views updated


Tlatelolco, the greatest late pre-Hispanic commercial center of the Basin of Mexico and site of its largest marketplace. The sister city and rival of Mexico Tenochtitlán, Tlatelolco was inhabited by a fiercely independent branch of the Mexica who derived their dynasty from Azcapotzalco. Like the Tenochca, another Mexica branch, they claimed Huitzilopochtli as their patron and their ceremonial precincts were also similarly constructed. Tlatelolco's autonomy ended in 1473 with its defeat by the Tenochca, who thereafter appointed its governors. In 1521 the final, devastating siege of the Spanish conquest took place within its ceremonial precinct. After the Conquest, Tlatelolco became the Indian sector of the colonial city of Mexico, and Franciscan missionaries established the College of Santa Cruz there to educate the sons of Aztec nobility. Tlatelolco's ancient ceremonial precinct is now the location of the Plaza of the Three Cultures, which is marked by the excavated ruins of its Templo Mayor, the adjoining colonial church, and surrounding modern structures. It is also the place and name for the government massacre of students in 1968.

See alsoMesoamerica .


Jesús Monjarás-Ruiz, Elena Limón, and María De La Cruz Paillés H., eds., Obras de Robert H. Barlow, vol. 2, Tlatelolco: Fuentes e historia (1989).

Patricia Galeana De Valadés and Francisco Blanco Figueroa, eds., Tlatelolco (1990).

Additional Bibliography

Carrasco, David, ed. Aztec Ceremonial Landscapes. Niwot: University Press of Colorado, 1999.

Poniatowska, Elena. La noche de Tlatelolco: Testimonios de historia oral. 2nd ed. México, D.F: Ediciones Era, 1998.

                                  Eloise QuiÑones Keber