Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/433

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THE ROYAL BANNER OF HERNANDO CORTEZ.

have no doubt, that they were about on par with them in intelligence and civilization.

In the next room we saw the identical royal banner of Spain, which Cortez unfolded before the eyes of the astonished and delighted Tlaxcalan emissaries at San Juan de Ulloa, and which, after the conquest of Mexico; he presented to the city of Tlaxcala in acknowledgement of the eminent services rendered by the Tlaxcalans, in overthrowing the old Aztec Empire. Though three hundred and forty years have passed away since it was unfurled on the shore of Mexico, it' is almost perfect to-day. It is some nine or ten feet long, and six broad "and swallow tailed" in pattern. The material is rich, heavy, silk brocade, originally of a light "maroon" or possibly "ashes of roses" color, and not badly faded. The cords and tassels and the points of the banner are a little frayed and worn, but not badly so. The Shield with the royal coat of arms, the two castles, and two lions rampant, is embroidered in red, on yellow silk, and sewed upon the upper right hand corner of the, banner. The iron open-work spear-head with the monogram of the sovereigns of Spain in the center, once gilded, and the broken staff on which the banner was carried, are still with it. Vast sums have been offered for this old banner to be carried back to Spain, but the city of Tlaxcala has steadily refused to part with it at any price.

Then we were shown numerous old banners, including those of the ancient city and Republic of Tlaxcala before the Spanish conquest, very rude and very curious, and numberless manuscripts of great age and interest. One of these old illuminated manuscripts, is an authenticated translation of the original Indian docu-