Mexica History
Aztlan Uprising


Three Christian groups arrived in Mexico after the military conquest:

1524 - The Franciscans (this group was the smallest. It only had 12 priest.)

1526 - The Dominicans

1533 - The Augustinians

These groups wanted to learn about the language, the customs, and beliefs of the indigenous in order to convert us.

One thing that they did was to perform plays after church meetings, which somehow was inspired by the Mexica's outdoor ceremonies (Not sure why, but I think the Spaniards were drinking a little too much holy water.).  The plays would last for several days.  Amongst these plays were the "Conquest of Rhodes" which was performed in Mexico City in 1538 and "The Destruction of Jerusalem" which was enacted in Tlaxcala in 1539.  At the end of these plays, the Christians would baptise the indigenous who either performed or was part of the audience.

Another way that the Christians converted the indigenous was based on Friar Jacobo de Testera.  It was to use pictures (symbols like in the codices) to represent Christian prayers. 

Many natives pretended to be converted so that they would not be killed. Any native who was discovered of faking their belief was burned in the town center to show the other natives that if anyone who does not convert or does not believe when they join would have the same fate.

In 1524, 12 missionary friars went to Mexico to convert the natives in Mexico (I talk more about it on my site on the conquest page on the religious conquest.). This is part of a speech that one of the elders/wisemen said to the frairs. It comes from El Libro de los colloquios. I'm trying to find the english version of the book. I only got this english part of the speech from 2-Rabbits 7-Wind (one of my favorite poetry books because it has Nahuatl translated poems back before white people start putting titles to the poems because poems back then did not have titles.). Lords refers to the friars. Here it goes (sorry if there's errors, I'm typing it by hand):

Our lords most esteemed most high
your journey has been hard and long
to reach this land

we who are humble
we who are ignorant
look at you

what is it that we should say?
what is it that your ears want to hear?
can there be meaning
in what we say to you?

we are common people
because of our god-of-the-near-and-far
because of him
we dare to speak
we exhale his breath and his words
his air
for him and in his name
we dare to speak to you
despite the danger

perhaps we will be taken to our ruin
we are ordinary people
we can be killed
we can be destroyed
what are wee to do?

allow us to die
let us perish now
since our gods are already dead

wait be calm our lords
we will break open
a little
we will open a little
the secret of our god-who-is

you say
that we do not know
the right god
the god who owns the heavens
and the earth

you say
our god is not a true god

we are disturbed
we are troubled by these words

our people
who lived upon the earth before us
did not speak
in this way
they taught us their way of life

the rules of worship
and how to honor the gods
to burn incense
to offer sacrifices
this is our way
and the way of our ancestors

they believed that the gods
provide our sustenance
all that wee eat and drink
corn
beans
amaranth
sage
therefore we pray
to the gods for water
and rain
for the earth to be green
and the gods give us courage
and the ability
to rule

for a long time it has been so
at Tula
at Huapalcalco
at Xuchatlapan
at Tlamohuanchan
at Yohuallichan
at Teotihuacan

and now must we destory
the ancient order
of the Chichimeca?
of the Tolteca?
of the Acholhua?
of the Teopaneca?

we know our god
he gives us life
he continues our race
wee know how it is that we must pray

hear us o lords
do not harm our people
do not destroy them
be calm and friendly
consider these matters o lords

we cannot accept your words
we cannot accept your teachings as truth
even though this may offend you
we cannot agree
that our gods are wrong

is it not enough that wee have already lost that our way of life has been taken away?
is that not enough?

this is all wee can say
this is our answer
to your words o lords

do with us
as you please

The Spaniards strove to erase the world of ancient Mexico.  The Spaniards destroyed anything that they believed was the work of the so-call "devil" and replaced it with their beliefs.  The stones from the pyramids and temples were used to build the chruches.

This was Corte's driving motive: to leave no trace of that which constituted the holy places of the Mexica or of any other native nation of Mexico.

There was many natives uprises against the Spaniards. One of which was the Mixton War...

Malinche married another Spaniard from the Conquest.

Hernan Cortes was put into prision and lived there until his death.

Malinche's and Cortes' love child, Martin, went to Spain and became a knight and died in battle.

Tecuichpo (wife of Cuauhtemoc) would become a Christian and have four Spanish husbands and out living them.

The Spanish created Tenochtitlan in their image. The Great Temple that it once occupied was divided into lots amongst the Conquistadors. The lakes around Tenochtitlan were drained. The waterbirds and fish are no longer in the lakes. Roads would replace the dikes in Tenochtitlan. Wheeled carts and mule packs replaced canoes. In the 17th century, without the dikes, the Mexico City was repeatedly flooded. The land would become infertile over the centuries.

In the 17th century, Fernando de Alvarado Tezozomoc wrote:


Thus they have come to tell it,

thus they have come to record it in their narration,

and for us they have painted it in their codices,

the ancient men, the ancient women.


Thus in the future

never will it perish, never will it be forgotten,

always we will treasure it,

we, their children, their grandchildren,

brothers, great-grandchildren,

great-great-grandchildren, descendants,

we who carry their blood and their color,

we will tell it, we will pass it on

to those who do not yet live, who are yet to be born,

the children of the Mexicans, the children of the Tenochcans.


On 1566, Alonso de Avila Alvarado and his brother Gil, sons of one of the conquistador who fought in the conquest, united with other sons of the conquistadors (including Martin, son of Hernan Cortes) and conspired against Spain. They believed that it was unjust that they had to pay taxes even though their fathers fought for Spain. They were arrested and trialed. A few days later the verdict was they were guilty of treason against the crown. Alonso and Gil were the sons who suffered the most; they lost their possessions and their lives. They were both sentenced to be beheaded in the Plaza Mayor. Their houses, which were made of the stones of the Teocalli, were destroyed. They were beheaded, 2 meters above where Coyolxauhqui was buried.

On August 13, 1790, the statue of Coatlique was was discovered at the Plaza de Armas in Mexico City. Was this a coidcidence: August 13, 1521 and August 13, 1790?

In 1805, Bishop Benito Marin Moxo y Francoly wrote in a letter:

The statue was placed… in one of the corners of the spacious University patio, where it remained upright for some time, but in the end it was necessary to bury it once again… for a reason that none had foreseen. The Indians, who observe all the monuments of Europeans art with such stupid indifference, came with a lively curiosity to contemplate their famous statue. At first it was thought that they were moved to this by no other incentive than national pride, a characteristic of savage no less than of civilized peoples, and by the pleasure of seeing one of the most outstanding works by their ancestors, which they could see was esteemed by educated Spaniards. Nonetheless, it later came to seem that in their frequent visits there was some secret religious motive. It was thus essential to prohibit their access absolutely; but their fanatical enthusiasm and their incredible cunning made a mockery of this decision. They watched for moments when the patio would be empty of people, especially in the afternoon when, at the conclusion of the academic lessons, all the classrooms are closed. Then they would take advantage of the silence that reigns in this home of the Muses, they would leave their towers and hurry to adore their Goddess Teoyaomiqui [Coatlique]. A thousand times the beadles, returning from outside and crossing the patio on the way to their quarters, caught the Indians by surprise, some on their knees, other prostrate… before the statue, and holding in their hands burning candles and other diverse offerings of the sort their elders used to present to their idols. And these things which were done, and later observed with care by many grave and learned persons… led to the resolution, as we said, of once more placing the aforesaid statue beneath the ground.

In the 19th century the named Azteca was used to refer to the Mexica.

In 1965, in Tlatelolco, a plaque was installed which said (I got the English version if anyone has the Spanish version of the Plaque, please e-mail it to me):

Translation:

On the 13th of August in 1521,

heroically defended by Cuauhtemoc,

Tlatelolco fell to Hernan Cortes.

This was neither a triumph nor a defeat,

it was a painful birth

of the mestizo people

who are the Mexico of today.

c/s