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.