Published Date

May 1, 2004

Resource Type

Primary Source

This resource was developed in 2004 as part of “The Conquest of Mexico” by Nancy Fitch.

From Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, The Florentine Codex, Book 12, Chapter 18 (Mexica)

Next they went to Moctezuma’s storehouse, in a place called Totocalco, where Moctezuma kept his personal goods. Happy and eager, they patted each other on the back, so cheerful their heart was.

And when they arrived, when they entered the house of treasures, it was like they had arrived in Paradise. They searched everywhere and coveted everything, for, yes, they were dominated by their greed.

Then they took out all of the goods which were his [Moctezuma’s] own exclusive possessions: his personal belongings, all of which were precious: necklaces with thick stones, arm bands of quetzal feathers, bracelets of gold, golden bands with shells for the knees, ankle bracelets with little gold bells, and the royal crowns and all the royal attire, without number, everything that belonged to him and was reserved to him only.

They took everything, they appropriated everything, all they snatched as if it were their own. They appropriated everything as if it was their luck [to find it]. And after they removed the gold, when they had torn it all off, they piled it up all the precious feathers, everything else in the middle of the courtyard, in the center of it.

And when all of the gold had been gathered, then Malinche summoned all the noblemen. She climbed upon the roof, on a parapet. She said: “Mexicanos, come here! The Spaniards are greatly afflicted. Bring them food, fresh water, and all that is needed. For they are already tired and exhausted. Why don’t you want to come? It seems like you are angry.”

The Mexicas were too frightened to approach. They were crushed by terror and would not risk coming forward. They shied away as if the Spaniards were wild beasts, as if the hour were midnight on the blackest night of the year. Yet they did not abandon the Spaniards to hunger and thirst. They brought them whatever they needed, but shook with fear as they did so. They delivered the supplies to the Spaniards with trembling hands, then turned and hurried away.