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Fernando Sotelo Moctezuma was the son of Diego Arias de Sotelo and Leonor de Valderrama y Moctezuma, maternal grandson the conquistador Cristóbal de Valderrama and Leonor de Moctezuma*, one of the children of Moctezuma II, Emperor of the Aztecs.

The document presented below was palaeographed by yours truly. Said document was written and presented while Fernando Sotelo Moctezuma was mayor of the province of Zacatula, Michoacán in the New Spain.

“Don Fernando Sotelo Moctezuma. Presento ante mí un mandamiento de Vuestra Señoría Ilustrísima en que pide se le haga merced de dos sitios de estancia para ganado menor en términos del pueblo de Tarímbaro y en su cumplimiento fui a las partes y lugares donde el susodicho los pide. Citados a ello los naturales del dicho pueblo y las demás personas que en alguna manera podían recibir perjuicios y todos respondieron no les venir daño de que se le haga merced de ellos. Son el un sitio de ganado donde nombran Cuparátaro antiguo que al presente está despoblado sin vivienda a medida de una estancia de ganado menor poblada de García Álvarez Guillén que nombran Tzanbatziro al poniente y el otro sitio es donde viven en Santa Catalina que por mortandad están despoblados los dichos pueblos y están más de tres leguas del pueblo de Tarímbaro.

Recibí cinco testigos de oficio los cuales declaran poder, ser y hacer merced al dicho don Fernando Sotelo de los dichos dos sitios para ganado menor y por no haber contradicción no recibí información de parte como todo consta de las diligencias y zintura** que Vuestra Señoría Ilustrísima se ha servido de mandar ver y de que se le haga merced al dicho don Fernando Sotelo de los dichos dos sitios de estancia de ganado menor y no ver daño ni perjuicio a Su Majestad ni a otro tercero español ni naturales por ser tierra desocupada para ello y en parte donde caben muy bien, los dichos sitios donde se dice en Santa Catalina caen un poco más al norte y así lo juro a Dios y a la Santa Cruz en forma de dicho oficio. A cinco de agosto en noventa y un años (1591)”.

Summary in English: Dated in 1591 this document was presented to Fernando Sotelo regarding the two land areas he requested the Viceroy Luis de Velasco y Castilla. The land areas are classified as “estancias de ganado menor” which are defined as squares whose sides are 3333 1/3 varas  2793,33 meters. The area of a estancia de ganado menor is  780 hectares. The envoy of the Viceroy went directly to oversee the land areas that would be located near the town of Tarímbaro. He requested the presence of the naturales (the natives) and other inhabitants to declare if the presence of the estancias would be motive of perjury to any of them. All of them replied that it was not the case. The two land areas would be located in a former sitio de ganado formerly known as “Old Curapátaro” and that was presently unoccupied and that at a distance of a estancia de ganado menor to the west there is a populated estancia de ganado menor named Tzanbatziro, property of García Álvarez Guillén. Another land is mentioned named Santa Catalina, north of the two estancias de ganado menor. It is understood that this land was previously inhabited and because of the current level of mortality is being unoccupied. This land was at a distance of three leagues from Tarímbaro. The envoy received five witnesses that declared that there was no issue in the process of granting the two sitios de ganado menor to Fernando Sotelo Moctezuma.

* Leonor had another sister called María who lived with her and her husband Cristóbal de Valderrama in 1532. María requested an encomienda to be able to marry the nobleman Arias Girón. The projected marriage was not verified and did not proceed. She died single and without children.

** De acinturar – referring to the measurement of lands and in particular to the emphasis of their limits.

Note: There is a widely known hypothesis surrounding Fernando Sotelo Moctezuma. It is said that one of his sisters was a lady called Petronila de Moctezuma. One evening, many years ago, Guillermo Tovar de Teresa called me. Our phone conversations usually lasted hours and covered diverse themes: from genealogy to philosophy to simple matters and they almost always included a good laugh. One day we talked about Petronila de Moctezuma and he said that there was a document in the Archivo General de la Nación regarding the properties of Fernando Sotelo Moctezuma and in said document, a Petronila was named. Then Guillermo was very clear in what he said next: “Pero quién sabe si es la nuestra” (But who knows if she is our ancestor). Guillermo told me that I was the first person he told this. Then I mentioned it would be a good idea to call Mariano González-Leal. After Guillermo told him the same, Mariano decided to include the information in his book collection “Retoños de España en la Nueva Galicia” but without providing documentary references stating only that Guillermo would eventually provide them in a book he would write about the Sotelo Moctezuma. Unfortunately Guillermo passed away without writing said book.

I do not remember if Guillermo Tovar de Teresa said Petronila was mentioned as a sister of Fernando but making a mental effort trying to remember, I think he mentioned some houses belonging to a Petronila and other women meaning that according to the usual structure of colonial documents of properties the houses were mentioned to reference the surrounding limits of the properties of Fernando Sotelo Moctezuma. Therefore, said Petronila could be related…or not. If related, it is not even clear how they are connected. 

 

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