One of Mexico’s 32 states / federal entities, Tlaxcala sits just east of Mexico City. Its capital city is also called Tlaxcala. The city came first, in colonial times, but it was named for an Indigenous republic that allied itself to the invading Spanish:

Tlaxcallan.

The people of Tlaxcallan lived mainly in and around four allied city-states. The first to be settled was Tepeticpac Texcallan, “on the summit, amid the crags.” And for a time, “Texcallan” was what the region under its control was called.

“Place amid the crags.”

As years passed, three more cities were established nearby: Ocotelolco, Tizatlan…

David Bowles

A Mexican-American author and translator from deep South Texas, David Bowles teaches literature and Nahuatl at the University of Texas Río Grande Valley.

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