Ayapango, Mx. 1805-1816. ,194,pp. plus leaves 195-287 numbered rectos only, ending with one unnumbered page. Folio. Contemporary limp Mexican calf wallet- style binding, manuscript titles and illustrations on covers. Noticeable wear and rubbing to covers, small paper label reading "Libro=25" affixed to front cover. Some foxing and staining to text, contemporary or near-contemporary manuscript notations and ink drawing on rear pastedown. Quite clean internally. Very good. Item #WRCAM54956
A fascinating manuscript register recording the burials of almost 2,000 people in the colonial Mexican town of Ayapango and its surrounding villages. Most of the deceased are entered by name, with their race and at least an approximate age included; most are described as Indians. Each entry is signed by the local priest and in some cases the officiating priest also notes whether the deceased was intestate, or whether they were too poor to have last rites administered. Other circumstances of death are occasionally noted. One example is "Maria Josepha, india" who was buried on April 25, 1806, where it is noted that she did not make a will or receive the holy sacraments because her death was very sudden. The ledger is accomplished in several hands, owing to the fact that over a decade's worth of burials are recorded here. Along with the individual burial records, the text includes occasional summaries of the total burials carried out in a given month; these statistics are often organized by ethnicity. Most of the deceased here hailed from Ayapango, just southeast of Mexico City. Those from other towns were brought to Ayapango to be buried likely because the town was a "cabacera," which is the chief city of a province in Mexico. Such burials, for people from places like Chalma, Puxtla, and Centlalpan are recorded here. In addition to its genealogical value for including names and hometowns of the deceased, the present ledger is a trove of information for life in and around Ayapango in the late colonial period in Mexico. The ages of the deceased give insight into life expectancies; sadly many of the entries record the deaths of "párvulo," the Spanish word for "infant." The aforementioned information on the administration of last rites or the presence of a last will and testament provide a peek into the economic conditions in the area. In addition to the manuscript title on the first text leaf, the rear cover reads, in contemporary manuscript, LIBRO DE ENTIERROS DE TODOS CLACES. The rear pastedown includes a drawing of a figure on a pedestal bearing a banner that reminds us in Spanish that "Death finishes all," with a short poem on mortality beneath the drawing that contends that the poem is not intended to denigrate the dead. An important manuscript record of a central Mexican town towards the end of the Spanish colonial period, with rich value for statistical and social research.