On 18 December 1696, José Sarmiento de Valladares, the Count of Moctezuma, arrived in Mexico City, where he would begin his tenure as viceroy of the kingdom of New Spain.1 As the representative and alter ego of the Spanish king Charles II (r. 1665–1700), he would govern a vast territory extending from the Isthmus of Panama northward into parts of what is today the United States, and reaching across the Pacific to the Philippine Islands. In Mexico City, New Spain's seat of governance, he would reside in a palace facing onto the Plaza Mayor with his wife, María Andrea de Guzmán, their children, and some of the...

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