Ana Cortés

Photo of the pyramids of Teotihuacán. Image Credit: WikiCommons.

By Gabby Storey

Born in sixteenth-century Tetzcoco, Ana was daughter of Ixtlilxochitl, later baptised don Fernando Cortés, one of a long line of tlatoani (rulers) of Tetzcoco.

It may have been Fernando’s baptism and alliance with the Spaniards which enabled him to integrate his family into the regional power networks, according to Ochoa and Guengerich. Ana was married to Quetzalmamalitzin, tlatoani of Teotihuacán, at a date unknown.

In his will, Quetzalmamalitzin left Ana a considerable amount of his estate, to whom ‘he loved dearly’, indicating it was a partnership of affection at the very least. Ana was in charge of the administration and rule of these estates, alongside her dowry, until her death. She was also responsible for pursuing any legal matters, and was named as holding full authority after her husband’s death, and taking his position as a local ruler.

Ana’s activities after her husband’s death are unknown: she did not leave a will, and given all lands of hers and Quetzalmamalitzin’s were to pass to their children after her death, and their daughter succeeded as ruler, it appears this was successful.

Recommended Reading

Margarita R. Ochoa and Sara Vicuña Guengerich, eds., Cacicas. The Indigenous Women Leaders of Spanish America, 1492-1825 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2021).

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