Relaciones Geográficas

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Relaciones Geográficas

Relaciones Geográficas, a large body of manuscripts and maps or paintings from the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries that were commissioned by the Spanish crown to gain information on the Spanish American colonies. The most unusual and greatest volume of data is found in the 1577 series (actually made in 1578–1589), which, in response to a fifty-chapter questionnaire, details the nature of Spanish and indigenous towns, their origins, pre-Conquest histories, experiences during the Conquest, cultures, and subsequent political and social administration, economic, and military concerns. The greatest number of responses came from New Spain and the Andean region, the wealthiest and most populous colonies.

See alsoColonialism; Spanish Empire.


The general nature of the "RGs," as some scholars refer to them, their bibliographical history, and an important study of indigenous languages described in them comprises much of Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 12, pt. 1, edited by Howard F. Cline (1972), pp. 183-449. See also René Acuña, ed., Relaciones geográficas del siglo XVI: México (1985–1986).

Additional Bibliography

Mignolo, Walter D. "El mandato y la ofrenda: La Descripción de la ciudad y provincia de Tlaxcala de Diego Muñoz Camargo, y las relaciones de Indias." Nueva Revista de Filologia Hispanica 35, no. 2 (1987): 451-484.

Mignolo, Walter D. "La grafía, la voz y el silencio: Las relaciones geográficas de Indias en el contexto de las letras virreinales." Revista de Letras y Ciencias Humanas (Insula) 45, no. 522 (June 1990): 11-12.

Mundy, Barbara E. The Mapping of New Spain: Indigenous Cartography and the Maps of the Relaciones Geográficas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

                                     Stephanie Wood