|"Matricula de tributos" of the |
In the Codex Mendoza which was an Aztec codex that was created after the Spanish conquest of Mexico (14 years after the conquest) it contains multiple sections, one section in particular has a portion of 39 pages which provide a list of the towns conquered by the Triple Alliance which is better known as the Mexica Aztec Empire. The Triple Alliance was made up of an alliance between three Nahua city-states Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan. These three "altepetl" (city states) ruled the Valley of Mexico from 1428-1521 when they were defeated by the combined forces of the Spanish conquistadores and their native allies under Hernan Cortes. In the 39 pages mentioned above there is a smaller section known as the "Matricula de tributos" which details the tributes paid from the lesser towns of a province to the principal city-state. These tributes include gold and other precious metals for jewelry, cocoa, cotton, jars of honey, granary, copal, feathers, strings of semiprecious beads, warrior suits, animals and many, many other goods.
Many of these tributes were in such large quantities that it would have been hard for a conquered people to compile and would have been considered an extreme hardship. This caused the hatred for the Aztec Empire from the smaller towns and city-states that were forced to pay tribute. It was this hatred and discontent that eventually caused many of these tributaries to join forces with the Spanish conquistadores in hopes of alleviating this burden. Bernal Diaz spoke of one such king who ruled on the Veracruz coast who had to deal with this burden. "This king was known only as the Fat King or Fat Chief who, "broke into bitter complaints "saying, the Mexica (Aztecs) ruler "had taken away all his golden jewelry, and so grievously oppressed him and his people that they could do nothing except obey him, since he was lord over many cities and countries, and ruler over countless vassals and armies of warriors."1
|Captain Moroni and Zarahemna|
This is seen again in more detail when we look at the people of Limhi and their dealings with the Lamanites in Mosiah 19. There was internal turmoil between the previous King of the Nephites (the group who lived in the lands of the Lamanites) a man named wicked King Noah and another man named Gideon. This turmoil caused dissensions between the Nephites and their loyalty to the wicked King Noah. It was at this precise time that they were attacked by the Lamanites who conquered them and scattered their leaders who had fled for their lives (Noah included). In the absence of leadership and being subjected to bondage a tributary King was placed over the Nephites named Limhi (the son of King Noah) and his people were forced to pay a grievous tribute as noted in Mosiah 19:15 which states,
"Therefore the Lamanites did spare their lives, and took them captives and carried them back to the Land of Nephi, and granted unto them that they might possess the land, under the conditions that they would deliver up King Noah into the hands of the Lamanites, and deliver up their property, even one half of all they possessed, one half of their gold, and their silver, and all their precious things, and thus they should pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites from year to year."
The dealings of Limhi and his people with the Lamanites only got worse form there. At one point after some limited prosperity the people of Limhi had multiple wars against the Lamanites in which they were badly beaten three times in a row. These losses caused them to be humbled as Mosiah 21:13 states,
"And they did humble themselves even to the dust, subjecting themselves to the yoke of bondage, submitted themselves to be smitten, and to be driven to and fro, and burdened, according to the desires of their enemies."
|Fat Aztec Chief|
1. Stuart Gene S, Glanzman Louis S, The Mighty Aztecs, May 1982.