Searching the Relaciones Geográficas
To Europeans, empire meant domesticating New World nature. To understand his newly acquired American territories, King Philip II (1527-1598) of Spain ordered a series of geographic and culture questionnaires. Local administrators of European, mixed, and indigenous origins completed these questionnaires in the late 1570's and 1580's.
These relaciones are precious documents, acquired in a moment of transition as last of Nahua elders could shed light on life prior to European colonization. They are replete with descriptions of local flora, fauna, and history, as well as occasional paintings and maps by indigenous artists. Our searchable database of the relaciones corpus integrates a mapping tool to trace the circulation of key plants, animals, medicine, people, and ideas throughout colonial Latin America.