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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the formation of the Late Postclassic cultural tradition of Cholula, one of the most venerable and scared cities of Mexico’s central highlands. One of its temples was said to have housed the relics of the mortal Quetzalcoatl. Ruled by Nahuatl-speaking Tolteca-Chichimeca, who usurped political power in the Puebla-Tlaxcala Valley after the downfall of Tula, Cholula was famous long before the rise of the Triple Alliance. Using both historical sources and archaeological evidence, the chapter describes the independent sovereign kingdom that the Spaniards encountered in 1519, its political relations with its immediate neighbors in the Puebla-Tlaxcala region, and its responses to the imperial designs of the Triple Alliance in the Basin of Mexico. The apparent schism among the leaders of the city, one side taking a pro-Aztec stance while the other favored the Tlaxcallan-Hispanic coalition, was a major factor in the geopolitics of the Spanish Conquest.

Keywords: Cholula, Tolteca-Chichimeca sacred city, Quetzalcoatl, independent kingdom

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