Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library

Texcoco: Prehispanic and Colonial Perspectives

Jongsoo Lee
Galen Brokaw
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 288
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Texcoco: Prehispanic and Colonial Perspectivespresents an in-depth, highly nuanced historical understanding of this major indigenous Mesoamerican city from the conquest through the present. The book argues for the need to revise conclusions of past scholarship on familiar topics, deals with current debates that derive from differences in the way scholars view abundant and diverse iconographic and alphabetic sources, and proposes a new look at Texcocan history and culture from different academic disciplines.

    Contributors address some of the most pressing issues in Texcocan studies and bring new ones to light: the role of Texcoco in the Aztec empire, the construction and transformation of Prehispanic history in the colonial period, the continuity and transformation of indigenous culture and politics after the conquest, and the nature and importance of iconographic and alphabetic texts that originated in this city-state, such as the Codex Xolotl, the Mapa Quinatzin, and Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl's chronicles. Multiple scholarly perspectives and methodological approaches offer alternative paradigms of research and open a needed dialogue among disciplines-social, political, literary, and art history, as well as the history of science.

    This comprehensive overview of Prehispanic and colonial Texcoco will be of interest to Mesoamerican scholars in the social sciences and humanities.

    eISBN: 978-1-60732-284-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. 1 Texcocan Studies Past and Present
    (pp. 1-24)
    Jongsoo Lee and Galen Brokaw

    From the conquest through the present, Texcoco, best known as the home of the famous King Nezahualcoyotl, has been an important topic of research on Prehispanic and colonial Mexico. Numerous Texcocan leaders figure prominently in chronicles and histories of ancient Mexico: from the legendary Chichimec conqueror Xolotl to Nezahualcoyotl prior to the conquest and from Cortés Ixtlilxochitl through Carlos Ometochtzin and Hernando Pimentel Ixtlilxochitl during the colonial period. These histories frequently describe Texcoco as an enlightened city that developed highly advanced and efficient political and legal systems. Moreover, they often eulogize Texcoco as the home of a unique Prehispanic artistic...

  7. 2 Improving Western Historiography of Texcoco
    (pp. 25-62)
    Jerome A. Offner

    Isabel Bueno Bravo (2005) describes Tlatelolco as standing in the shadow of Tenochtitlan, and the same is true of Texcoco, although for different reasons. Research on the Aztecs came of age in a post-Revolutionary Mexico, with its one-party state dominated by the contemporaneous Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Institutional Revolutionary Party; PRI) controlled by a small oligarchy. Mexico’s assertion of economic independence from the United States was well under way, while across the Atlantic, Europe’s ideological struggles and wars generated exiles—including those fleeing the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War—who became prominent figures in the field.

    In the work of...

  8. 3 The Aztec Triple Alliance: A Colonial Transformation of the Prehispanic Political and Tributary System
    (pp. 63-92)
    Jongsoo Lee

    In scholarship on Prehispanic Mexico, the dominant view has maintained that the Aztec empire consisted of a Triple Alliance among the city-states of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan, which distributed land and tribute among themselves. This collaboration of the three city-states has received considerable attention from scholars working on Prehispanic Mexico, and numerous studies have focused on the Triple Alliance and the Aztec empire. In the mid-twentieth century, Robert H. Barlow’s (1949).The Extent of the Empire of the Culhua Mexicaattempted for the first time to identify the extent of the political and tributary domain of the Aztec empire province...

  9. 4 Polygyny and the Divided Altepetl: The Tetzcocan Key to Pre-conquest Nahua Politics
    (pp. 93-116)
    Camilla Townsend

    The mid-sixteenth-century Nahua historian from Cuauhtitlan bent to his task: he was in the midst of transforming a traditional pictorialxiuhpohualliinto a set of annals written out using the Roman alphabet. “It was in [the year] Three Rabbit that Nezahualcoyotzin came forth, accompanied by Huexotzinca, Tlaxcalteca, and Chalca. It was then that Nezahualcoyotzin sought out the sons [or descendants] of Tezozomoctli in all the places where they were ruling; conquests were made in as many places as they were [found]” (Annals of Cuauhtitlan1992: 57).¹ He went on to describe the first place, the second, the third, and the...

  10. 5 The Mapa Quinatzin and Texcoco’s Ideal Subordinate Lords
    (pp. 117-146)
    Lori Boornazian Diel

    The central leaf of theMapa Quinatzin, painted in 1542, presents a symbolic and idealized image of the Texcocan palace and larger Acolhua domain under the consecutive reigns of Nezahualcoyotl and Nezahualpilli (see figure 5.1, bottom). The two rulers are shown seated in a throne room in the Texcocan palace while fourteen subordinate lords are gathered in the courtyard below them. While Texcoco had a number of territories under its control, these fourteen lords and their associated territories are typically described as the most elite, those that were ruled by hereditary lords and those who advised Texcoco’s rulers. In this...

  11. 6 Evidence of Acolhua Science in Pictorial Land Records
    (pp. 147-164)
    Barbara J. Williams and Janice K. Pierce

    The Spanish conquest of ruling polities in the Valley of Mexico in 1521 had two consequences that forever obscured the history of science in the New World.¹ One was decimation of the indigenous population within a span of three generations. The other was wholesale destruction of native libraries, not only by Spanish conquerors and priests, who thought them to be the works of the devil, but also by individuals of the native population who sought to avoid prosecution for idolatry. Probably lost in the book burnings, particularly of the royal library in Texcoco, was evidence underpinning Acolhua mathematical and scientific...

  12. 7 Don Carlos de Tezcoco and the Universal Rights of Emperor Carlos V
    (pp. 165-182)
    Ethelia Ruiz Medrano

    When reflecting on the sixteenth-century conquest and subjugation of extensive and far-flung sections of the Americas, it has generally been emphasized that the European presence in Mesoamerica followed the steady overseas expansion of the Spanish kingdoms. Thus colonial domination may be explained in part as a mercantilist venture through which the Iberian kingdoms annexed first one territory and then another, along with the people who inhabited them. Nonetheless, it should also be emphasized—as others have done—that the rights and symbolic acts “legitimating” the incorporation of the American colonies to the Crown of Castile stemmed as well from the...

  13. 8 Beyond the Burned Stake: The Rule of Don Antonio Pimentel Tlahuitoltzin in Tetzcoco, 1540–45
    (pp. 183-200)
    Bradley Benton

    In 1539, don Carlos Chichimecatecuhtli, member of the ruling family of Tetzcoco and son of the great Tetzcocatlatoani(ruler) Nezahualpilli (r. 1472–1515), was convicted by the Holy Office of the Inquisition of heretical dogmatizing and burned at the stake (see figure 8.1). Mexico’s first bishop, Juan de Zumárraga, presided over don Carlos’s Inquisition trial, where several of his neighbors and family members—including his sister, wife, and son—testified against him for encouraging them to abandon the Christian faith and return to the customs of their indigenous ancestors.¹ It was also reported that don Carlos possessed several “idols”...

  14. 9 The Alva Ixtlilxochitl Brothers and the Nahua Intellectual Community
    (pp. 201-218)
    Amber Brian

    Ángel María Garibay K. concludes the two-volumeHistoria de la literatura náhuatl(Garibay K. 1971 [1954) with the suggestively titled chapter “Vuelo Roto,” in which he uses don Bartolomé de Alva (b. ca. 1597), the younger of the two Texcoca brothers this chapter addresses, to embody his concept of a “broken flight” in Nahuatl literature. For Garibay, Bartolomé de Alva’s translations into Nahuatl of three Spanish Golden Age dramas exemplify an emergent, though truncated, Nahuatl-language literary tradition. Volume 2 ofHistoria de la literatura náhuatltraces the historical circumstances and social institutions that supported the writings and activities of dozens...

  15. 10 Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl’s Texcocan Dynasty: Nobility, Genealogy, and Historiography
    (pp. 219-242)
    Pablo García Loaeza

    Feranto Mexía, a nobleman of arms and letters in fifteenth-century Jaén, wrote hisNobiliario(1492) to demonstrate that the essential ingredient of nobility is old blood, that noble status is determined primarily by a lineage’s antiquity. Two hundred years later Mexía would have found no cause to reprove Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl, who dedicated significant effort and expense to tracing his ancestry well beyond his fourth grandfather on his maternal grandmother’s side.² Thus Alva Ixtlilxochitl knew full well how to explain who he was: a legitimate descendant of the prestigious Royal House of Texcoco. By doing so, he also meant...

  16. 11 The Reinvented Man-God of Colonial Texcoco: Alva Ixtlilxochitl’s Nezahualcoyotl
    (pp. 243-260)
    Leisa Kauffmann

    InThe Allure of Nezahualcoyotl: Pre-Hispanic History, Religion, and Nahua Poetics(2008), Jongsoo Lee points out the vast gap separating the figure of Nezahualcoyotl as represented in colonial histories from the actual historical figure that must have existed. He shows how this ruler’s past and present reputation relies largely on early colonial texts written by European friars and by the bilingual and bicultural Texcocan chroniclers who followed them. Among this latter group, he notes, the writing of Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl takes a preeminent place (Lee 2008: 19–45). For Salvador Velazco (1998: 34–35), another scholar of Fernando de...

  17. List of Contributors
    (pp. 261-264)
  18. Index
    (pp. 265-276)