Colhuacan (altepetl)

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Not to be confused with Acolhuacan.

Culhuacan or Cohuatlichan (Classical Nahuatl: Cōlhuàcān [koːlˈwaʔkaːn]) was one of the Nahuatl-speaking pre-Columbian city-states of the Valley of Mexico. According to tradition, Culhuacan was founded by the Toltecs under Mixcoatl and was the first Toltec city.[1] The Nahuatl speakers agreed that Culhuacán was the first city to give its rulers the title of "speaker" (tlatoani).


Culhuacan was perhaps the first of the chinampa towns founded on the shores of Lake Xochimilco, with chinampas dating to 1100 C.E.[2][3]

From written records there is evidence that Culhuacan survived the fall of Tollan and maintained its prestige until the mid-14th century. According to the Cronica Mexicayotl, transcribed in 1609, in 1299, Culhuacan's tlatoani, Coxcoxtli, helped the Tepanecs of Azcapotzalco, the Xochimilca and other cities expel the Mexica from Chapultepec. Coxcoxtli then gave the Mexica permission to settle in the barren land of Tizapan, southwest of Chapultepec, and they became vassals of Culhuacan. The Mexica subsequently assimilated into Culhuacan's culture and their soldiers provided mercenaries for its wars.

The Tenochtitlan tlatoani Acamapichtli was a grandson of Coxcoxtli. Nevertheless, in 1377 Azcapotzalco subdued Culhuacán in large part with Aztec troops. In 1428, the Mexican Speaker Itzcóatl helped to overthrow Azcapotzalco's hegemony, and accepted the title "Ruler of the Culhua".

See also[edit]

Pueblo Culhuacán


  1. ^ Pohl 1991
  2. ^ Richard Blanton, "Prehispanic Settlement Patterns of the Ixtapalapa Peninsula Region, Mexico." PhD dissertation, University of Michigan, 1970.
  3. ^ Richard Blanton, "Prehispanic Adaptation in the Ixtapalapa Region, Mexico" Science 1972; 175(4028):1317-26

Further reading[edit]

  • Brenner, Anita. The Influence of Technique on the Decorative Style in the Domestic Pottery of Culhuacan, Mexico. Publicación de la Escuela Internacional de Arqueología y Etnología Americana 1931.
  • Cline, S.L. "Land Tenure and Land Inheritance in late Sixteenth-Century Culhuacan," in Explorations in Ethnohistory, H.R. Harvey and Hanns J. Prem, eds. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 1984.
  • Cline, S.L. "A Legal Process at the Local Level: Estate Division in Sixteenth-Century Mexico," in Five Centuries of Law and Politics in Central Mexico, Ronald Spores and Ross Hassig, editors. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Publications in Anthropology 1984, 30:39-53.
  • Cline, S.L. Colonial Culhuacan, 1580-1600: A Social History of an Aztec Town. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 1986.
  • Cline, S.L. and Miguel Léon-Portilla. The Testaments of Culhuacan. UCLA Latin American Center Publications. Nahuatl Studies Series, no. 1. 1984.
  • Gallegos, Gonzalo. "Relación Geográfica de Culhuacan," Revista Mexicana de Estudios Históricos 1(6)1927: 171-73.
  • Gorbea Trueba, José. "Primer libro de bautismos del ex-convento de Culhuacán, D.F." Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Boletín 6:3. n.d.
  • Léon-Portilla, Miguel. "El libro de testamentos indígenas de Culhuacán," Estudios de Cultura Náhuatl, 1976, 12:11-31.
  • Prem, Hanns J. "Los reyes de Tollan y Colhuacan" Estudios de cultura náhuatl volume 30, (1999) pp.23–70
  • Séjourné, Laurette. Culhuacan. Mexico: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 1970.


Cronica Mexicayotl (1609).
Pohl, John M. D. 1991. Aztec, Mixtec and Zapotec Armies. Osprey.
Prem, Hanns J. (1999). "Los reyes de Tollan y Colhuacan" (PDF online reproduction). Estudios de cultura náhuatl (in Spanish). México, D.F.: Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas, UNAM. 30: 23–70. ISSN 0071-1675. OCLC 1568281. 
Smith, Michael E. (1984). "The Aztlan Migrations of Nahuatl Chronicles: Myth or History?" (PDF online facsimile). Ethnohistory. Columbus, OH: American Society for Ethnohistory. 31 (3): 153–186. doi:10.2307/482619. JSTOR 482619. OCLC 145142543. 
Wimmer, Alexis (2006). "Dictionnaire de la langue nahuatl classique" (online version, incorporating reproductions from Dictionnaire de la langue nahuatl ou mexicaine [1885], by Rémi Siméon) (in French).  (Nahuatl)

External links[edit]