Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/60

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self the crown of France, began to rule Tecpancaltzin, the eighth of the Toltec chiefs. We cannot tell what manner of court he held, whether rude or splendid. His territory stretched over large distances, and counted many flourishing cities, among them Teotihuacan, Cholollan, Cuernavaca, and Toluca.

Cuernavaca, "where the eagle stops," at an elevation of nearly five thousand feet above the sea, is built upon a headland projecting into a valley between two sharp barrancas. The region is richly watered, and produces now, as in the time of the Toltecs, abundant crops. Fruits also abound there. The winter climate is delightful. The place was captured by Cortés before he laid siege to the city of Mexico, It became his favorite resort, and the valley was included in the royal reward he received for his Mexican conquests. It was here that he began in Mexico the cultivation of the sugar-cane, and here the Conquistador passed the last years of his life. Traces of the ancient civilization are still to be seen. Behind a house in the town called the Casa de Cortés is a solitary rock upon which are prehistoric carvings; on the crest of a little hill near by is a lizard about eight feet long carved in stone. Eighteen miles from Cuernavaca are the ruins of Xochicalco, before mentioned.

Toluca is forty-five miles west of the city of Mexico, at an elevation of 8,600 feet above the level of the sea. The scenery all the way from Mexico is of the finest description. The two volcanoes which dominate the valley, covered with snow, are behind, and