The month of May this year marks the five-hundredth anniversary of the fall of Tenochtitlán (1521-2021). The tragedies that unfolded in the continent after the conquest are well documented. However, as far as the accounts of the fall of the Tenochtitlán are concerned, there are several different opinions and disagreements. What about the letters of Hernán Cortés? Here is the second letter from the WDL
Also on the archive.org, we see a digitized copy of JCB’s 1552 Francisco López de Gómara’s “La historia general de las Indias, y todo lo acaescido enellas dende que se ganaron hasta agora. ; y La conquista de Mexico, y dela Nueua España.”
What are some of the primary sources that are now open access and can be used to inform us about the events that unfolded five hundred years ago? One such source is Bernal Díaz del Castillo’s is work, “Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España.” On the right, one sees a title page of the 1632 imprint of the same that is available in Google Books.
While some often use paintings from the late 17th century to depict and describe the fall of the capital of the Aztecs, these are often functions of the artistic license, and in some cases, we do not know who could have painted them.
The painting, such as the one below, is one example from the Library of Congress’ collection. Can images narrate the nuanced past accurately? These images are from the LOC’s exhibition and also in Wikimedia commons.
But where are the voices of those who were conquered but not vanquished? Can we rely on Codex Florentino as one perhaps contested source? The WDL (from the collection of Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana) has made it available for the readers to judge the process that began with the conquest of Tenochtitlán. The LOC’s description reads, “Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España” (General History of the Things of New Spain), as the Florentine Codex is formally known, is an encyclopedic work about the people and culture of central Mexico compiled over a period of 30 years by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún (1499–1590), a Franciscan missionary who arrived in Mexico in 1529, eight years after completion of the Spanish conquest by Hernan Cortés. The text is in Spanish and Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. Its 12 books, richly illustrated by indigenous artists, cover the Aztec religion and calendar, economic and social life, Aztec history and mythology, the use of plants and animals and the Spanish conquest as seen through the eyes of the native Mexicans.”
I leave you with unfinished thoughts. Can a manuscript tell the story? See for yourself by watching Getty Researcher Institute’s five-part series. And with Taibo’s, “¿Historia para qué?”I love Paco Ignacio Taibo II’s argument about who we are? And his questioning of sanitization history where Cortes and Cuauhtemōc are dancing La Sandunga.
On May 16th, the Guardian newspaper reported the tragic events in Torreón, Mexico, during the Mexican Revolution under the headline. The headline read: Mexico faces up to the uneasy anniversary of Chinese massacre.
As the librarian, I look mostly for Latin American Studies-related materials without any judgment about the contents and collect for our library a representative and sustainable collection of all aspects of Latin America that are diverse and neverending. After reading the headline, it reminded me of my research on Chinese in Mexicali during my graduate school. Today, I leave you with some library materials that relate to Chinese in Mexico and Latin America.
The house of the pain of others: a chronicle of a small genocide / Julián Herbert; translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, ). The publisher’s description in WorldCat states, “Early in the twentieth century, amid the myths of progress and modernity that underpinned Mexico’s ruling party, some three hundred Chinese immigrants–close to half of the Cantonese residents of the newly founded city of Torreón–were massacred over the course of three days. It is considered the largest slaughter of Chinese people in the history of the Americas, but more than a century later, the facts continue to be elusive, mistaken, and repressed. ‘And what do you know about the Chinese people who were killed here?’ Julián Herbert asks anyone who will listen. An exorcism of persistent and discomfiting ghosts, ‘The House of the Pain of Others’ attempts a reckoning with the 1911 massacre. Looping, digressive, and cinematic, Herbert blends reportage, personal reflection, essay, and academic research to portray the historical context as well as the lives of the perpetrators and victims of the ‘small genocide.’ This brilliant historical excavation echoes profoundly in an age redolent with violence and xenophobia”–Page 4 of cover.”
Here is the presentation by the Author for your information.
On one-hundredth anniversary of the Chinese Massacre of Mexico, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador(AMLO) held a ceremony whose title was, “Petición de perdón por agravios a la comunidad china en México, desde Torreón, Coahuila. Lunes 17 de mayo 2021.” Below is an excerpt from his speech.
As some librarians scramble to collect materials in endangered languages and continue competing professionally for acquiring difficult to find low print materials in the indigenous studies and regional languages, they sometimes end up overlooking readily available open access sources. These sources can enrich students’ and faculty’s academic experiences. This is the first post in a series of occasional posts highlighting some of the well-known academic journals that deal with indigenous studies. One such Mexican journal is Estudios De Cultura Náhuatl.
The journal site’s self-description is as follows, “Estudios de Cultura Náhuatl es una revista científica del Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Difunde trabajos de investigación sobre la lengua y la cultura de los pueblos de habla náhuatl de ayer y hoy. Con más de sesenta años desde su primera aparición, Estudios de Cultura Náhuatl es un referente ineludible en su campo de estudio.” Below is the landing page of the journal. If one clicks on the photo below, you can see on the right side of the website, indexed issues. At the time of writing this post, there was a full-text access and index to issues of the journal beginning 1959.
I was shocked by the news of the untimely demise of Mexican author Luiz Zapata, who is considered a trailblazer of the LGBT literary genre in Mexico. As the newspaper, Millenio reported he had been sick for sometime. Luis Zapata Quiroz‘s acclaimed book, “El vampiro de la colonia Roma,” is considered one of the first books that broke the silence on the issues of gay presence in Mexican literature. It was the recipient of the 1979 Juan Grijalbo book prize.
I leave you with some of his books that we have in our collections and a video recording. RIP, Luis Zapata.
- De cuerpo entero / Luis Zapata.
- Melodrama : De petalos perennes
- En jirones
- Ese amor que hasta ayer nos quemaba
- La hermana secreta de Angélica María
.בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָעֵץ
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu melekh ha-olam, borei pri ha-eitz. (Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the tree).
יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶךָ, יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ שֶׁתְּחַדֵּשׁ עָלֵינוּ
.שָׁנָה טוֹבָה וּמְתוּקָה
Yehi ratzon milfanekha, Adonai Eloheinu ve-Elohei avoteinu she-tekhadesh aleinu shanah tovah umetukah (May it be Your will, Lord our God and God of our ancestors, that this be a good and sweet year for us).
Today at sundown, Jews all over the world will celebrate the Jewish New Year 5781. Jews in Latin America are not an exception to this celebration. The history of Jews of Latin America and the Caribbean is that of nuanced amalgamation, adaptation while preserving the cultural and religious identities to the extent possible. Below I present you with some of the books from our Doe Library’s collections whose subject is Jews in Latin America. These books are from different parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Invenciones multitudinarias : escritoras judíomexicanas contemporáneas.
- Pertenencia y alteridad : judíos en/de América Latina : cuarenta años de cambios / Haim Havni, Judit Bokser Liwerant, Sergio DellaPergola, Margalit Bejarano, Leonardo Senkman (coordinadores) ; traducción y supervisión de estilo, Florinda F. Goldberg. And the same title can be read online here.
- Más allá del Medio Oriente : las diásporas judía y árabe en América Latina / Raanan Rein (coord.) ; María José Cano, Beatriz Molina Rueda (eds.).
- Comunidades judías en América Latina / José Luis Piczenik.
- Encuentro y alteridad : vida y cultura judía en América Latina / Judit Bokser Liwerant y Alicia Gojman de Backal (coordinadoras) ; compilación de Hellen B. Soriano.
- Inquisición y judaizantes en América española (siglos XVI-XVII) / Ricardo Escobar Quevedo ; [prólogo de Charles Amiel].
- Poylishe Idn in Dorem-Ameriḳe : zaml-bukh tsum 25-yoriḳn yoyvl fun organizirṭn Poylishn Idnṭum in Argenṭine 1916-1941י.
- Los sefaraditas : España, el Imperio Otomano, La Argentina : tradición y cultura / María del Carmen Artigas.
- Los sefardíes en los dominios holandeses de América del Sur y del Caribe,1630-1750 / Günter Böhm.
- “Alumbrado.” (1937) México by Martínez del Río, Pablo.
- La familía Carvajal; estudio histórico sobre los judíos y la Inquisición de la Nueva España en el siglo XVI, basado en documentos originales y en su mayor parte inéditos, que se conservan en el Archivo General de la Nación de la cuidad de México, / por Alfonso Toro.
Lah nasyon : be-ʻiḳvot Yehude Sefarad u-Forṭugal be-ezor ha-Ḳaribi = La Nacion : the Spanish and Portuguese Jews in the Caribbean. לה נאסיון : בעקבות יהודי ספרד ופורטוגל באיזור הקאריב
Below is a brief documentary on Jews in Mexico.
Today, we celebrate Mexico’s independence day from Spanish colonial yoke. While the Independence and its fruits launched Mexico on a different historical and often turbulent trajectory of political development, it reminds us of the resilience of those who initially resisted Spanish colonial domination. One such figure that inspires me is that of Padre Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (1753-1811). There has been much debate about how he looked as Mexican authorities have continued to publish a stereotypical image of him. How he looked has been analyzed in a documentary by a social activist, historian, and prolific Mexican writer Paco Ignacio Taibo II (He was born in Spain and his family escaped from Spain from the dictatorship of Franco). I was lucky to hear him speak during the 2018 FIL in Guadalajara.
Today, I present you with just a few print items of interest from our Main collections along with the documentary about Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla below. Bancroft Library par excellence continues to hold most of our precious imprints related to Mexico’s Independence. However, our Main circulating collection also has an impressive array of books on Mexico’s war for Independence, 1810-1821.
The other equally interesting item that deals with the age of revolutions in Latin America is a 1864-1867, five volume set, “Annales historiques de la révolution de l’Amérique latine, accompagnées de documents à l’appui. De l’année 1808 jusqu’à la reconnaissance par les états européens de l’indépendance de ce vaste continent. Par M. Charles Calvo.” The full-text of this set is also accessible on Hathi Trust. The last item that I want to highlights a 19th-century coverage of Mexico’s Independence is a four-volume set that was published in Mexico from 1849-1852 is “Historia de Méjico desde los primeros movimientos que prepararon su independencia en el año de 1808, hasta la época presente. Por don Lúcas Alamán …” It is also available in both Google Books and Hathi Trust in its Open Access avatar.
As a final thought, I wanted us to reflect upon the wars we have been fighting around the globe for various reasons. Some of them are righteous, and others are justified using policy-based sermons and formulated on national security interests. European powers fought similar wars in the 19th century when the colonies decided to become independent. Mexico’s wars for Independence against the Spanish Empire remind us of the resilience of Mexicans/ Mexicanas and the drive of those few idealists who strived to build a just world. One such idealist that inspires me is the figure of Padre Miguel Hidalgo and Costilla. ¡Que viva México! and then this thought-provoking opinion piece about Mexico today in Milenio.
I leave with you with two YouTube clips: a serious clip of Grito by a child dressed like Padre Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and the other one is of a corrido about Mexico’s Independence.
COVID-19: The Caribbean and Latin American Information Professionals
and Academic Library Directors Speak!
Thursday, Sept. 17
9:30 a.m. PST (USA and Canada)
The Independent and Revolutionary Mexican Newspapers collection, created by the Center for Research Libraries, is an open access digital archive comprised of “over 1,000 titles from Mexico’s pre-independence, independence and revolutionary periods (1807-1929).” The papers “provide rare documentation of the dramatic events of this era and include coverage of Mexican partisan politics, yellow press, political and social satire, as well as local, regional, national and international news. While holdings of many of the newspapers in this collection are available only in very short runs, the titles are often unique and, in many cases, represent the only existing record of a newspaper’s short-lived publication.”
The archive is searchable, or can be browsed by newspaper title, city of origin, or language. It is also possible to find issues by date, or to select from an area on a map.
CRL announced today it has released more than 477 titles of the 19th-century Mexican newspapers that total 134,208 pages in their digitized format. Most of these are scanned from existing microfilms thus some of the issues can have quality-related issues. The collection closely resembles the digital collection of Hemeroteca that is at UNAM. Nevertheless, in times of constraints on access to the physical collections, this resource remains an irreplaceable treasure trove of information on the 19th Mexico. It is an OA collection for a world-wide audience to use.
East View’s description states, “Most of the titles in the Independent and Revolutionary Mexican Newspapers collection are from the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, a research library at the University of Texas at Austin for area studies on Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the Latino presence in the United States. The Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection is regarded by many as the preeminent Latin American library in the United States and is particularly rich in out-of-the-ordinary materials issued in small print runs, many difficult to acquire when first published and impossible to acquire today.”
Below are some of the images of the database.
Welcome back from the long-deserved summer break! I wanted to share with you that during the summer break, the library has been as active as it is usually during the academic year. We have been purchasing books to prepare for the new academic year. Below is the album of some new recently purchased books from Mexico for your consideration. Please click on the photo below to get access to the individual images of the new books from Mexico.