Cempoala, Mexico


This map from Zempoala in the present-day state of Hidalgo, Mexico, is from the Relaciones Geográficas collection in the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. Dating from between 1578 and 1586, the Relaciones Geográficas are responses to a questionnaire initiated by the Spanish crown in 1577, requesting information about Spanish-held territories in the Americas. The questionnaires covered such topics as demographics, political administration, languages spoken, physical terrain, and vegetation. The crown received 191 responses to these questionnaires. Of the 167 responses known to exist, 43 are in the Benson Latin American Collection. The others are held at the Archivo General de Indias, Seville, and the Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid. The relaciones contain important historical, cultural, and geographical information about New Spain during the 16th century. Many of the questionnaires are accompanied by maps and pictures. These both convey information about such topics as the colonial economy and the spread of European religion in New Spain and are artifacts for the study of the history of Latin American art and manuscript painting. This map, dated November 1, 1580, has glosses in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs.

Last updated: October 28, 2011