Mapping the New World for Spanish Kings, Oct. 18

- October 7, 2011

"...the land of Cort├ęs, Moctezuma, amazing temples and important battles..."

Between 1578 and 1584, Spain commissioned its officials in Mexico to create sets of local maps that would include descriptions of local resources, history and geography.

On Tuesday, Oct. 18, author and historian Barbara Mundy will speak on the results of that effort in her presentation: “Mapping the New World for the Spanish Kings: The 16th-Century Project of the Relaciones Geográficas."

Mundy wrote The Mapping of New Spain: Indigenous Cartography and the Maps of the Relaciones Geograficas, which was awarded the Nebenzahl Prize in the History of Cartography in 1996. The book offered an artistic interpretation of the maps, but placed them in a larger historical context – one that illuminated both the Amerindian (Aztec, Mixtec, and Zapotec) and Spanish traditions while tracing how colonization reshaped their respective world views. A professor in the Department of Art History and Music at Fordham University, Mundy specializes in Latin American art of the colonial period.

In its Imagining Mexico: From the Aztec Empire to Colonial New Spain exhibition last year, the History Museum’s Fray Angélico Chávez History Library featured books, prints and maps from its John Bourne Collection of Meso-Americana, the Rare Books Collection and the Map Collection. Often created for people who would never cross the Atlantic but lived their adventures vicariously, those maps and illustrations formed perceptions – fictitious at times – of the land of Cortés, Moctezuma, amazing temples and important battles.

Professor Mundy’s talk is at 6:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the New Mexico History Museum and is free to the public.

An electronic version of the Imagining Mexico: From the Aztec Empire to Colonial New Spain exhibition can be found at this link.

The above image: Cortés received by Moctezuma II. Engraving, 1724 (Jacobus Schijnvoet 1685 – 1733).