So this next site is pretty cool. It is from a far but not so far away is the ancient city of Tenochtitlan. This is now the very big city of Mexico city. Tenochtitlan was a city that was found by the Mexica or more commonly known as the Aztecs. It wasn’t a very big city to begin with but through time it became like what the Romans were to the Mediterranean but to what is now Mexico, through the Triple Alliance.
So this is the map of the areas they conquered before the Spanish came and conquered them. I’d like to focus on that a little more on that. It was still seen as the capital city when Hernan Cortez came by. At the time the only way to get to and from Tenochtitlan was by causeways leading to and from the mainland surrounding the lake.
When the Spanish got there they laid waste to pretty much the entire city which includes: buildings, monuments, and portable goods. A perfect example of the deconstruction of the city is the Templo Mayor.
The Templo Mayor was really important to the Mexica because of it representing the War God and the Rain God. The Spanish destroyed it because it was something pagan and they wanted to spread Christianity. Not only were the buildings and such ruined but with the Conquistadors, disease plagued the native people too. The Spanish also had trouble with continuity and appropriation. Appropriation is where a space is taken over and used for different things for the gain of another group, i.e. the Building of a Cathedral where Mexica rituals had been done. Continuity is where existence and persistence of any space, in the absence of major changes in use, i.e. the streets were used by both the Spanish and the Indigenous people.
Hernan Cortez was a bad dude. Some wanted this to be the capital of new Spain but not everyone saw it that way, because a lot of it was destroyed by Cortes and other Spanish leaders. Still thought it was a great city and wanted to keep the tax system in place but also make it more intense. Essentially they reaped and raped what the natives had sowed. Cortez took too much from Montezuma the second.
Another colonizer with 2 indigenous people tried to help with the designing of the new city layout. New buildings were built over the top of other religious centers to get rid of the non Christian faith. They also tried to make an all Spanish area but that didn’t fully work out because of the mixing of ethnic groups. The one place that didn’t change to much with colonization is the plaza.
The plaza was still kept with minor changes; It was still able to sell agricultural products, food, mats, wood, and water and offering their services as porters and barbers in the southern portion of the square, but new things were sold too, like clothing, jewelry, pottery, and a host of luxury items from Asia. The flea market area is where: used clothing, tools, stone, and pottery, as well as stolen goods and contraband, were sold. Other festivities were done there too.
The Rebuilding was done after it was colonized with the help if the Indigenous people. A lot of the reconstruction was done using the materials of the buildings and places that were destroyed, which is kinda sad. Pre-Hispanic material was used to show Spanish power. Decorated pillars and flooring were used as both decoration and actual purpose. There were also changes in the use of space. Domestic religious space changed because colonial houses and such were built on top of it. A violent end helped with the ending of public rituals, used tribute and labor to create their own structures of power and religion. Although the Native rulers were able to move their own stuff to their own center that was brand new.
The daily was another huge change that was brought about by the Spanish. Diet is a big thing to look at, the Spanish brought a lot of their own live meats and their own botanical items with them, i.e. cattle, pig, goats, sheep, cats(not used for food), the natural meats were rabbit, turkey, and waterfowl, imported botanical items were olives, grapes, cantaloupe, and peaches, while endemic plants include corn, chili, amaranth, tomatoes, black cherry, Mexican hawthorn, prickly pear fruit, and pine nuts.
Pottery was brought from both Europe and China but the Spanish also used local pottery, and people aren’t sure why that was so. Indigenous people used obsidian and stone tools even though the Spanish brought better tools to use made of metal, the Spanish used obsidian for cutting though.
But even before all of the conquest this is an interesting place to look at too. Here is a couple videos to have more information:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a8SkSYtHXo and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmHVqb6t__8&t=54s