The Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan, the Life of Mexico City by Barbara E. MundyThe Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan, the Life of Mexico City by Barbara E. Mundy

The Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan, the Life of Mexico City

byBarbara E. Mundy

Hardcover | July 15, 2015

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 475 plum® points

Out of stock online

Not available in stores


Winner, Book Prize in Latin American Studies, Colonial Section of Latin American Studies Association (LASA), 2016
ALAA Book Award, Association for Latin American Art/Arvey Foundation, 2016

The capital of the Aztec empire, Tenochtitlan, was, in its era, one of the largest cities in the world. Built on an island in the middle of a shallow lake, its population numbered perhaps 150,000, with another 350,000 people in the urban network clustered around the lake shores. In 1521, at the height of Tenochtitlan's power, which extended over much of Central Mexico, Hernando Cortés and his followers conquered the city. Cortés boasted to King Charles V of Spain that Tenochtitlan was "destroyed and razed to the ground." But was it?

Drawing on period representations of the city in sculptures, texts, and maps, The Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan, the Life of Mexico City builds a convincing case that this global capital remained, through the sixteenth century, very much an Amerindian city. Barbara E. Mundy foregrounds the role the city's indigenous peoples, the Nahua, played in shaping Mexico City through the construction of permanent architecture and engagement in ceremonial actions. She demonstrates that the Aztec ruling elites, who retained power even after the conquest, were instrumental in building and then rebuilding the city. Mundy shows how the Nahua entered into mutually advantageous alliances with the Franciscans to maintain the city's sacred nodes. She also focuses on the practical and symbolic role of the city's extraordinary waterworks—the product of a massive ecological manipulation begun in the fifteenth century—to reveal how the Nahua struggled to maintain control of water resources in early Mexico City.

Barbara E. Mundy is Professor of Art History at Fordham University. She coedited Painting a Map of Sixteenth-Century Mexico City: Land, Writing and Native Rule with Mary Miller, and, with Dana Leibsohn, is the author of a pioneering digital work, Vistas: Visual Culture in Spanish America, 1520–1820. Her first book, The Mapping of New ...
Title:The Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan, the Life of Mexico CityFormat:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 11.25 × 8.8 × 1.05 inPublished:July 15, 2015Publisher:University of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292766564

ISBN - 13:9780292766563


Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


A Note on Spelling and Translations

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Water and the Sacred City

Chapter 3: The Tlatoani in Tenochtitlan

Chapter 4: The City in the Conquest's Wake

Chapter 5: Huanitzin Recenters the City

Chapter 6: Forgetting Tenochtitlan

Chapter 7: Place-Names in Mexico-Tenochtitlan

Chapter 8: Axes in the City

Chapter 9: Water and Altepetl in the Late Sixteenth-Century City

Chapter 10: Remembering Tenochtitlan




Editorial Reviews

"With a cartographer's sensibilities and a streetwise art historian’s presence of mind, Mundy (Fordham Univ.) has produced a formidable reimagining of the Indigenous landscapes that underpin the growth of the largest metropolis in the American hemisphere." - Choice - 20160101"Codex studies and translations of indigenous-language manuscripts have been burgeoning in the past few decades, and yet the fields of history and art history have been crying out for someone to bring them together for a new, overarching view of the crucial center of one of the two most important Spanish colonies in the Americas, especially in the crucible that was the sixteenth century. . . . This book makes a wonderful contribution to our understanding of the colonial evolution of the capital city of what we now call Mexico, giving special attention to the fact that the indigenous population, its leadership, and its culture had greater longevity and made more significant contributions to the city than have previously been recognized. Barbara Mundy synthesizes a tremendous amount of new research, integrating it with what has enduring value in earlier studies, and adds to that sum original research of her own. She provides careful substantiation for her arguments, convincing us of her conclusions." - Stephanie Wood, Director, Wired Humanities Projects, CORE, College of Education, and Adjunct Professor of Latin American Studies and History, University of Oregon; author of Transcending Conquest: Nahua Views of Spanish Colonial Mexico; and coeditor of Mesoamerican Memory: Comparative Studies in Sys