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This year marks the quincentennial of the start of the Spanish-led invasion (1519-1521) responsible for the fall of the Mexica Empire in Mesoamerica. In the aftermath of this traumatic episode, Spaniards shattered old politico-religious hierarchies, dismantled or absorbed indigenous armies and conscripted the native elite to help further colonization.
Books played a central role in this process. Spanish missionaries, cosmographers, chroniclers, and physicians wrote major studies on botany, ethnography, navigation, indigenous languages, war, and history aided by capable, though often reluctant, indigenous informants. Native and mixed-race intellectuals penned their own historical accounts, natural histories, and cosmological studies, wrote poetry and plays, and composed lyrics and music in Nahuatl, Spanish, and Latin. Alphabetic writing spread to other parts of Mesoamerica where Nahua, Mixtec, Zapotec, and Maya scribes used it to write in their own languages petitions, will, claims, and other legal records associated with Iberian law.
During the sixteenth century, eight printers produced over 180 different books of various runs in the Viceroyalty of New Spain, the political jurisdiction built on the contours of the Mexica Empire. A majority of printed books centered on religious matter. They included catechisms, manuals for confession and the administration of sacraments, missals, religious chronicles, memories of religious congresses, sermons, hagiographies, pastoral letters, and autos de fe, transcriptions of inquisitorial courts where hundreds could be publicly tried at one time. Other types of works included treatises on mining, medicine, history, cosmography, agriculture, poetry, satire, and music. The following century, American-born Spaniards, known as criollos, took over the book printing industry in New Spain. During this period, about thirty printers made a over 1,800 different books, a number higher than the output of books produced in some major European cities.
The Love Family Letters have been digitized and are available in our digital repository.
The Tom B. Saunders Family Papers have been digitized and are available in our digital repository.
By an agreement concluded in 1991, the Van Cliburn Foundation transferred to Texas Christian University materials relating to the activities of the Foundation, together with the archives of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The professional Competition, first held in 1962, was created to commemorate Van Cliburn's sensational 1958 victory at the first Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Held at four-year intervals, the Competition offers a means by which the finest young concert pianists can perform before a global audience. The International Competition for Outstanding Amateurs now offers other accomplished pianists a worldwide stage.