Muñoz Camargo, Diego (1529–1599)

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Muñoz Camargo, Diego (1529–1599)

Diego Muñoz Camargo, an early Mexican chronicler and businessman, was one of the first mestizo intellectuals in New Spain. Although there has been some controversy regarding his identity (both his father and son were also Diego Muñoz Camargo), his life and his writing have generally been documented. His parents were a Spanish conquistador and a Tlaxcalan noblewoman; after becoming an adult, he also took a Tlaxcalan bride. These inherited and conjugal links gave Muñoz Camargo two special connections with Tlaxcala, in business and in culture. Regarding the latter he had access to pre-Conquest historical documents and testimonies and some of the writings of Bernadino de Sahagún. He wrote for some forty years, sometimes expanding on previous manuscripts he had submitted to the king, sometimes drafting responses to a questionnaire. The result is several interrelated works: the Descripción, Suma y Epíloga, Historia Natural, Relació de la Gran Cochinilla and, the most familiar, the Historia de Tlaxcala.

What makes Muñoz Camargo interesting and different from other mestizo chroniclers such as Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxóchitl and Hernando Alvarado Tezozómoc is his writing's pronounced adherence to the Spanish view of things. He is also important as an early chronicler of Tlaxcala, a polity that aided Hernán Cortés in his conquest of Tenochtitlan. His perspective on historical episodes such as the massacre on the religious holiday of Toxcatl offers keen insight into the complex reality of the Conquest, when the Spanish inserted themselves into a web of Nahua internal politics. He is also noteworthy for his tutoring of the indigenous peoples Cabeza de Vaca brought with him to Mexico from the lands that would later become the United States.

See alsoAlva Ixtlilxochitl, Fernando; Alvarado Tezozomoc, Hernando; Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar Núñez; Tlaxcala; Torquemada, Juan de.


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Muñoz Camargo, Diego. Historia de Tlaxcala: Ms. 210 de la Biblioteca Nacional de París, edited by Luis Reyes García y Javier Lira Toledo. Tlaxcala, Mexico: Gobierno del Estado de Tlaxcala/Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala, 1998.

Velazco, Salvador. Visiones de Anáhuac: Reconstrucciones historiografías y etnicidades emergentes en el México colonial: Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxóchitl, Diego Muñoz Camargo y Hernando Alvarado Tezozómoc. Guadalajara, Mexico: Universidad de Guadalajara, 2003.

Ward, Thomas. "Expanding Ethnicity in Sixteenth-Century Anahuac: Ideologies of Ethnicity and Gender in the Nation-Building Process." MLN 116, no. 2 (2001): 419-452.

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                                        Thomas Ward

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Muñoz Camargo, Diego (1529–1599)

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