he had better march to Mexico, where Muteçuma lived very richly, and that everything he owned was made of gold, and that he styled himself lord. The Marquis was forty days in Chulula. Then there came on the behalf of Muteçuma, Viznagual, the father of Tapía, who was with the Marquis, to tell him by the orders of Muteçuma, that he would give him much gold and silver if he would turn home again; him the Marquis caused to be seized which caused great fear to Muteçuma. (In this year 198 was held the festival of Vchilobi), and Muteçuma died from the effect of a blow with a stone thrown by one of his [637] own subjects, who would not listen to him, but used opprobrious language to him; and they put in their Vchilobi beams, and the bravest soldiers whom the Spaniards were unable to rescue when they left the city, and who were all put to death. One night the Marquis left the city and went to Tascula, where be was received by its lord, Xicotenga.

On the death of Muteçuma, the Mexicans chose for their lord Cuitlavaçi, lord of Estapalapa, a brother of Muteçuma, he ruled eighty days, the smallpox 55 broke out throughout all the Indians, and many perished before they returned to subjugate the city.

The Marquis came to Tezcuco having conquered all the land in its vicinity, and the people of Chalco made war on it; while he was in Tezcuco, Guatemuça, son of Viçoçi, was chosen lord. and he made war on Chalco, and without cause he slew six of their chiefs (in the year 199). It took the Marquis eighty days to conquer his way to Mexico. The Marquis made Istisuchl lord of Mexico, who in the year 200 died, lord of Tezcuco, and Juan Velasquez, deposed him. and reigned eighty days. Guatemuça was made lord of Tatilulco (year 201), and presently sent to all the surrounding people to call them to a war against Mexico; and these people came at once and informed Juan Velasquez of the matter, and he said it made no odds to him, for he was not its lord. The Marquis left new Spain in peace and went to Honduras (called in Indian Guaimula), and left his subordinate deputy, Peralmildez, as Captain-General, and returned to Castile. Don Martin, son of Muteçuma (year 202), and the deputy who were named in place of the Marquis, made requisitions on the Mexicans for gold and silver, and they put to the torture one Rodrigo De Paez, because he would not tell where the Marquis kept his gold and valuables, and finally as he would not give them the information, they hung him (year 203); when the Marquis returned, he seized the factor and overseer, but did not punish them as they had deserved, but sent them back to Spain (year 204). The Marquis made Tapia, Governor of Mexico, his Deputy, and in this year 205, Nuño de Guzman came to Panuco. The Marquis departed for Castile. In the year 206 there were rains of bloody drops, and it was the Sabbath about two o’clock, and everybody saw them, and in this year there appeared an omen in the sky of a white color, and shaped like a lance. In the year 207 Nuño de Guzman left for Nueva Galicia, and the four councillors of Castile came, Salmeron, Maldonado, Çainos and Quiroga; 56 they made Don Pablo, Governor.


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