Friday, June 8, 2012

Asunción Church in the town of Amecameca in the State of México

Settled human habitation in this area began early mostly in dispersed small villages. The Chichimeca tribe called the Totolimpanecas arrived around 1268 and populated the areas now known as Itztlacozauhcan, Tlayllotlacan Amaquemecan. Later arrivals occupied areas known as Tzacualtitlan Tenanco Amaquemecan and Atlauhtlan Tzacualtitlan Amaquemecan. These groups had their own small dominions. In 1336, another dominion called Tlaylloltlacan Teohuacan was formed. All these communities were collectively known as the Amaquemecans. Religious practices in this area were mostly performed in urban temples and shrines located on mountaintops and caves. In 1465, the Aztecs conquered this area, along with the rest of the Valley of Chalco, replacing local leaders with military governors and transforming the area into a tributary province with neighboring Tlalmanalco as capital.

Hernán Cortés arrived here in 1519 and noted that the houses here were well built with about 20,000 inhabitants. In 1521, the leaders here were Quetzalmazatzin and his brother Tecuanxayacatzin due to the help they gave Cortés in conquering Tenochtitlan. Soon thereafter, they were poisoned. After the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, Franciscans were in charge of evangelizing the area. In 1525, Martín de Valencia set fire to the local priests’ houses on the Amaqueme Mountain (Sacromonte), and in 1527 construction of the Franciscan monastery began. The cult to the Santo Entierro (Holy Burial) or Señor del Sacromonte was begun to replace an earlier pagan cult at this site. The La Asuncion Church was begun in 1547, along with a number of other places of worship. Construction was finished in 1564. The tower was not built until the mid 17th century. From the 1540s to the end of the century, there was much civil strife among the native population. Some indigenous rule was restored but it would end for good by the 17th century.

The raising of European foodstuffs such as wheat and sheep began early with commercial agriculture becoming the basis of the economy by 1550. The area also became an important pass linking Mexico City with points east with many travelers and merchants passing through. By 1599, Amecameca has become the head of a district with thirteen dependencies with an area of about 128km

A major earthquake occurred here in 1704 which destroyed many houses as well as the roof of the La Asuncion Church. It was repaired from 1712 to 1719

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