Alonso de Molina

Alonso de Molina (1513[1] or 1514[2][3] – 1579[1] or 1585[2][3]) was a Franciscan priest and grammarian, who wrote a well-known dictionary of the Nahuatl language published in 1571 and still used by scholars working on Nahuatl texts in the tradition of the New Philology.[4][5] He also wrote a bilingual confessional manual for priests who served in Nahuatl-speaking communities.[6]

Doctr cristiana mexicano.pdf
"La doctrina cristiana en mexicano" (Christian doctrine in Nahuatl (Mexican)) by the author


He was born in Extremadura, Spain in the Province of Cáceres, and he arrived in Mexico, still a child, in 1522, during the Spanish conquest of Mexico.[7] He grew up playing with monolingual Nahuatl-speaking children in the streets as the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, was being refashioned into Mexico City and so he became a fluent speaker of Nahuatl.[8] In 1528, as a young man, he entered the Franciscan convent of Mexico City becoming a friar. He taught at the Colegio de Santa Cruz in Tlatelolco along with Bernardino de Sahagún, Andrés de Olmos, Arnaldo de Basaccio, Juan de Gaona, and Maturino Gilberti[9] Students at the school were also important. Juan Badiano, a student at the school, translated a Nahuatl herbal into Latin.[9] Besides his clerical duties, Molina devoted himself to studying, understanding, and writing Nahuatl. He composed and preached many sermons in the language.


Molina dictionary
Molina's dictionary.

Molina's Vocabulary in Castilian and Mexican language, which he composed between 1555 and 1571, was the first dictionary printed in the New World and, together with Olmos's work, was the first published systematic approach to an indigenous language. It is still considered an indispensable tool for students of Classical Nahuatl.[10]

According to James Lockhart, "Molina went far beyond utilitarian basics to include a vast range of vocabulary, making many subtle semantic and grammatical distinctions."[11]

Molina's work creating tools for Nahuatl came under scrutiny by the Inquisition along with those of other Franciscans. In 1574, he attempted to reprint his Vocabulary, an indispensable tool for evangelization in Nahuatl, but the Inquisition compelled him to restate sections of his introduction to the work that it considered to be incorrect.[12]

Lockhart's analysis of Nahuatl as an index of cultural change relies on Molina's 1555 Vocabulary, which translates Nahuatl (Mexicana) to Spanish (Castellana), as a key source for loanwords from Spanish into Nahuatl in which he calls Stage 2, the second generation of language contact (ca. 1550 to 1600).[13] Molina records many nouns from Spanish that became integrated into Nahuatl, but his dictionary also records Nahuatl descriptions of Spanish concepts or objects. Lockhart listed some of them, including "bier" = miccatlapechtli "dead-person platform"; "plow" = quaquauhe ielimiquia "means by which an ox cultivates"; "justice, the law (justicia)" = tlamelahuacahihualiztli "doing things straight"; "pirate" = acalco tenamoyani "one who robs people on a boat".[14]

Molina's Confessionario (1569) includes a model testament, with elements that were standard features of Nahuatl wills: an invocation, the name and the residence of the testator, declarations of the testator being of sound mind, the disposition of property to particular heirs or designation of property to be sold for masses, and the closing section with named executors (albaceas) and witnesses (testigos).[15][16][17]



  1. ^ a b Guadalupe Hidalgo, Margarita (2006). Mexican indigenous languages at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Walter de Gruyter. p. 39. ISBN 3-11-018597-0..
  2. ^ a b Hernández de León-Portilla 2007, p. 63.
  3. ^ a b Stevenson, Robert (1968). Music in Aztec & Inca Territory. University of California Press. p. 106..
  4. ^ Alonso de Molina, Vocabulario en la lengua castellana y mexicana y mexicana y castellana(1571). Mexico: Editorial Porrúa.
  5. ^ Lockhart, James (2001). Nahuatl as written: lessons in older written Nahuatl, with copious examples and texts. Stanford University Press. p. 152. ISBN 0-8047-4282-0..
  6. ^ Alonso de Molina, Confessionario mayor en la lengua castellana y mexicana (1569). With introduction by Roberto Moreno. Mexico: Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas, Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México 1984.
  7. ^ Escandón, Patricia (2006). De la Iglesia indiana: Homenaje a Elsa Cecilia Frost. UNAM. p. 17. ISBN 970-32-4171-9..
  8. ^ Hernández de León-Portilla 2007, p. 74.
  9. ^ a b Georges Baudot, Utopia and History in Mexico: The First Chronicles of Mexican Civilization, 1520-1569. Translated by Bernard R. Ortiz de Montellano and Thelma Ortiz de Montellano. Boulder: University of Colorado Press 1995, p. 114.
  10. ^ Karttunen, Frances E. (1992). An analytical dictionary of Nahuatl. University of Oklahoma Press. p. xvii (Introduction). ISBN 0-8061-2421-0..
  11. ^ James Lockhart, The Nahuas After the Conquesy. Stanford: Stanford University Press 1992, p. 6
  12. ^ Georges Baudot, Utopia and History in Mexico: The First Chronicles of Mexican Civilization, 1520-1569. Translated by Bernard R. Ortiz de Montellano and Thelma Ortiz de Montellano. Boulder: University of Colorado Press 1995, p. 100 citing Carta del doctor d. Pedro Moya de Contreras al presidente del Consejo de Indias, Mexico, 24 de marzo de 1574, in F. del Paso y Troncoso, Epistolario de Nueva España, Mexico: 1939-43: vol. 11, p. 141.
  13. ^ James Lockhart, The Nahuas After the Conquest. Stanford: Stanford University Press 1992, pp. 284-88
  14. ^ Lockhart, Nahuas After the Conquest, p. 266, Table 7.1 "Early Nahuatl Descriptions of Spanish Introductions and Concepts". p. 266.
  15. ^ Alonso de Molina, Confessionario mayor ff. 61-63v.
  16. ^ Lockhart, Nahuas After the Conquest, Appendix B "Molina's Model Testament", pp. 468-474.
  17. ^ Sarah Cline, "Fray Alonso de Molina's Model Testament and Antecedents to Indigenous Wills in Spanish America" in Dead Giveaways: Indigenous Testaments of Colonial Mesoamerica and the Andes, Susan Kellogg and Matthew Restall, eds. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press 1998.
  18. ^ Hernández de León-Portilla 2007, p. 73.


1555 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1555.

1571 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1571.

1579 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1579.

Antonio del Rincón

Antonio del Rincón (1566 – March 2, 1601) was a Jesuit priest and grammarian, who wrote one of the earliest grammars of the Nahuatl language (known generally as the Arte mexicana, MS. published in 1595).

A native of Texcoco from the early decades of the Viceroyalty of New Spain and descendant of the tlatoque (ruling nobility of Texcoco), del Rincón was a native speaker of the indigenous language. Historians debate whether both his parents were indigenous Nahuas or whether he was a mestizo of half-Nahua, half-Spanish parentage. Historian Kelly McDonough considers him one of the first Nahua intellectuals. Guzman Betancourt calls him "the first native linguist of the New World". He entered the Company of Jesus at the age of 17 and quickly became known for his good grasp of the Nahuatl language and his sound theology.His grammar ranks alongside those of Andrés de Olmos and Alonso de Molina as an influential primary source for the language as spoken in the post-conquest period. He was the first scholar to hear and mark the glottal stop and vowel length distinction in nahuatl, and he was an important influence on his later Jesuit colleague Horacio Carochi, who elaborated on Rincon's work in his own famous arte. Nahuatl grammarians have praised Rincón for being the first to analyze the Nahuatl language on its own terms, instead of building on the latinate molds of European grammars. Linguist Una Canger has written that "When Carochi praises Rincón and underlines how he teaches with "such mastery", it is because of the organization of the Arte and because Rincón analyzes the language not according to the Latin model, but on its own terms. What Carochi adopted from Rincón is exactly the organization of the Arte.

Arte de la lengua mexicana

Arte de la lengua mexicana is the title or part of the title of several grammars of Nahuatl:

Arte de la lengua mexicana y castellana (1571 book) by Alonso de Molina

Arte de la lengua mexicana con la declaración de los adverbios della (1645 book) by Horacio Carochi

Arte de la lengua mexicana (1673 book) by Augustín de Vetancurt

Arte de la lengua mexicana (1689 book) by Antonio Vázquez Gaztelu

Arte de la lengua mexicana según la acostumbran hablar los Indios en todo el obsipado de Guadalajara, parte del de Guadiana y del de Mechoacan (1692 book) by Juan Guerra

Arte de la lengua mexicana (1717 book) by Francisco de Avila

Arte de la lengua mexicana (1754 book) by Joseph Augustin de Aldama y Guevara

Arte de la lengua mexicana (1810 book) by Rafael Tiburcio Sandoval

Arte de la lengua mexicana y castellana

The Arte de la lengua mexicana y castellana is a grammar of the Nahuatl language in Spanish by Alonso de Molina. It was published in Mexico in 1571, the same year as his monumental dictionary, Vocabulario en lengua castellana y mexicana.

The grammar is rudimentary, but does contain some insights on certain points, especially on pronunciation and orthography.The Arte was republished in a facsimile edition in 1945.

Bible translations into Uto-Aztecan languages

Uto-Aztecan languages are divided into two groups, Northern and Southern Uto-Aztecan languages. They are spoken in the southwestern United States, north and central Mexico, and in Central America.


Cholo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtʃolo]) is a loosely defined Spanish term that has had various meanings. Its origin is a somewhat derogatory term for mixed-blood descendants in the Spanish Empire in Latin America and its successor states as part of castas, the informal ranking of society by heritage. The exact usage and meaning has diverged heavily across Latin America, however. Cholo no longer necessarily refers only to ethnic heritage, and is not always meant negatively. Cholo can signify anything from its original sense as mestizo (a person of mixed European and Indigenous descent), "gangster" (Mexico), "person who dresses in the manner of a certain subculture" (United States), or as a grievous insult (some South American countries).

ESAN University

ESAN University or Universidad ESAN in Spanish (acronym: UE) is a private University located in the Santiago de Surco district in Lima, Peru. ESAN University is a leading business academic institution that was founded in 1963 as the first Graduate School of Business in Latin America. Throughout these years ESAN has achieved a relevant role in Peru, based on the quality of its MBA, specialized masters, executive programs, etc. Currently ESAN University offers undergraduate programs divided in three schools: the School of Economics and Management, the School of Engineering and the School of Law, fields of specialization at the Bachelor level are: Management and Marketing, Management and Finance, Economics and International Business, Information Technology and Systems Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Environmental Management Engineering, Organizational Psychology, Consumer Psychology, Corporate Law, etc.

El Cuajilote

El Cuajilote or Filobobos is an archeological site of the Totonac Culture, located in the Tlapacoyan municipality, Veracruz state, México.Just as in many other Mesoamerican sites, the original name is unknown and arbitrarily names are assigned, sometimes local names are used, in this case, the name “El Cuajilote” derives from the “Chote” tree from the Totonac region, although the tree is scarce in the area nowadays. This site is part of the Filobobos zone, where vestiges of at least six archaeological sites are known. Currently only two have been explored; Vega de la Peña and El Cuajilote.Cuajilote, is also the name of a tree (Parmentiera aculeate), also known as huachilote or monkey cocoa, typical of low deciduous forest, exist in broad territories in the South and Centre Mexico.

According to INAH the Filobobos name derives from the local sharp profiles (“Filos”) of gorges and ravines, created by a geologic phenomenon from the Cenozoic era, and of “”bobos”, name of an almost extinct fish variety, very appreciated in the region.The gorges and water falls, have allowed a natural preservation of the Filobobos Archeological Site.It is a very fertile region and from prehispanic time it has been an important natural communication corridor between the Central Plateau and the Gulf of Mexico, used by diverse ethnic groups for travels, in the process of commercial and cultural trade.

Famous Thirteen

The Famous Thirteen (Spanish Los trece de la fama, "the thirteen of the fame", or Los trece de Gallo, "the thirteen of [Isla del] Gallo") were a group of 16th century Spanish conquistadors that participated in the Spanish conquest of Peru (second expedition) along with their leader, Francisco Pizarro. In 1527 Pizarro and his men were waiting on the Isla del Gallo, in bad conditions, when the supply ship returned from Panama with orders from the Spanish governor to abandon the expedition. According to the traditional version of the story, Pizarro drew a line in the sand with his sword and said, "those on that side of the line can go back to Panama and be poor; those on this side can come to Peru and be rich. Let the good Castillian choose his path." In the traditional telling of the story, only thirteen men chose to stay with Pizarro.Historians have noted inconsistencies in reports of the identity of the Famous Thirteen, and have identified as many as nineteen candidates for the thirteen spots.One list of names is as follows:

Nicolás de Ribera "el Viejo", born in Olvera, Andalucía;

Cristóbal de Peralta, hidalgo of Baeza;

Antón de Carrión, born in Carrión de los Condes;

Pedro de Candia, a Greek born in Candia, Crete;

Domingo de Soraluce, or Soria Lucina, a Basque merchant from Vergara

Francisco de Cuéllar, from Cuellar;

Joan de la Torre y Díaz Chacón, born in Villagarcía de la Torre de Extremadura, near Llerena;

Pedro de Alcón, from Cazalla de la Sierra north of Seville;

García de Jeréz or Jaren, Utrera merchant

Alonso de Briceño, born about 1506 in Benavente;

Alonso de Molina, born in Úbeda;

Gonzalo Martín de Trujillo, born in Trujillo;

Martín de Paz.Also, the "brave pilot" Bartolomé Ruiz.

Francisco de Toral

Francisco de Toral, O.F.M. (1502–1571) was a Franciscan missionary in New Spain, and the first Bishop of Yucatán.

Index of Mexico-related articles

The following is an alphabetical Mexico-related index of topics related to the United Mexican States.

Juan Pablos

Giovanni Paoli, better known as Juan Pablos (1500?-1560 or 1561), a native of Lombardy, was the first documented printer in the Americas when he started printing in Mexico in 1539.

Mesoamerican literature

The traditions of indigenous Mesoamerican literature extend back to the oldest-attested forms of early writing in the Mesoamerican region, which date from around the mid-1st millennium BCE. Many of the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica are known to have been literate societies, who produced a number of Mesoamerican writing systems of varying degrees of complexity and completeness. Mesoamerican writing systems arose independently from other writing systems in the world, and their development represents one of the very few such origins in the history of writing. The conquistadors brought their distinctive cultural baggage, in the form of books, from Spain to the New World.

The literature and texts created by indigenous Mesoamericans are the earliest-known from the Americas for primarily two reasons: Firstly the fact that the native populations of Mesoamerica were the first to enter into intensive contact with Europeans, assuring that many samples of Mesoamerican literature have been documented in surviving and intelligible forms. Secondly, the long tradition of Mesoamerican writing which undoubtedly contributed to the native Mesoamericans readily embracing the Latin alphabet of the Spaniards and creating many literary works written in it during the first centuries after the Spanish conquest of Mexico. This article summarizes current knowledge about indigenous Mesoamerican literatures in its broadest sense and describe it categorized by its literary contents and social functions.


Nahuatl (English: ; Nahuatl pronunciation: [ˈnaːwatɬ] (listen)), known historically as Aztec, is a language or group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Varieties of Nahuatl are spoken by about 1.7 million Nahua peoples, most of whom live in central Mexico.

Nahuatl has been spoken in central Mexico since at least the seventh century CE. It was the language of the Aztecs, who dominated what is now central Mexico during the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerican history. During the centuries preceding the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, the Aztecs had expanded to incorporate a large part of central Mexico, and their influence caused the variety of Nahuatl spoken by the residents of Tenochtitlan to become a prestige language in Mesoamerica. At the conquest, with the introduction of the Latin alphabet, Nahuatl also became a literary language, and many chronicles, grammars, works of poetry, administrative documents and codices were written in it during the 16th and 17th centuries. This early literary language based on the Tenochtitlan variety has been labeled Classical Nahuatl, and is among the most studied and best-documented languages of the Americas.Today, Nahuan languages are spoken in scattered communities, mostly in rural areas throughout central Mexico and along the coastline. There are considerable differences among varieties, and some are not mutually intelligible. Huasteca Nahuatl, with over one million speakers, is the most-spoken variety. All varieties have been subject to varying degrees of influence from Spanish. No modern Nahuan languages are identical to Classical Nahuatl, but those spoken in and around the Valley of Mexico are generally more closely related to it than those on the periphery. Under Mexico's General Law of Linguistic Rights of the Indigenous Peoples promulgated in 2003, Nahuatl and the other 63 indigenous languages of Mexico are recognized as lenguas nacionales ("national languages") in the regions where they are spoken, enjoying the same status as Spanish within their regions.Nahuan languages exhibit a complex morphology characterized by polysynthesis and agglutination. Through a very long period of coexistence with the other indigenous Mesoamerican languages, they have absorbed many influences, coming to form part of the Mesoamerican language area. Many words from Nahuatl have been borrowed into Spanish and, from there, were diffused into hundreds of other languages. Most of these loanwords denote things indigenous to central Mexico which the Spanish heard mentioned for the first time by their Nahuatl names. English words of Nahuatl origin include "avocado", "chayote", "chili", "chocolate", "atlatl", "coyote", "peyote", "axolotl" and "tomato".

Pedro Ocharte

Pedro Ocharte was one of the first printers in the Americas, active from 1563 to 1592.

Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire

The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, or the Spanish–Mexica War (1519–21), was the conquest of the Aztec Empire by the Spanish Empire within the context of the Spanish colonization of the Americas. There are multiple 16th-century narratives of the events by Spanish conquerors, their indigenous allies and the defeated Aztecs. It was not solely a contest between a small contingent of Spaniards defeating the Aztec Empire but rather the creation of a coalition of Spanish invaders with tributaries to the Aztecs, and most especially the Aztecs' indigenous enemies and rivals. They combined forces to defeat the Mexica of Tenochtitlan over a two-year period. For the Spanish, the expedition to Mexico was part of a project of Spanish colonization of the New World after twenty-five years of permanent Spanish settlement and further exploration in the Caribbean.

Following an earlier expedition led by Juan de Grijalva to Yucatán in 1517, Spanish settler, Hernán Cortés, led an expedition (entrada) to Mexico. Two years later, in 1519, Cortés and his retinue set sail from Cuba for Mexico. The Spanish campaign against the Aztec Empire had its final victory on August 13, 1521, when a coalition army of Spanish forces and native Tlaxcalan warriors led by Cortés and Xicotencatl the Younger captured the emperor Cuauhtemoc and Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire. The fall of Tenochtitlan marks the beginning of Spanish rule in central Mexico, and they established their capital of Mexico City on the ruins of Tenochtitlan.

Cortés made alliances with tributaries city-states (altepetl) of the Aztec Empire as well as their political rivals, particularly the Tlaxcalteca and Texcocans, a former partner in the Aztec Triple Alliance. Other city-states also joined, including Cempoala and Huexotzinco and polities bordering Lake Texcoco, the inland lake system of the Valley of Mexico. Particularly important to the Spanish success was a multilingual (Nahuatl, a Maya dialect, and Spanish) indigenous slave woman, known to the Spanish conquistadors as Doña Marina, and generally as La Malinche. After eight months of battles and negotiations, which overcame the diplomatic resistance of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II to his visit, Cortés arrived in Tenochtitlan on November 8, 1519, where he took up residence with fellow Spaniards and their indigenous allies. When news reached Cortés of the death of several of his men during the Aztec attack on the Totonacs in Veracruz, he took Moctezuma captive, along with Cuitláhuac, his kinsman. Capturing the cacique or indigenous ruler was standard operating procedure for Spaniards in their expansion in the Caribbean, so capturing Moctezuma had considerable precedent.

When Cortés left Tenochtitlan to return to the coast and deal with the expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez, sent to rein in Cortés's expedition that had exceeded its specified limits, Cortés's right-hand man Pedro de Alvarado was left in charge. Alvarado allowed a significant Aztec feast to be celebrated in Tenochtitlan and on the pattern of the earlier massacre in Cholula, closed off the square and massacred the celebrating Aztec noblemen. The official biography of Cortés by Francisco López de Gómara contains a description of the massacre. The Alvarado massacre at the Main Temple of Tenochtitlan precipitated rebellion by the population of the city. Moctezuma was killed, although the sources do not agree on who murdered him. According to one account, when Moctezuma, now seen by the population as a mere puppet of the invading Spaniards, attempted to calm the outraged populace, he was killed by a projectile. According to an indigenous account, the Spanish killed Moctezuma. Cortés had returned to Tenochtitlan and his men fled the capital city during the Noche Triste in June 1520. The Spanish, Tlaxcalans and reinforcements returned a year later on August 13, 1521 to a civilization that had been weakened by famine and smallpox. This made it easier to conquer the remaining Aztecs.Many of those on the Cortés expedition of 1519 had never seen combat before, including Cortés. A whole generation of Spaniards later participated in expeditions in the Caribbean and Tierra Firme (Central America), learning strategy and tactics of successful enterprises. The Spanish conquest of Mexico had antecedents with established practices.The fall of the Aztec Empire was the key event in the formation of the Spanish Empire overseas, with New Spain, which later became Mexico.

Vocabulario en lengua castellana y mexicana

Vocabulario en lengua castellana y mexicana is a bilingual dictionary of Spanish and Nahuatl by Alonso de Molina, first published in 1555 originally entitled Aquí comiença un vocabulario en la lengua castellana y mexicana, edited by Juan Pablos. It was the first dictionary to be published in the New World. However the most relevant and most famous edition was the one made in 1571, edited by Antonio de Spinosa, which then came to be named Vocabulario en lengua castellana y mexicana. This new edition included the Nahuatl-to-Spanish section that the original didn't.

The Franciscan missionaries promoted the writing of literature works to evangelize the Indians in their own language, Nahuatl being one of the most important considering that it was spoken throughout New Spain. After the Council of Trent, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church recommended to preach in indigenous languages. During the rule of viceroy Martín Enríquez de Almanza, Molina published Spanish-to-Nahuatl and Nahuatl-to-Spanish vocabularies to help the formation of priests that were to accomplish the evangelizing assignments.Molina's Vocabulario is considered the most important dictionary of the Classical Nahuatl language and has continued to be reprinted into the 20th century. It is typically referred to simply as Molina.

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