The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 36
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
habitants. Above Zumpango there followed nine leagues of travel
through a barren plain, which Gemelli likened to "that of Tirol."
This brought the road to the Rio Mexcala, or Rio de las Balsas, as
it was called from the rafts on which travelers crossed, propelled by
swimming Indians. The next stop was at Tuspa, or Pueblo Nuevo,
as Gemelli knew it in 1698, a, village situated by a lake. Thence
the way led through a mountainous country for some twelve leagues
to another river at Puente de Ixtla, and beyond through a district
of wooded hills and Indian villages to the rich valley of Cuernavaca.
This favored region eontainel a large number of Spanish inhabi-
tants, and in it were situated the wide domains of the Marqu6s del
Valle, or the head of the Cort6z family. After the capital, this
was one of the best markets in all the viceroyalty for the goods
which the mule caravans brought that way from Acapulco. From
the brim of the ardent tierra calienle the road climbed onto the
great central plateau, over the encircling fringe of mountains and
through a large pine forest, from which it descended by the Subida
del Arenal into the Valley of Mexico. Thence it was a frequented
route across a cultivated plain by the village of San Agustin de
las Cuevas and the customs stations, to the causeway that led over
the lake to the gates of the capital.
Travel over the "China Road" was by mule-back, and little was
done to make it usable for wheeled traffic until the last years of
the galleon trade. After the discontinuance of the latter great
blocks of stone lay alongside the highway that was to have been."'
Conditions of travel were always very primitive. Accommodations
were few and discomforts were manifold.70 The arrieros, who
conducted the long trains of mules, camped in the fields or woods
with their charges. The ordinary traveler also spent the nights
on the way, lying "under the Canopy of Heaven,""71 unless he were
"Petit Thouars, Voyage autour du monde, II, 204.
7"Dificili et periculoso itinere, ob montium altitudinem petrarumque
aspera, frequentia item flumina, densissima nemora, incolarmnm dnclique
triste et humile ingenium, maxime autem ob eorundem infrequentiam.
. Viatores toto hoe itinere mirum in modum infadnnt a, a culi-
cibus, mosquitos voca nt Hispani." Laet, Novus Orbis (1633), 238.
71Gemelli, op. cit. One night a severe earthquake took place while Ge-
melli was lying in an open field near the River Balsas: and again while
he was sleeping among the pines .above Cuernavaca there was a fall of
snow, that covered his quilt, "by which," he says, "you may guess how
Hot I lay."
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919, periodical, 1919; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117156/m1/44/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.