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Glyph of Tlacopan
This map Valley of Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest shows Tlacopan in relation to Tenochtitlan and other cities in the Valley of Mexico.
This map Valley of Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest shows Tlacopan in relation to Tenochtitlan and other cities in the Valley of Mexico.
Common languagesClassical Nahuatl
Aztec religion
Historical eraPre-Columbian
• Formation of the Aztec Empire
Succeeded by
New Spain

Tlacopan, also called Tacuba, (Classical Nahuatl: Tlacōpan, [t͡ɬaˈkóːpan̥]) was a Tepanec / Mexica altepetl on the western shore of Lake Texcoco. The site is today the neighborhood of Tacuba, in Mexico City.


The name comes from Classical Nahuatl tlacōtl, "stem" or "rod" and -pan, "place in or on" and roughly translates to "place on the rods"),[1]


Tlacopan was a Tepanec subordinate city-state to nearby altepetl, Azcapotzalco.

In 1428, after its successful conquest of Azcapotzalco, Tlacopan allied with the neighbouring city-states of Tenochtitlan and Texcoco, thus becoming a member of the Aztec Triple Alliance and resulting in the subsequent birth of the Aztec Empire.[2]: xxxviii 

Aculnahuacatl Tzaqualcatl, the son of the Tepanec ruler, Tezozomoc, was installed as tlatoani of Tlacopan until his death in c.1430. Throughout its existence, Tlacopan was to remain a minor polity within the Triple Alliance. It received only a fifth of tribute earned from joint campaigns with its more powerful allies.

In 1521, The Aztec Empire collapsed as a result of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, led by Hernán Cortés and his native Tlaxcallan allies. Over the next few centuries, Tlacopan has been assimilated into the sprawling mega-metropolis of Mexico City. The archæological site of Tlacopan is located in Tacuba, within the present-day municipality of Miguel Hidalgo.

Rulers of Tlacopan[edit]

Tlacopan was mostly leaderless from 1526 to 1550; the de facto ruler was Isabel Moctezuma since the city was part of her encomienda.[7] Business in the city were handled by various appointed governors and nobles unrelated to the previous dynasty.[6]

  • Don Antonio Cortés Totoquihuaztli the Elder (c. 1550–1574), descendant of the pre-colonial tlatoani. Made tlatoani after Isabel Moctezuma's death.[7]


  1. ^ Siméon, R. (1977). Diccionario de la lengua náhuatl o mexicana. México: Siglo Veintiuno.
  2. ^ León-Portilla, M. 1992, 'The Broken Spears: The Aztec Accounts of the Conquest of Mexico. Boston: Beacon Press, ISBN 978-0807055014
  3. ^ a b c Truhart, Peter (2000). Regents of Nations: America & Africa. Saur. p. 478. ISBN 978-3-598-21544-5.
  4. ^ Torres, Mónica Domínquez (2017-07-05). Military Ethos and Visual Culture in Post-Conquest Mexico. Routledge. p. 154. ISBN 978-1-351-55819-8.
  5. ^ Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxichotl, History of the Chichimeca Nation. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Douglas, Eduardo de J. (2012). In the Palace of Nezahualcoyotl: Painting Manuscripts, Writing the Pre-Hispanic Past in Early Colonial Period Tetzcoco, Mexico. University of Texas Press. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-292-74986-3.
  7. ^ a b Villella, Peter B. (2016). Indigenous Elites and Creole Identity in Colonial Mexico, 1500–1800. Cambridge University Press. pp. 78–81. ISBN 978-1-107-12903-0.