Pedro De Moctezuma and His Descendents (1521-1718)

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In 1521 a band of several hundred Spaniards overthrew the Aztec empire in Mexico and its ruler, Moctezuma II. This defeat in itself created a major cultural shock for the indigenious population, but the later arrival of Spanish officials and colonists constituted a far greater if less dramatic upheaval. For the victorious Spaniards rejected Aztec governmental institutions, considering them to be distinctly inferior, and quickly substituted their own. Moctezuma II and a substantial number of the Aztec ruling class had died during the violence which accompanied the conquest and those who remained were not permitted to exercise leadership. It was, ... continued below

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Hollingsworth, Ann Prather May 1980.

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In 1521 a band of several hundred Spaniards overthrew the Aztec empire in Mexico and its ruler, Moctezuma II. This defeat in itself created a major cultural shock for the indigenious population, but the later arrival of Spanish officials and colonists constituted a far greater if less dramatic upheaval. For the victorious Spaniards rejected Aztec governmental institutions, considering them to be distinctly inferior, and quickly substituted their own. Moctezuma II and a substantial number of the Aztec ruling class had died during the violence which accompanied the conquest and those who remained were not permitted to exercise leadership. It was, however, the stated policy of the Spanish Crown that the Indian population of New Spain should be treated with kindness, allowed to retain their property, and led gently toward acceptance of the Christian faith.
Among the surviving members of the Aztec nobility were several of the emperor's children, to whom Spanish authorities accorded special attention because of their unique position. Moctezuma II's son, Tlacahuepan, who on his conversion was baptized Pedro de Moctezuma, was one who received special grants and favors, for it was the Crown's intention that members of the emperor's family should be treated with consideration and be provided with the means to live in a fashion suitable to their aristocratic lineage. But during the years following the conquest, forces within the Spanish government and the Spanish and Indian communities came together to frustrate this purpose.
Don Pedro and his descendents were very much aware of and prepared to exploit the unusual position their heritage gave them. They believed that the Crown had made promises to them of perpetual income and honors which were unfulfilled and they were prepared to continue their attempts to gain these prizes. The Crown rewarded their persistence with repeated orders to colonial authorities to pay the income owed, but frequently these commands were not answered. As Spanish income from New Spain declined and the quality of government in Spain and the colonies deteriorated, the possibilities that the Moctezuma family might prosper as earlier Spanish governments had decreed they should disappeared. And, at last, it became apparent that the essential inertia which permeated all levels of colonial administration combined with the chasm which existed between the edicts issued from Spain and their effective application in the New World were factors against which no one family could contend successfully.

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  • May 1980

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  • Aug. 22, 2014, 6 p.m.

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  • Oct. 13, 2015, 1:28 p.m.

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Hollingsworth, Ann Prather. Pedro De Moctezuma and His Descendents (1521-1718), dissertation, May 1980; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc331977/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .