Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.
A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

The House of Moctezuma

Noble Descendants of the Aztec Emperor

The last Emperor of the Aztecs, Moctezuma II (usually anglicised as ‘Montezuma’) suffered an ignominious end: defeated by the Spanish, some accounts have him being stoned by his former subjects, while others claim he died of starvation, refusing to eat food not worthy of an emperor, still more claim Cortés had him killed. Many of his descendants embraced Christianity and found favour from Mexico’s new overlord, the King of Spain.

The fallen leader’s daughter, Doña Isabel Moctezuma Techichpotzin Ixcaxochitzin (Her two latter Nahuatl names meaning “Lord’s Daughter” and “cotton-flower”), was known for her excessive generosity to the Augustinian friars, to the extent that she was actually asked to stop donating.

Moctezuma II’s son, Don Pedro de Moctezuma Tlacahuepan Ihualicahuaca also embraced Christianity and his son (M2’s grandson) Don Diego Luis de Moctezuma Ihuitl Temoc moved to Spain. Don Diego Luis’s son Don Pedro Tesifón de Moctezuma y de la Cueva was created Count of Moctezuma by Philip IV of Spain in 1627. In 1766, the holder of this title was named a Grandee of Spain.

In 1865 this line of descent was further honoured by being elevated to Duke of Moctezuma by Isabella II of Spain. The current head of this branch of the House of Moctezuma is Juan José Marcilla de Teruel-Moctezuma y Jiménez, 5th Duke of Moctezuma de Tultengo, 15th Marquis of Tenebrón and Viscount of Ilucán.

Another daughter of Moctezuma II, Princess Xipaguacin Moctezuma, married Juan de Grau, Baron of Toleriu and died in Toleriu in 1537. Her descendants compose the noble house of Grau-Moctezuma de Toleriu which continues today.

Among the other Spanish nobles who count the blood of Moctezuma II in their veins are the Dukes of Ahumada, the Dukes of Abrantes, the Counts de la Enjarada, and the Counts of Miravalle. The last family were granted life pensions by the Kingdom of Spain in 1550, which continued to be paid by the government of Mexico until 1934 when the administration under President Abelardo L. Rodríguez suspended the payments.

This post was published on Sunday, October 24th, 2010 10:00 pm. It has been categorised under Heraldry Mexico Monarchy Nobility Spain and been tagged under , , , , , .
Juan Lopes de Haro
25 Oct 2010 4:41 am

I like that “suspended”! And did not even Franco “un-suspend” them?

Andrew Cusack
25 Oct 2010 8:46 am

From the Mexican Revolution (1910–1929) until the 1990s, Mexico was basically a one-party state with a revolutionary inspiration, and as such it refused to recognise the Spanish government for the whole of the Franco era.

So, alas, the Spanish descendants had no recourse to challenge the suspension when it was enacted in 1934, and unfortunately were not wise enough to take up the case when diplomatic relations were restored in the 1970s.

From 2003 onwards, however, the Acosta (in Mexico) and Miravalle (in Spain) families have been engaged in legal appeals to get the Mexican government to restore payment of the pensions.

Juan Lopes de Haro
25 Oct 2010 9:12 am

Good for them. I hope they will have the same success in seeing their just claims recognised as have so many Bohemian noble families in recent years.
By the way, that would be a good subject for a future series of postings. You might begin with Karel Schwarzenberg and go on to the Lobkowitz and Colloredo Mansfeld princes (the latter have had some 80,000 acres of forest returned to their stewardship, as well as a palace over forty bays long.

K. Dontoh
28 Oct 2010 4:14 pm

Well I’m sure that was the least of their problems, considering Mexico had a murderous athestic regime from 1924 to 1935.

And restoring property is lovely, but when shall we see these houses restored to their thrones?

Michael D. Castro
7 Nov 2010 12:49 am

The Spaniards crushed the Aztec empire, dethroned Moctezuma, and took Mexican gold and silver to Spain (which was mined with the forced labor of the indigenous peoples, I might add)… The Moctezumas married only Spanish spouses (at least the lines with pensions being “owed” to them) and many live in Spain. Why should Mexico have to pay anything to them? How about the government in Madrid? The King of Spain is who owes the family, not Mexico… I find that ridiculous.

Baron v Hetterscheidt
8 Nov 2010 12:42 pm

“The Spaniards crushed the Aztec empire.” So they did, and God undoubtedly both inspired them to do so, and blessed them for their success. No more satanic empire has ever existed under the sun.
Our Lady of Guadalupe’s appearance to Juan Diego sealed the new covenant between a people liberated from false gods and the true God the Spanish literally brought to them in the true and efficacious Sacrifice of the Mass.

Michael D. Castro
22 Nov 2010 2:40 am

To Baron v Hetterscheidt:

While there is no doubt I share your view that God had a plan to further his Kingdom, your comments hardly address the issues at hand. A second reading of my comments may be of help to you.

No “more satanic empire”…? You must know something about Germany, no? And if it is the True God you seek, no need for Our Lady, look to the Son.

Henrik Count Holstein (Denmark)
27 Aug 2014 5:54 pm


We should be able to discuss these issues in a gentlemanly way. While one should not get trapped in evaluating historic events with todays standards, it seems fair to conclude that the brutality of the Aztecs – my own ancestors – was very much contributing to getting Cortez the allies, who enabled him to conquer Tenochtitlan. However,nor was the behaviour of the indisputably gold-hungering Christians an ornament to their religion and culture. Luckily, it is all remote history – remote in the sense that it is irrepairable, irreversable. This should enable us to approach the issue in a impassionate fashion.

To the fun part: I – a Dane of mostly Danish and German ancestry – descend from Doña Isabel de Moctezuma through the Barragáns. My grandmother’s grandmother was Elena Barragán. When her uncle, Miguel Barragán, became Mexican president (1835-38), people said:”Now the blood of Moctezuma again rules Mexico” – a much larger Mexico, by the way.

Kind regards,
Henrik Holstein

John George Archer
2 Sep 2014 5:55 am

Thank you Holstein,

For bringing all this commentary to its senses. Oh, and that delightful bit of family history. Perhaps not delightful, but an interest button went off somewhere in the grey-matter.

Recently, an exhibit at Melbourne Museum featuring the Aztec, seemed to utterly confirm the goriness of that era (and now confirmed here also).

Although I now regret not having a peep; I did down an Aztec-themed chill-infused hot-chocolate, at one of its cafes. You may be aware that exhibit-themed cafes are now infuriatingly ubiquitous.

A beating-heart themed dish would have at least shown someone had a -depleted – sense of humour!

John George Archer
2 Sep 2014 5:57 am

… or, perhaps it was CHILLI-infused after all.

Gil ramirez
5 Oct 2014 2:52 pm

Looking for any information on Petronila de Moctezuma and Martin Navarro de Gabay

James Francis MacGregor
25 Sep 2015 6:27 pm

This is a very lively debate.

11 May 2016 2:40 am

Regarding PETRONILA DE MOCTEZUMA that was born about 1550, many people have published she was the daughter of Diego Arias de Sotelo and Leonor Valderrama Moctezuma, but I guess that’s not true. It’s more possible to have been daughter of DON PEDRO DE MOCTEZUMA, that it seems he had many children. In fact, PETRONILA is the Female Name Form of PEDRO. So PETRONILA DE MOCTEZUMA was a Daughter of don PEDRO DE MOCTEZUMA??





Simon Tuchman
2 Dec 2016 1:23 am

Andrew! I just googled ‘Duke of Moctezuma’ and was so surprised to see your name pop up in the results. This is more informative than the wikipedia article, and I get to say hello to an old friend. Hope you’re doing well.

Michelle Gomez
19 Feb 2017 4:31 am

In response to Alfonso Gonzalez no Petronila was not the daughter of Pedro, she was the daughter of Leonor de Valderrama and Diego de Sotelo. She is my ancestor actually. One of Petronila’s brother’s even settled in Michoacan and many of Petronila’s descendants such as myself are from Jalisco as many of the family members were all from Zacatecas, Aguascalientes and Jalisco and some consisting in Michoacan. They are all close to proximity to each other. Isabel de Moctezuma’s children also settled in Zacatecas and Jalisco and Aguascalientes or left for New Mexico. I hope that it answered your question.

30 Dec 2017 8:56 pm

Was Xipaguacin Moctezuma the mother of Leonor de Valderrama? If not, who was Leonor’s mother?

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