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When Chocolate was Medicine: Colmenero, Wadsworth and Dufour

- January 28, 2015 in cacao, chocolate, cocoa, colmenero, colonialism, Culture & History, dufour, history of chocolate, mesoamerica, mexico, Science & Medicine, wadsworth

Chocolate has not always been the common confectionary we experience today. When it arrived from the Americas into Europe in the 17th century it was a rare and mysterious substance, thought more of as a drug than as a food. Christine Jones traces the history and literature of its reception.

Codex Mendoza (1542)

- May 14, 2012 in aztec, codex mendoza, Images, Images-16th, Images-Illumination, mesoamerica, non-article

The Codex Mendoza is an Aztec codex, created about twenty years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico with the intent that it be seen by Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain. It contains a history of the Aztec rulers and their conquests, a list of the tribute paid by the conquered, and a description of daily Aztec life, in traditional Aztec pictograms with Spanish explanations and commentary. It is named after Antonio de Mendoza, then the viceroy of New Spain, who may have commissioned it. After creation in Mexico City, it was sent by ship to Spain. The fleet, however, was attacked by French privateers, and the codex, along with the rest of the booty, was taken to France. There it came into the possession of André Thévet, cosmographer to King Henry II of France. Thévet wrote his name in five places on the codex, twice with the date 1553. It was later bought by the Englishman Richard Hakluyt for 20 French francs. Some time after 1616 it was passed to Samuel Purchase, then to his son, and then to John Selden. The codex was deposited into the Bodleian Library at Oxford University in 1659, 5 years after Selden’s death, where it remained in obscurity until 1831, when it was rediscovered by Viscount Kingsborough and brought to the attention of scholars. (Wikipedia)

(All images Wikimedia Commons).

Depicts the founding of Tenochtitlan, and the conquest of Colhuacan and Tenayucan.


Depicts the rule and conquests of Chimalpopoca.


Depicts the rule and conquests of Axayacatl


Depicts the rule and conquests of Ahuitzotl



Lists the tribute towns were required to pay to the Aztec empire


Lists the tribute towns were required to pay to the Aztec empire


Lists the tribute towns were required to pay to the Aztec empire


Lists the tribute towns were required to pay to the Aztec empire


Lists the tribute towns were required to pay to the Aztec empire










Depicts the palace of Motecuhzoma













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Huexotzinco Codex

- August 9, 2011 in Huexotzinco Codex, Images, mesoamerica, non-article

The Huexotzinco Codex is an eight-sheet document on amatl, a pre- European paper made in Mesoamerica. It is part of the testimony in a legal case against representatives of the colonial government in Mexico, ten years after the Spanish conquest in 1521. Huexotzinco (Way-hoat-ZINC-o) is a town southeast of Mexico City, in the state of Puebla. In 1521, the Nahua Indian people of the town were the allies of the Spanish conqueror Hernando Cortés, and together they confronted their enemies to overcome Moctezuma, leader of the Aztec Empire. After the conquest, the Huexotzinco peoples became part of Cortés’estates. During 1529-1530 when Cortés was out of the country, Spanish colonial administrators intervened in the daily activities of the community and forced the Nahuas to pay excessive taxes in the form of goods and services. When Cortés returned, the Nahuas joined him in a legal case against the abuses of the Spanish administrators. The plaintiffs were successful in their suit in Mexico, and later when it was retried in Spain. The record shows [in a document uncovered in the collections of the Library of Congress] that in 1538, King Charles of Spain agreed with the judgement against the Spanish administrators and ruled that two-thirds of all tributes taken from the people of Huexotzinco be returned.
(excerpt and pictures from the Library of Congress)





















Operation Doorstep

The Spirit Photographs of William Hope

The Maps of Piri Reis

Dr Julius Neubronner's Miniature Pigeon Camera

Art in Art

Huexotzinco Codex


Sessions for the Blind at Sunderland Museum

Eugène von Guérard's Australian Landscapes