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Mexico City announces events to celebrate fall of Tenochtitlán

'Mexico-Tenochtitlán, Seven Centuries of History' will begin March 21

Mexico City authorities have announced a series of cultural events to take place throughout the year to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of Tenochtitlán, capital of the Aztec Empire, and the capital city’s founding by the Spanish.

The events will also celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spain.

“According to historians, the foundation of Mexico-Tenochtitlán was in 1523, but that is not a fixed date,” said Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum. “Our city has a deeply rooted history of more than seven centuries …”

“Mexico-Tenochtitlán, Seven Centuries of History” will begin on March 21 and feature activities in the zócalo, at archaeological sites, in historic neighborhoods and at other points around the city until December 24.

They range from a celebration of the equinox at the Cuicuilco archaeological site to events marking moments in Mexico City’s history to academic discussions about Mexico’s history involving researchers from a variety of disciplines who, Sheinbaum said, would take a reflective, critical look at prevailing accounts of the city’s history and the myths about the historical record that have arisen over time.

Among the ways the city will mark the anniversary is by changing the name of Puente de Alvarado Avenue to Mexico-Tenochtitlán Boulevard, the mayor announced at an event on Wednesday.

Pedro de Alvarado participated in the conquest of Mexico with Hernán Cortés and is notorious for having ordered the slaughter of several people at the indigenous Templo Mayor while they were celebrating a religious event.

By changing the name of the road, Sheinbaum said, “We rescue our origins and open the discussion” in the historical reconstruction of the city, a process in which original peoples will be participating, she said.

Appearing to be addressing potential concerns about what could be perceived as a celebration of Mexico’s takeover by the Spanish, Sheinbaum said that a goal of the commemoration activities was to reflect on the 500 years of  “the so-called Conquest,” as she put it.

“… What we want is to highlight the great diversity and what the Mexica culture represented …”

“If indeed the destruction of Mexico-Tenochtitlán occurred 500 years ago, what is also certain was the resistance of the original people, and we must not forget the violence of those years …” she said.

Sources: El Universal (sp), El Heraldo de México (sp), La Jornada (sp)

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