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Collection Description

This is a collection of property-related legal papers and maps from a Spanish family in Nueva España (New Spain or Mexico), starting in the century of the Spanish conquest. The maps contain both period Spanish and Nahuatl pictographs. Notarized legal papers, signed either in Mexico City or in Texcoco, constitute the bulk of this collection. They begin with an original gift of land given to an ancestral "caballero" (knight or horse-soldier) as part of his payment for service to the King of Spain. Further papers document other gifts (Mercedes) and purchases that at one time in the sixteenth century amounted to more than a thousand acres of land in the Valley of Mexico. The maps vary from primitive representations of fields with width and length and indications of geographic placement to detailed maps with both Spanish and Nahuatl writing, one augmented by watercolor renderings. A picture emerges of dealings between the Mexican nobility and the native Aztecs (Mexica or Nahuas), and between the Spanish crown and its distant subjects. Full .tif images of individual pages in each volume are available upon request.

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