Princess Erendira

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In the earty 1940's the former San Agustín temple was turned into the public library Gertrudis Bocanegra. Juan O'Gorman painted a graphic history of Michoacán right where the altar used to be. Princess Eréndira is riding the white horse on the left side of the painting.

Princess Eréndira of the Purépecha was the princess of the Purépecha from about 1503-1519. She was 16-17 when the Spanish came to Mexico. The Tarascan state's cazonci(monarch), Tangaxuan II, had given up his kingdom and people to the Spanish after he saw the downfall of the Aztec Empire to the Spanish.

The story of princess Eréndira's subsequent role as a heroine is based on tradition and may or may not reflect actual events, since there are no contemporary records of her existence. According to the folk legend she led a war on the Spanish. Setting up base on a hill she attacked the arriving Spaniards. She is said to have killed a Spanish horseman and stolen his horse later training others to use horses. During one of the battles some Spanish warriors found and murdered Eréndira's father in his sleep. Eréndira got wind of this and went to see him. According to the tradition this was when the Purépecha began to lose the war. There are many theories of what happened to her. Some of which include her suicide by drowning, her leaving to train others for war and that she killed herself for falling in love with a Spanish monk. One legend even claims that she was kidnapped by her own people and put into a temple so that the Spaniards should not find and kill her.

Reference in Media[edit]

The movie Erendira ikikunari (Erendira the untameable) (2006) is based on the story about her.


  • Salas, Elizabeth (1990). Soldaderas in the Mexican Military: Myth and History University of Texas Press (ISBN 0-292-77638-1)

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