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Tzilacatzin as depicted in the Florentine Codex.

Tzilacatzin was a Tlatelolca warrior. A member of the Otomi or Otontin warrior class, he became famous as a hero during the Siege of Tenochtitlan.

Bernardino de Sahagún's Tlatelolca informants describe that during the siege Spanish brigantines led by Pedro de Alvarado landed on the island where Tlatelolco was situated. Initially the warriors did not dare attack them but Tzilacatzin who was strong of arm killed several Spaniards by throwing stones at them, the Spaniards focused their fire on him but he cleverly evaded it and proceeded to disguise as a common soldier in order to not attract attention.[1] At other times he fought without armor or head protection in order to intimidate the Spaniards with his valor.

Later when brigantines landed in the district called Xocotitlan, they were forced to return to the boats and flee by Tzilacatzin and his men,[2] he is also described as one of only three warriors not being fearful when confronted by the Spanish invaders.


  1. ^ Lockhart 1993 p. 202
  2. ^ Lockhart 1993 p. 211


León-Portilla, Miguel (1992) [1959]. The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico. Ángel María Garibay K. (Nahuatl-Spanish trans.), Lysander Kemp (Spanish-English trans.), Alberto Beltran (illus.), foreword by J. Jorge Klor de Alva. (Expanded and updated pbk ed.). Boston, MA: Beacon Press. ISBN 0-8070-5501-8. OCLC 59935413. 
Lockhart, James (1993). We People Here: Nahuatl Accounts of the Conquest of Mexico. Repertorium Columbianum, vol. 1. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07875-6. OCLC 24703159.  (in English) (in Spanish) (in Nahuatl)