History Time! Soy Xicoténcatl

The Disturbance of San Francisco del Rincón is considered an important precedent of the Mexican War of Independence that freed Mexico (and California) from Spanish rule. San Francisco del Rincón also happens to be my family’s town, so it is something I’ve research and thought about.

Around March 17, 1755, the Indigenous people of my town rose up and liberated their town from Spanish colonialists. After three days, the Native insurgents were defeated and taken captive by the colonial Spanish forces.

The following verses (with my translation) were written on a card taken from the defeated insurgents. An eagle was drawn on the card.

Soy Xicoténcatl el fuerte,
de Tlaxcala general,
y aunque agrio mi natural
me convencí a la razón:
con que logré galardón
de acompañar a Cortés
con mi ejército;
y pues es mi nobleza tan notoria,
sirva este triunfo de gloria
y digna memoria de...

I am Xicoténcatl the Strong
from Tlaxcala general,
and though bitter my liegemen
I convinced through reason:
that reward was achieved
to accompany Cortés
with my army;
and so is my nobility renown,
may this glorious victory
and deserving memory of...

Xicoténcatl was a Tlaxcallan general who fought and defeated the Spanish when they were on their way to Mexihco Tenochtitlan in the early 1520s. His mention implies not only an acquaintance with the Conquest and its actors, but also an association with one perspective of Native politics. It is regretful that the full text of the card did not survive the Disturbance.

Relevant to the Bay Area, the Disturbance occurred only a few years after the arrival of Junípero Serra to the region, in the Sierra Gorda. It would be interesting to find if it impacted his policies in the California missions.