General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 22 Nov 2017/7 Movement
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Gold ingot

Aztec/Mexica gold melted down by the Spanish in the shape of an ingot

Gold ingot, 1519-20, length 26.2 cms., National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.

Having forced Moctezuma II to hand over his huge treasure trove during their 7-month stay in Tenochtitlan, the Spanish invaders melted the gold treasure down into slightly bent bars weighing around one kilo each so that they could be easily transported - strapped to soldiers’ bodies. Forced to abandon the city during the ‘Sad Night’ (30 June 1520), several hundred Spaniards - along with the treasure - were killed by Mexica warriors and ended up ditched in Lake Texcoco. Some 500 years later, this is one of the lost gold ingots only recently recovered at the site of the conflict.

Adapted from ‘Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler’ Eds. Colin McEwan and Leonardo López Luján, British Museum Press, 2009, p. 276.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore