Spanish and Portuguese ETDs


Alena Johnson

Publication Date



The pre-Hispanic capital of the Acolhua kingdom was the sovereign city-state of Texcoco in the northeastern region of central Mexico. Texcoco along with Tlacopan and México-Tenochtitlan later comprised the Aztec Triple Alliance or Aztec Empire (formed c. 1429-1431). As explained in the introductory Chapter 1, throughout sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century New Spain, Spanish authorities and the Nahua aristocracy recorded many versions of native imperial history using a range of official discourse and other media. This dissertation explores only a selection of the diversity of genres and texts elaborated under the new colonial order that pertain to the dynastic history of Texcoco and its illustrious line of rulers. It begins with colonial Mexican Inquisition proceedings and then moves on to the genre of colonial, native-style painted maps or cartographic histories. The discussion explores how the texts rewrite and renegotiate native imperial history within the discourse of their respective genres and to what end, when Latin letters began to replace pre-Hispanic, oral-pictorial systems of writing in New Spain. Chapter 2 employs an historical-literary analysis to examine the inquisitorial discourse of the Proceso criminal (1539) or criminal proceedings against don Carlos Ometochtzin (r. 1531-39), a royal descendant of the Texcocan dynasts. Chapter 3, in turn, applies an historical-literary analysis to explore the native testimonies in the Proceso criminal, and the ancestral discourse or speech attributed to don Carlos as captured or transcribed in the proceedings. Chapter 4 offers an art-historical analysis, and reads the pictorial, dynastic history of Texcoco as a colonial, elite Nahua discourse of images in three native-style painted maps known as the Codex Xolotl (c. 1540), Mapa Tlotzin (c. 1542-46), and Mapa Quinatzin (c. 1542-46). While there are no known, extant pre-Columbian codices from the Acolhua region that record Texcocan history, these cartographic narratives derive from ancient Mesoamerican models of writing, yet were commissioned for both the Nahua communities as well as for Spanish authorities.

Degree Name

Spanish & Portuguese (PhD)

Level of Degree


Department Name

Spanish and Portuguese

First Committee Member (Chair)

Lopez, Kimberle

Second Committee Member

Hernandez-Duran, Ray

Third Committee Member

Lamadrid, Enrique




Inquisition Proceedings, Proceso criminal of don Carlos Ometochtzin, huehuetlatolli discourse, cartographic histories, Codex Xolotl, Mapa Tlotzin, Mapa Quinatzin

Document Type