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 Hernán Cortés, Cartas y relaciones de Hernan Cortés al emperador Carlos V, second letter, 64–66.

After I had been twenty days or more in this city, certain nobles, messengers of Mocteczuma, who had been with me for some time, desired that I should visit a city six leagues distant from Tlaxcala, called Churultecal, [Cholula] because its inhabitants were friends of Moctezuma their sovereign, and that we should there learn his pleasure, whether I should be permitted to enter his dominions, and that some of their number in the mean time would go and confer with him for the purpose of informing him what I had said and return with his answer.

Although they knew that messengers from Mocteczuma had come to communicate with me, I promised them I would go and would set out on a particular day, which I designated. As soon as it was known to the Tlaxcalans that I had consented to accompany them that city, the nobles came to me with much sorrow, and said that I must by no means go there, for they had formed treacherous designs to destroy me and my people in that city, and for this purpose Mocteczuma had dispatched from his country (a part of which was adjacent to that city) fifty thousand men whom he kept in garrison two leagues from the city, as they showed, and that they had blocked up the royal road by which they were accustomed to go and made a new one full of pits, and sharp stakes driven into the [ground] and covered up, for the purpose of disabling the horses; that they had placed obstructions in many of the streets, and heaps of stones on the flat roofs of their houses, that after we had entered their city in seeming security they might take us by surprise and do with us as they pleased; that if I wished to have proofs of the correctness of their statements, I might notice that none of the nobles of that city had come to see me or to speak with me, although I was so near, but that a deputation had come for that purpose from Guasincaugo, which was farther off, and that I might send for the former and learn why they had not seen fit to come. I thanked them for their caution, and requested that they would furnish me with persons to send on this errand, to see why the people of that city had not come.

They did so, and I sent to ask the nobles of Cholula to make me a visit, as I wished to confer with them on behalf of your Majesty, and to set forth the causes of my arrival in this quarter. The messengers departed and gave my message to the nobles of that city, and there came back with them two or three persons of no great importance, who said they had come on behalf of those lords, as they were ill, and that I might say what I desired to them. The Tlaxcalans assured me it was all a farce, and that the messengers were people of little standing, adding that I must not think of going there unless the nobles of the city came to see me. I addressed myself to these messengers, and said that having been sent as the ambassador of so powerful a prince as your sacred Majesty, I could not recognize such persons as them, and that even their greatest men were scarcely worthy of receiving my attention; therefore the latter must, within three days appear before me to profess allegiance to your Highness and submit themselves as your vassals, with the warning that if they, did not come before I had passed their borders, I should march against them and destroy them as rebels who refused to submit to the government of your Majesty.