Page:Appleton's Guide to Mexico.djvu/144

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
116
GENERAL INFORMATION.

pycietl by the ancient Mexicans, was known to them before the Conquest. They were in the habit of smoking pipes and taking snuff. The Government derives a large revenue from the sale of tobacco. Mexico consumes about $18,000,000 worth of it annually.

Tobacco is not exported in considerable quantities, but Mexican cigars are generally found in New York and a few of the larger cities of the United States. (Vide chapter on agriculture for an account of the tobacco-culture.)

 

 

XXXVI.

Manufactures.

When the Spaniards invaded Mexico, in 1519, they found the Aztecs possessed manufactures of considerable merit. The latter wore escaupil—a kind of armor made of quilted cotton, thick enough to be impenetrable to the light missiles of aboriginal warfare. The wealthier chiefs, however, sometimes donned a cuirass made of thin plates of gold or silver, and wooden helmets.

Soon after his arrival at Vera Cruz, Cortes sent cotton fabrics as presents to the Emperor Charles V. Historians tell us that cotton was perhaps grown, but certainly manufactured, in Mexico as early as in any other civilized country. The Spanish chroniclers of the time state, that the Aztecs made large webs as fine and delicate as those of Holland; that they wore cloths of different figures and colors, representing various animals and flowers; that feathers oftentimes made a part of the texture; that they manufactured mantles, gowns, and bed-curtains; and that a handsome cloth was also manufactured by taking the finest hair of the rabbit and spinning it into thread, after which it was interwoven with cotton.