Princess Francisca Moctezuma – The forgotten daughter of Emperor Moctezuma II




Princess Francisca Moctezuma

Princess Francisca Moctezuma is the least known of Emperor Moctezuma II’s recorded daughters. Unlike her half-sisters, Empress Isabel Moctezuma and Princess Mariana Leonor Moctezuma, Princess Francisca was not awarded with any towns by the Spanish conquistadors. According to historian Camilla Townsend, this is most likely because she rarely interacted with the Spanish conquistadors.[1] Despite not having an inheritance, Princess Francisca Moctezuma managed to become one of the most prominent women in Mexico. She was the wife of the first governor of Tenochtitlan.

Princess Francisca Moctezuma was born in 1519 in Tenochtitlan during the Spanish invasion of the Aztec Empire.[2] Her original name remains unrecorded. Francisca was her baptised and christened name when she converted to Catholicism after the fall of the Aztec Empire.[3] She was the youngest of Emperor Moctezuma II’s daughters.[4] Her mother was Queen Tlapalizquixochtzin (the queen regnant of the Aztec city-state of Ecatepec and the second Empress of Emperor Moctezuma II).[5] She had numerous half-siblings, many of whom are still unknown.[6] Among her known half-siblings are Isabel Moctezuma (the last Aztec Empress), Pedro Moctezuma, and Mariana Leonor Moctezuma.

On 30 June 1520, Emperor Moctezuma II died of mysterious circumstances. Queen Tlapalizquixochtzin perished shortly afterwards, on 1 July 1520, while trying to escape Tenochtitlan during the Night of Sorrows. The deaths of her parents left Princess Francisca Moctezuma an orphan.[7] She was left in the care of her older half-sister, Isabel Moctezuma, who became the Empress of two Aztec Emperors, Cuitlahuac and Cuauhtémoc.[8] After the death of the last Aztec Emperor in 1525, Princess Francisca was sent to Ecatepec to be raised by her maternal aunt named Princess Tlacuilolxotzin and uncle named Tecocomoctli Aculnahuacatzintli.[9] They had two sons named Don Diego de Alvarado Huanitzin (the former King of Ecatepec) and Francisco Matlaccoatzin, who went to Spain.[10] Therefore, Princess Francisca Moctezuma did not interact with the Spanish conquistadors.[11] This is why the Spanish did not award her with any towns.[12]

Princess Francisca Moctezuma eventually married her first cousin, Don Diego de Alvarado Huanitzin.[13] He became the first governor of Tenochtitlan from 1538 until his death in 1541.[14] They had many children.[15] Among them are Juana de Alvarado, Cristóbal de Guzmán Cecetzin (who later became the third governor of Tenochtitlan), and Isabel (who later married Antonio Valeriano). Yet, the most famous of Princess Francisca Moctezuma’s children was Hernando Alvarado Tezozomoc, the historian who wrote the chronicle Cronica Mexicayotl.[16] There is no record of how and when Princess Francisca Moctezuma died.

Princess Francisca Moctezuma remains the least known of Emperor Moctezuma II’s recorded daughters because of her less frequent interactions with the Spanish. The Spanish conquistadors did not give her an inheritance like her other half-sisters. Despite not being an heiress, Princess Francisca Moctezuma became one of the most respected and prominent women in Mexico. She was the wife of a former king and the first governor of Tenochtitlan. Some of her children would also become prominent members of Mexican history. After the fall of the Aztec Empire, Princess Francisca Moctezuma managed to have a successful life under the Spanish regime.

Sources:

Chimalpahin Cuauhtlehuanitzin, D. F. D.  S. A. M., Chimalpahin, D. D., & Ruwet, W. (1997). Codex Chimalpahin: Society and politics in Mexico Tenochtitlan, Tlateloloco, Texcoco, Culhuacan, and other Nahua Altepetl in Central Mexico : the Nahuatl and Spanish annals and accounts. (A. J. O. Anderson, Ed. & Trans.; S. Schroeder, Ed. & Trans.). United Kingdom: University of Oklahoma Press.

Chipman, D. E. (2010). Moctezuma’s Children: Aztec Royalty Under Spanish Rule, 1520–1700. (n.p.): University of Texas Press.

Kalyuta, A. (January 30, 2010). “Doña Isabel de Moctezuma: the emperor’s favourite daughter?”. Aztecs at Mexicolore. Retrieved on 30 January 2023 from https://www.mexicolore.co.uk/aztecs/moctezuma/last-mexica-princess-1.

Myers, K. A. (2015). In the Shadow of Cortés: Conversations Along the Route of Conquest. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press.

Townsend, C. (2019). Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs. United States: Oxford University Press.


[1] Townsend, 2019

[2] Kalyuta, 30 January 2010, “Doña Isabel de Moctezuma: the emperor’s favourite daughter?”

[3] Townsend, 2019

[4] Kalyuta, 30 January 2010, “Doña Isabel de Moctezuma: the emperor’s favourite daughter?”

[5] Chimalpahin Cuauhtlehuanitzin, et al., 1997

[6] Chipman, 2005

[7] Townsend, 2019

[8] Kalyuta, 30 January 2010, “Doña Isabel de Moctezuma: the emperor’s favourite daughter?”

[9] Townsend, 2019

[10] Chimalpahin Cuauhtlehuanitzin, et al., 1997

[11] Townsend, 2019

[12] Townsend, 2019

[13] Townsend, 2019

[14] Townsend, 2019

[15] Kalyuta, 30 January 2010, “Doña Isabel de Moctezuma: the emperor’s favourite daughter?”

[16] Myers, 2015






About Lauralee Jacks 171 Articles
I am a former elementary teacher in Tennessee. I have a bachelor’s degree in Liberal and Civic Studies from St. Mary’s College of California, a master’s in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the College of Saint Mary. Because my family are from East Asia, I have a passion for historical Chinese and Korean television shows. I always wanted to separate fact from fiction in dramas. Writing articles from History of Royal Women gives me a chance to dig deeper and explore these royal women as they might have been in real life. Also, it gives me a chance to look at the history and culture of where my family originated. I love researching East Asian royalty because they rarely get enough attention in the West often being overshadowed by European royalty. I find these royal women to be just as fascinating and their stories deserve to be told. Thus, I am excited to write for History of Royal Women!

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