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Description

Manuscript Pictographic map of Morelos showing area before the Lago de Tequesquitengo was Created

This is a pictographic map of part of the modern state of Morelos. It shows an area that is now at least partially under the man-made Lago de Tequesquitengo.

The map shows mountains as they appear on the approach, filled with dots. Churches and smaller hills are used as landmarks to orient the user. Roads are described by where they lead and the various haciendas and pueblos of the area are explained. This is a highly localized view of life in a Christian agricultural area of New Spain in the late eighteenth century.

Morelos is now one of the 31 states that make up Mexico, along with the Federal District. It is just south of Mexico D. F. and is the second smallest state in the nation. There is evidence of human habitation in the area dating back to 6000 BCE. Agriculture has been practiced since 1500 BCE. The Aztecs came to dominate the region in the 1420s and 30s. The Spanish came in the 1520s. In 1529, much of what is now the state was given over to Hernán Cortés, the conquistador, as part of his title as Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca. When the Spanish came, agricultural production shifted from corn and cotton to sugar cane.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the owners of the Hacienda San José Vista Hermosa flooded their land to add to their irrigated holdings in order to grow more sugar cane. In the process, they also augmented the small lake that already existed to the north (not shown, but to the right on this map), forming Lago de Tequesquitengo. At least one town was displaced. Another version of the story goes that the owners of San José Vista Hermosa were angry at their workers and flooded the town as punishment. Today, the lake is a popular recreational area and makes up a very different geography from that shown in this map.

This map strongly resembles another ( /gallery/detail/49429ba), although it has more text added in red ink. On both drafts, there is a signature and date in the bottom center. This copy has a date of 1795 and the other 1796, implying that this more-detailed copy came first.

Reference
Coronel Don Antonio de Alcedo, Diccionario geográfico-histórico de las Indias Occidentales ó America ..., Volume 4 (Madrid: Manuel Gonzalez), 334.