The History of the Arrival of the Indians


Known as the Tovar Codex, this manuscript by the Mexican Jesuit Juan de Tovar (circa 1546–circa 1626) is based upon a history of the Aztecs (also known as Mexica) by the Dominican friar Diego Durán (circa 1537–circa 88). It contains detailed information about the rites and ceremonies of the Aztecs, an elaborate comparison of the Aztec year with the Christian calendar, and the correspondence between Tovar and fellow Jesuit Father José de Acosta, for whom Tovar is believed to have written the work. The manuscript is illustrated with 51 full-page paintings in watercolor. Strongly influenced by pre-contact pictographic manuscripts, the paintings are of exceptional artistic quality. The manuscript is divided into three sections. The first section is a history by Tovar of the travels of the Aztecs prior to the arrival of the Spanish. The second section—an illustrated history of the Aztecs—is essentially the same as the Codex Ramírez, a manuscript discovered in Mexico in 1856 by José Fernando Ramírez, and forms the main body of the manuscript. The third section contains the Tovar calendar, which records a continuous Aztec calendar with months, weeks, days, dominical letters, and church festivals of a Christian 365-day year.

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Title in Original Language

Historia de la benida de los yndios

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Physical Description

5 unnumbered pages, 145 pages, 13 unnumbered leaves ; 22 centimeters

Last updated: October 26, 2012