Tlaxcala (Nahuatl Tlaxcallān "place of maize tortillas") was a pre-Columbian city state of central Mexico.
Tlaxcala was a confederation of four altepetl — Ocotelolco, Quiahuiztlan, Tepeticpac and Tizatlan — which each took turns providing a ruler for Tlaxcala as a whole.
Tlaxcala was never conquered by the Aztec
empire, but was engaged in a state of perpetual war, or so-called flower wars
. During the Spanish conquest of Mexico
, Tlaxcala allied with the Spaniards against the Aztecs, supplying a large contingent for – and at times the majority of – the Spanish-led army that eventually destroyed the Aztec empire.
As a result of their alliance with the Spaniards, Tlaxcala had a somewhat privileged status within Spanish colonial Mexico.
Conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo describes the first battle between the Spanish force and the Tlaxcalteca as surprisingly difficult. He writes that they probably would not have survived, had not Xicotencatl the Elder, ruler of Tizatlan, persuaded the Tlaxcallan warleader his son, Xicotencatl the Younger, that it would be better to ally with the newcomers than to kill them. Xicohtencatl the Younger was later hanged by Cortes for desertion in April 1521 during the siege of Tenochtitlan.
Due to protracted warfare between the Aztecs and the Tlaxcala, the Tlaxcala were eager to exact revenge, and soon became loyal allies of the Spanish. Even after the Spanish were chased out of Tenochtitlan, the Tlaxcala continued to support their conquest.
Diego Muñoz Camargo's History of Tlaxcala (Lienzo de Tlaxcala), written in or before 1585, is an illustrated codex describing the conquest of Mexico. It was painted by Tlaxcalteca artists under Spanish supervision.
Crónica Mexicayotl was written by Fernando Alvarado Tezozomoc, in Nahuatl and Spanish, in the last decades of the sixteenth century.
- Alvarado Tezozomoc, Fernando. "Crónica Mexicana". Manuel Orozco y Berra. Leyenda. México, 1944
- Hassig, Ross (2001) "Xicotencatl: rethinking an indigenous Mexican hero", Estudios de Cultura Nahuatl, UNAM (Estudios de Cultura Nahuatl).
- Muñoz Camargo, Diego. "Historia de Tlaxcala". Alfredo Chavero. México, 1982 (1892) .
- Gibson, Charles. "Tlaxcala en el siglo XVI". Gobierno del estado de Tlaxcala. Fondo de cultura económica. México, 1991.