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Mexico - Pre-Hispanic flags

Last modified: 2001-08-02 by juan manuel gabino villascán
Keywords: mexico | olmec | aztec | maya | labaro | cortés |
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Flag of Atzacoalco

The flag of Atzacoalco was a kind of big umbrella made of feathers, in gold, carried by the army general. Cuepopan’s standard was composed by three white flags, atzapamitl, bond together and with Quetzal feathers that belonged to the Tlacohcalcatl. The others are the standards of Moyotla and Zoquiapan.
Jorge Candeias, 27 Oct 1997, translating from La Bandera Mexicana website

Aztec army flags

Each squadron of the Mexica army had a leader, called tepuchtlato. The warriers in each calpulli elected their leader, and to be differentiated in battle, the leader carried on his back the flag of its calpulli; to be further dirrerentiated, the ichcahuipilli covered themselves in feathers of different colour, besides the flag or pantli, so that if the ones in one squadron carried white and red feathers, the ones in other squadrons had them in blue and yellow or in other combinations. The leaders of the mexica Army had their special standard or flag with more or less charges according to their rank.
Jorge Candeias, 27 Oct 1997, translating from La Bandera Mexicana website

Historical importance of a lábaro

The people of Hernan Cortés, after the Sad Night, already retrieving towards Tlaxcala, arrived at July 7, 1520 to the plain between Otumba and Ajapuxco. When they arrived, faced about 200 000 Aztec Warriors. The battle was hard, and at about noon both the Spaniards and their Tlaxcaltec allies, began to leave Cortés. But he knew through Malinche many Aztec ways and charged on the leader of the aztec army, pushing him with the horse, making him fall to the ground. When he did so, Juan de Salamanca, one of the captains of Cortés steped down from his horse and took the lábaro. The warriers, seing their leader in the ground and their flag taken, considered the battle lost and started to retreat.
Jorge Candeias, 27 Oct 1997, translating from La Bandera Mexicana website

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