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Camilla Townsend & the Cortes-Quetzalcoatl returning god claim[edit]

The article presents the idea that the Aztec may have considered Cortes to be a god to be nothing more than a "persistent myth" that Camilla Townsend's article has (triumphally) "put to rest". I just finished reading her article. She acknowledges that a great many historians have claimed this (and gives citations). She acknowledges evidence for this claim comes from the very earliest indigenous accounts, as well as earliest European accounts (barring Cortes's letters during the conquest). So in other words, Townsend is offering a "new perspective" against the entrenched claims of the literature. The article should be updated to reflect that the god claim is (1) deeply entrenched in the historical literature, (2) present in very early sources such as Codex Florentino, and (3) is disputed by some scholars, such as Townsend. Nettyl (talk) 09:41, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

Additinally, scholarly responses to Townsend are many. For example Lucie Johnson's study here: Nettyl (talk) 09:45, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

Lucie Johnson's study is an unpublished thesis, seemingly at under grad level. Could you point to some recent peer reviewed studies that accept the Cortés=Quetzalcoatl myth as a likely reality or argue against Townsend? Certainly you are right that it is deeply entrenched in the literature and continues to be repeated by scholars (Note however how Restall's influential "7 myths of the Spanish conquest" includes it - showing that Townsend's view is widely accepted among current historians of the conquest). The Florentino is hardly a very early source, and it is certainly not free from influence from Franciscan milennarianist ideology. But of course the myth is present in very early sources, such as Cortés own letters, and repeated in many other sources. It is interesting to compare the Aztec/quetzalcoatl/Cortés case with the Sahlins/Obeyesekere debate about Lono and Cook, but it is not my impression that the Aztec case has generated any similar degree of controversy. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 10:10, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Additionally, I am not even sure why we need to describe this in the article about the city. It would make more sense to have this issue described in Spanish Conquest of the Aztec Empire or some such place.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 10:36, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Townsend's own article contains many citations of important histories containing the claim. I think that's enough demonstration. Her article, no matter how highly one may think of it, is arguing against the grain, and is no refutation as the article previously claimed. We would need a source that claims that the historical field was swept by Townsend's article and it has become the dominant view. Or, several recent surveys that accept her thesis. Regardless, I agree, the whole subject doesn't really belong here. There is already a more nuanced discussion of the topic in the article about Moctezuma. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:38, 24 March 2017 (UTC)

Tenochtitlan moved to Tenochtitlän[edit]

I can't see the reason for this move. I'm tempted to move it back, but I'd be interested in hearing arguments first. What's the diaresis indicating? Hajor 13:23, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I'd like to know as well, but in the mean time I'm moving it back, as this seems very uncommon at the least (2 google hits for "Tenochtitlän", one in German). -- Infrogmation 16:35, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Nahuatl phonology. The final A is long (unlike the first three vowels which are short), so it is indicated with a diaeresis as per Nahuatl orthography. It should be fine—Tenochtitlan redirects here. - Gilgamesh 01:52, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I removed the following phrase from the article:
"Nähuatl Tenochtitlän".
While some transcription systems do use diaereses (or acute accents, or macrons, or doubled letters) to indicate Nahuatl vowel length, it is extraordinarily unusual. It is not used by the Mexican govt. in its bilingual publications, or by the Nahuatl wikipedia, or the Summer Institute. Writing the language name "Nähuatl" in English is unwarranted, too.
Instead of opening up this can of worms, surely the IPA string indicating how the name is pronounced is enough? Could someone upload a sound-file of a native speaker saying the name? That'd help. too. Hajor 14:41, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I can´t see either a reason for using diaereses, at least not in the title of an article, its the first time i see this use. Nanahuatzin 21:34, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • However, "Tenochtitlán" is used very frequently. I might not be surprised if it is used more frequently than Tenochtitlan, but as a native speaker, that's the way I've always heard it. --Titoxd 07:31, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

"Moctezuma II, thinking Cortés to be the returning god Quetzalcoatl, welcomed him with great pomp." - I thought that Moctezuma was sceptical as well and even though he welcomed Cortes he also asked him to leave?

Moctezuma tried to divert Cortez, he was very afraid, and even tried to send someone who pretend to be Moctezuma. Altough a lot of aztecs were skeptical, Moctezuma seem to believed until the end int the return of Quetzalcoatl. Moctezuma complied with every petition of Cortez. He baptisized, accept to be under King Carlos, gave him every present he could think of, and forbit human sacrifice. Nanahuatzin 02:06, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Merge from the Aztec article[edit]

The article on the Aztecs is getting huge, 59k at last count, and we should probably start doing something to break it up into smaller pieces, ala the History of Greece, Inca Empire and a bunch of otherwise large historical pages. Merging the info about the Aztec capital seemed a good place to start. --Fxer 02:35, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. There is actually quite a bit of information in Aztec that should probably be here.--Curtis Clark 04:37, 9 January 2006 (UTC)


"There were also specialized tianquiztli in the other central Mexican." What does this mean to say? - Jmabel | Talk 06:17, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Mea culpa. I accidentally erased the word "towns". Thanks for the catchin the error. Madman 14:31, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Obviously not a reference[edit]

The following was listed in the references:

  • "Tenochtitlan" Great Tragedy for the theater, in Spanish by Santiago Sevilla in Liceus El Portal de las Humanidades[1]

Clearly a fictional play was not a reference used in the writing of the article, given that the play itself is not mentioned. I've brought it over here to talk instead of just cutting it in case there is something worth following up. I didn't even follow the link, myself. - Jmabel | Talk 06:50, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Bernal Díaz del Castillo[edit]

He is referred to in this article as "Bernal". Isn't that like calling Cortés "Hernán"?

MaxwellPerkins 07:31, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

OK, I fixed it by using his full name. --Richard 08:03, 25 March 2007 (UTC)


I feel that there needs to be more detail about the meaning of the "eagle perched on a cactus with the snake in its mouth". If possible, I would like to edit this to talk about the following (really horrible point form :P):

  • A tribe member of the Aztecs had a dream where one of the gods they worshipped told him and his tribe to go on a journey in search of a place to build the world's mightiest empire.
  • They would know where to build the empire by seeing an eagle with a snake on its mouth, perched on a cactus.
  • When they arrived in Texcoco, the peoples of the area were not happy of thier arrival so they chased them around the lake's perimeter.
  • They kept on moving around the lake until one morning, a tribe member woke up to see the sign on a rocky isand in the lake's center.

Is this okay or should we put this in another article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by HopieG (talkcontribs) 21:00, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

This is mentioned here in this article and in more detail in the History of the Aztecs article. If you feel that the discussion in History of the Aztecs is too scanty, then by all means add to it as long as you provide good citations. Discussions of Aztec history separate from Tenochtitlan, however, do not belong in this article.
Hope this helps, Madman (talk) 20:18, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

I never did get a chance to read the History of the Aztecs page until you mentioned it. I suppose it's good enough. Thanks! HopieG (talk) 20:28, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

This section on population should be revised. People cite Wikipedia saying that Tenochtitlan was the largest in the world when Cortes showed up. But you can look at List_of_largest_cities_throughout_history and its references to see that many other cities such as Beijing were much larger in 1500 AD. 2601:7:5400:1BB:84C:BB6D:1932:8A52 (talk) 23:08, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

I agree. Can someone check the source cited, and exactly what it says? It seems highly unlikely that an Mesoamerican city was larger than the largest cities in China/Asia in the 1500s. If no one can back up this claim, I suggest we change it to "largest in America" (if a source for that can be found). (talk) 09:50, 22 June 2014 (UTC)


A good illustration can be found on flickr under CC-By licence here. I'm really not an expert of Tenochtitlan so I just bring the link :). Léna (talk) 15:57, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Panorama image of Tenochtitlan[edit]

I think El Co was right to change the attribution for this panoramic depiction/reconstruction of Tenochtitlan in the article from Gerardo Murillo, aka Dr. Atl, which was done in this recent edit. I can't find any reliable source that credits Dr Atl, only wiki mirrors and other sources likely using wikipedia as the base; we have only the statement in the original upload msg by Shanel Nanahuatzin (talk · contribs) that credits to Dr Atl.

However, I think that now it is attributed to the wrong Covarrubias—I'm reasonably certain that it's not the more well-known Miguel responsible, but his younger brother Luis Covarrubias, and that he (Luis) executed the original in 1964. I realise that in the caption on p.184 of Michael E. Smith's The Aztecs (a reliable and eminently qualified source) the text attributes the painting shown to Miguel; however many more sources, including guides produced by the Museo Nacional de Antropología, Richard Townsend's Aztecs etc credit the work to Luis. I'll marshal up some sources. --cjllw ʘ TALK 07:15, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for reviewing my modification. I changed Dr. Atl by Miguel Covarrubias, because when I searched in Google Books, the only reliable source I found credited Miguel Covarrubias. As I didn't search very long time, I've tried now to find more reliable sources crediting Luis Covarrubias, and I've found, in Arqueología mexicana (one of the most reliables scientifics reviews about Mesoamerica) :
  1. vol. XII, n°68 (july-august 2004) : Teresa Rojas Rabiela, Las cuencas lacustres del Altiplano central, p.4.
  2. vol. XII, n°71 (january-february 2005)  : La ciudad de México vista desde el agua, p.1.
  3. vol.XV, n°86 (july-august 2007), p.72 : Illustration of the poem of José Emilio Pacheco El reposo del fuego.
All these sources indicate the same title for this painting : La isla de México en el siglo XVI.
I think we should trust these concordant sources more than Michael E. Smith.
El Comandante (talk) 09:55, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree fully. It seems to be Luis Covarrubias (also in matters of art history Townsend must be said to be a more reliable source than Smith whose expertise is archaeology)·Maunus·ƛ· 10:16, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I've just uploaded a new photo that I took in MNA last summer, with a more accurate title : File:La isla de México en el siglo XVI (Luis Covarrubias).JPG. El Comandante (talk) 10:24, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks guys, and quick work on populating the corrections. Checking through the deleted edits on the original image, I see it was actually Nanahuatzin, not Shanel, who uploaded the original image; doubtless Javier took the photo himself.

Also gather that this original photo by Nanahuatzin is of a mural copy on display at the Museo del Templo Mayor in the city centre, and not Covarrubias' original oils-on-cloth painting (shown in El C's new photo above), on display at the MNA in Chapultepec. Given that Covarrubias' painting dates to 1964, the same year that MNA's new premises at Chapultec opened, I'd presume that this original one was commissioned for the opening—Luis was one of a number of artists involved with getting it fitted out. The copy made for the Museo del Templo Mayor was evidently executed later since this museum opened only in 1987, coincidentally same year that Luis died.

All this may have some implications about what license could be applicable; hard to see how either the Templo mural or MNA's painting could be Public Domain (original work executed less than 50 years ago, the artist dying only 23 years ago).--cjllw ʘ TALK 03:53, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

You are right. It seems that both photos must be deleted from Commons, because fair use is not allowed on Commons and these documents are not PD according to mexican laws. I've asked more opinions at Commons talk:Licensing. El Comandante (talk) 18:48, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Well... As I've had no answer, I'm going to ask for deletion. I'll upload my photo, under the same name, in Wikipedias that accept fair use (does anyone know if a list of them exists?). El Comandante (talk) 09:55, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Both files have been deleted. I've uploaded my photo here for fair use, but I don't know exactly in which conditions it can be used. El Comandante (talk) 17:18, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

No map[edit]

It says it's on Lake Texcoco, but no map. —Preceding unsigned comment added by KyuubiSeal (talkcontribs) 01:58, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

 Done. El Comandante (talk) 15:34, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Would it be appropriate to add geographical coordinates (as in the article for Mexico City)? Stevvers (talk) 12:52, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Contradiction with Templo Mayor[edit]

This article states that the ruins of Templo Mayor were first reached during the construction of a metro line, but the Templo Mayor article states that an electric company project was responsible. Since I don't have access to the references in either article, I wonder if someone can clarify. Orange Suede Sofa (talk) 05:17, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Mexico Tenochtitlan or Tenochtitlan?[edit]

Did the Aztecs call the city Mexico Tenochtitlan or just Tenochtitlan? This is unclear. (I wonder about what the Aztecs called the city and not the Spanish conquistadors. --Oddeivind (talk) 07:07, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

Edit request from Alexis2003, 29 August 2011[edit]

about the inhabitants it was falsified by no strong backing or citing. Alexis2003 (talk) 09:31, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

Not done: please be more specific about what needs to be changed. Topher385 (talk) 10:23, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

Suspected Plagiarism in "Inhabitants" Section[edit]

The following text seems to be copied verbatim from --or they copied it from here. (If the licensing is OK with this, please ignore this comment.)

Sahagún reports that the city also had beggars (only crippled people were allowed to beg), thieves, and prostitutes. At night, in the dark alleys one could find scantily clad ladies with heavy makeup (they also painted their teeth), chewing tzicli (chicle, the original chewing gum) noisily to attract clients. There seem to have been another kind of women, ahuianis, who had sexual relations with warriors. The Spaniards were surprised because they did not charge for their work, so perhaps they had other means of support.

The last part of the final sentence, "so perhaps they had other means of support," is omitted in the Wikipedia article. Other instances of possible plagiarism may exist, but I've not checked for them. This is my first post on Wikipedia, so please go easy on me! Dmutters (talk) 21:22, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

If you scroll to the bottom of that site you will see that it is based on wikipedia content. They copied from us.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:54, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

//Its not plagiarism its just a joke. Should be removed completely// (Prettyprinting (talk) 00:16, 13 February 2012 (UTC))

Ah. I hadn't realized that the New World Encyclopedia is affiliated with a religion, rather than being a more academically-motivated encyclopedia (not that I think religions are inherently bad, just to be clear). I can see how a joke of this sort would end up there and be erroneously transferred here (or perhaps the other way around). Thanks for pointing it out, Prettyprinting. Dmutters (talk) 07:48, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 13 February 2012[edit]

"Inhabitants" section is a mere offensive joke. Should be deleted completely

Prettyprinting (talk) 00:21, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

  •  Done Generally I don't remove sections under some circumstances, but as far as I know the paragraph may be factually correct. If someone finds a reliable references it can be added back. Tbhotch. Grammatically incorrect? Correct it! See terms and conditions. 01:22, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Contradiction with other page[edit]

In the section on Cortès it is written that the Mexica saw Cortes as Quetzalquetl. Only references seem to be dating to 1972. On another Wikipedia page ( on the fall of Tenochtitlan however it is written: "It once was widely believed that the Aztecs first thought Cortés was Quetzalcoatl, a mythical god prophesied to return to Mexico—coincidentally in the same year Cortés landed and from the same direction he came. This is now believed to be an invention of the conquerors, and perhaps natives who wished to rationalize the actions of the Aztec tlatoani, Moctezuma II. Most scholars agree that the Aztecs, especially the inner circle around Moctezuma, were well convinced that Cortés was not a god in any shape or form.". There's a primary source to this information that is more recent than the one on this page, so anyone with more knowledge on the issue than me might want to correct this page. There might be additional primary sources in the book 1491 by Charles Mann. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:31, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Land of the giants?[edit]

I've been trying to find this ancient Mexican city whose inhabitants all seemed to vanish at one point (after being an extremely prosperous, overpopulated city) and whose architecture was so huge that the people who came to the city after the inhabitants left thought that it had been built by giants. This is the closest I could find to it. Does anybody know for sure if Tenochtitlan is the city I'm looking for? If not, do you have any idea what city I might be thinking of? Thanks in advance for your help.-- (talk) 06:17, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

The Great Pyramid of Cholula was said to be built by water giant called Xelhua. When the primordial flood took place, Xelhua with five other Giants, managed to climb the mountain of Tlaloc and survived. He then created the great pyramid of Cholula to commemorate this event. The City of Teotihuacan was also said to have been built by water giants. (BoxRox) 10:23 5 May 2017 (UTC)

{{citation needed}}.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 16:00, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

First paragraph of "The coming of Cortez/Cortés" is not written objectively[edit]

The reason given for Tenochtitlan's fall being due to Moctezuma may very well be true, but it needs to be rewritten so as not to sound subjective. The last sentence sounds like the conclusion to a persuasive essay. 2014-11-14 15:01

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