Reading 17: The Columbian Exchange and Global Contacts
1. DISEASE IN MEXICO
(Taken from an Aztec source)
Twenty-ninth Chapter, in which it is told how there came a plague, of which the natives died. Its name was
smallpox. It was at the time that the Spaniards set forth from Mexico.
But before the Spaniards had risen against us, first there came to be prevalent a great sickness, a plague. It
was in Tepeilhuid that it originated, that there spread over the people a great destruction of men. Some it
indeed covered [with pustules]; they were spread everywhere, on one's face, on one's head, on one's breast,
etc. There was indeed perishing; many indeed died of it. No longer could they walk; they only lay in their
abodes, in their beds. No longer could they move, no longer could they bestir themselves, no longer could
they raise themselves, nolonger could they stretch themselves out on their sides, no longer could they
stretch themselves out face down, no longer could they stretch themselves out on their backs. And when
they bestirred themselves, much did they cry out. There was much perishing. Like a covering, covering-
like, were the pustules. Indeed many people died of them, and many just died of hunger. There was death
from hunger; there was no one to take care of another; there was no one to attend to another.
And on some, each pustule was placed on them only far apart; they did not cause much suffering, neither
did many die of them. And many people were harmed by them on their faces; their faces were roughened.
Of some, the eyes were 3 injured; they were blinded.
At this time this plague prevailed indeed sixty days-sixty day-signs-when it ended, when it diminished;
when it was realized, when there was reviving, the plague was already going toward Chalco.
2. EUROPEAN PLANTS AND ANIMALS IN MEXICO AND CHILE
Mexico: Mexico City
Of Other Features of the Archdiocese of Mexico, and of the Fruit Growing There.
481. In the provinces of this district of the Archdiocese of Mexico described in the preceding chapters,
there are over 250 Indian villages, with many cities among them; 100 [of them] are county seats (cabezas
de partido). In these, and on over 6,000 establishments-corn and wheat farms, sugar plantations, cattle,
sheep and hog ranches-there are over 500,000 Indians paying tribute, and more than 150 convents of the
Dominican, Franciscan, and Augustinian orders, and many curacies under priests, not to speak of the
[many] Spanish towns in the district of the Archiodicese, and especially all the silver-mining towns, which
are Spanish settlements.
483. The city of Mexico is luxuriously provided with fruit, both of Spanish an native varieties: they all
yield abundantly. There are excellent olive groves from which they gather quantities of eating olives.
Grapes are brought in from Quertaro, and there are a few vines in the city, as well as peaches large and