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Location DB > Mexico > Tlaxcala > Tlaltelulco > Tlaltelulco
 Name
Tlaltelulco
 Viewing Options
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 Database Info
created by lopix on 7/18/2005 1:43 AM
last modified by lopix on 7/18/2005 1:54 AM
 Viewability
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled by its creator as Public, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
 Overview
 Description
A small town outside Tlaxcala, inhabited for possibly thousands of years. There is everything to see, from ruins to wild dogs, scary Mexicans to flocks of Egrets. There is no way to describe it, you have to see it.
 Basic Information
Type: Area
Status: Active
Accessibility: Wouldn't want to be a gringo alone in the area
Recommendation: wouldn't go there on purpose
 Physical Information
Address

Tlaltelulco, Tlaxcala
Mexico
Owner:
  • See a map of this location
  •  Hazards
  • wild dogs and angry locals
  •  Interesting Features
    almost everything
     Security Measures
  • any and everything
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 0
    Closed: 0
     Required Equipment
  • protection
  •  Recommended Equipment
    camera
     History
    The Olmec Xicalanca culture fell into decline after AD 900 and was replaced by the Teo-Chichimecas (also known as Náhuatl Tlaxcalans). Sometime around A.D. 1350, the present-day inhabitants of the area, the Tlaxcalans, drove out the Chichimecas. Defeating the opposition, the Tlaxcalans moved into the Cholula region and set up an autonomous Tlaxcalan state. During the following decades, they made war with and subdued many of their neighbors. In time, the Tlaxcalan Nation would evolve into a "confederation of four republics," each with its own ruling lord, judges and other officials. The Tlaxcalans built defensive walls along the outskirts of their territory and collected taxes and tribute from their subject peoples.

    In time, the Tlaxcalans came up against the powerful Mexica (pronounced "me-shee-ka") Indians who inhabited the Valley of Mexico to the west. As the Mexica spread out from their base of power in Tenochtitlán, the Tlaxcalans became their traditional enemies. The Tlaxcalans and Mexica shared a common origin, both of them speaking the Náhuatl language. As a matter of fact, both the Tlaxcalans and the Mexica belonged to the Aztec culture, looking back to the legendary Aztlan (Place of the Herons) as their ancestral homeland in the northwest.

    For more than two hundred years, the Tlaxcalan nation lived in the shadow of the Mexica and their rapidly expanding Aztec Empire. Starting in 1325, the Mexica had begun building an empire with their military force. They subdued neighboring city-states and compelled the people to surrender part of their production as tribute. By 1440, the Mexica had spread their influence as far south as Guatemala.

    In 1519, the Aztec Empire was the most powerful Mesoamerican kingdom of all time. The Mexica capital of Tenochtitlán had become a city of about 300,000 citizens. And the Aztec Empire itself ruled over about 80,000 square miles of territory extending from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, and southward to Oaxaca and Chiapas. This empire contained some 15 million people, living in thirty-eight provinces. In all, the Emperor received the tribute of 489 communities.

    Although the Mexica put together an extensive and powerful empire, Tlaxcala never fell into their hands. When the Spanish conquistadors, under the command of Captain-General Hernán Cortés, reached the Tlaxcalan republic in 1519, Tlaxcala was an independent enclave deep in the heart of the Mexica Empire. At this time, the Tlaxcalan Confederation ruled over some 200 settlements, boasting a total population of about 150,000. Surrounded on all sides and economically blockaded, they had never yielded to the Mexica and had been subjected to almost continuous warfare and human sacrifice for many decades.

    Some historians believe that Tenochtitlán could have overwhelmed Tlaxcala without too much difficulty, and the reason it did not is probably that it wanted a nearby source of victims for the human sacrifices. The clashes between the Tlaxcalans and Mexica were called the "Flower Wars" (Xochiyaoyotl). The chief purpose of these "ceremonial battles" was to furnish captives to be used in their sacrificial rites. It is likely that both the Mexica and Tlaxcalan also saw war as a convenient way of testing and training young warriors for future wars. During this time, it was a common belief in Central Mexico that offering human sacrifice to their gods would ensure the continued movement of the sun and hence the other processes needed to maintain life.

    On April 22, 1519, a fleet of eleven Spanish galleons, which had been sailing northward along the eastern Gulf Coast of Mexico, dropped anchor just off the wind-swept beach on the island of San Juan de Ulúa. Under the command of the Spanish-born Captain-General Hernán Cortés, these vessels bore 450 soldiers, 100 sailors, and 16 horses. The first indigenous peoples that Cortés met with were the Totonac Indians who inhabited the coastal area near the city-state of Cempoala. Although this town of 14,000 was subject to the Aztec Empire, Cacique (Chief) Tlacochcalcatl and his people offered a warm welcome to Cortés, expressing the hope that the Spaniards may help them to gain independence from their Mexica overlords.

    Cacique Tlacochcalcatl warned Cortés that, on his journey inland, he would pass through the territory of the Tlaxcalans, who held a deep and uncompromising hatred toward the Mexica. It was his belief that the Tlaxcalans might be willing to ally themselves with the Spaniards. With the help of Totonac guides, Cortés planned his march to Tenochtitlán through territories that might represent fertile ground for more alliances. Finally, on August 16, 1519, Cortés assembled a formidable expedition to move inland from Cempoala. His army now consisted of 400 Spanish soldiers, 15 horses, 1,300 Indian warriors, seven pieces of artillery, and a thousand tamanes (porters), who helped transport baggage and guns across the land. About 150 of the porters were Cuban Indian servants who were brought along from Cuba. The force brought along many dogs that had been well-trained to fight. The distance from Cempoala to Tenochtitlán is 250 miles, as the crow flies.

    On August 31, at a point ten miles into Tlaxcalan territory, Cortés' army encountered a hostile force of at least 30,000 Tlaxcalans. Despite the tremendous size of the army, the Spaniards managed to fend them off. Unlike other Indians, the Tlaxcalans seemed to have no fear of the horses and killed two of the animals. That night, the Spaniards, exhausted from their battle, rested in the open, some twenty miles from the capital city of Tlaxcala. The Tlaxcalan council then decided on a night attack against the Spaniards and their allies, but they found to their surprise that Cortés' troops were ready for them and reversed the ambush.

    In the next battle, Cortés claimed that he faced a Tlaxcalan army of well over 100,000 warriors. In this battle, some sixty Spaniards and several horses were wounded by the enemy. But, on the following day, Cortés led a punitive expedition, burning some ten Tlaxcalan towns (with a total population of over 3,000). Many Indians were killed in this campaign. After a third day of battles, the Spaniards had lost 45 men who died in battle, died of wounds or succumbed to disease.

    Watching the Spaniards prove themselves in battle, the Tlaxcalan King Xicotenga was very impressed and decided to allow Cortés' army to pass through the confederation. As the Spaniards entered the Tlaxcalan capital on September 18, they were welcomed into the town as if they were heroes. For twenty days, Cortés and his army stayed in Tlaxcala. As his men recovered from their wounds, Cortés forged a relationship with Xicotenga and other Tlaxcalan leaders. Xicotenga agreed to provide necessary provisions and manpower to the Spaniards. This change from hostility to alliance was brought on by Cortés' claims that he was opposed only to the Aztec empire and that there would be a place for Tlaxcala in a Spanish-dominated Mexico.

    From here, most know of the conquest of Tenochtitlán by Cortés, though few know of the role of the Tlaxcalans in this. To this day, most of Mexico views Tlaxcalans as traitors. The story told in Tlaxcala is different, one of helping the newcomers and overcoming their enemies. Which version is correct is up to you.
     Media Coverage

     Future Plans
    Likely to stay a rural slum
     Stories


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     Photo Galleries
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    Rural Mexico
    Tue, Nov 16th, 2004
    posted by lopix
    10 pictures
     


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     Validation
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Emperor Wang on 7/20/2010 10:41 PM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Jul 20 10 at 22:41, Emperor Wang validated this location
  • on Jul 20 10 at 22:41, Emperor Wang updated the main picture
  • on Jul 24 08 at 4:57, Steed validated this location
  • on Jul 18 05 at 2:01, lopix made this location available
  • on Jul 18 05 at 2:00, lopix updated a gallery picture
  • on Jul 18 05 at 2:00, lopix updated a gallery picture
  • on Jul 18 05 at 2:00, lopix updated a gallery picture
  • on Jul 18 05 at 2:00, lopix updated a gallery picture
  • on Jul 18 05 at 1:59, lopix updated a gallery picture
  • on Jul 18 05 at 1:58, lopix updated a gallery picture
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