Barbara Waugh Properties

Aztec History of Cuernavaca

As with many cities in México, Cuernavaca is not the original name it began its history with, and like many cities the name it has today is a Spanish adaptation of the original Aztec name.

By selecting Cuernavaca as a place or live or own a second home, you are in the company of Aztec emperors, Spanish conquistadors, French governors and countless other historical figures and notables who have selected this place for their retreat.

During the time of the Aztecs (The Spanish conquest occurred in 1519) Cuernavaca was knows as Quaunáhuac, which means “among the trees” in the original Aztec language called Nahuatl. Even during the time of the Aztec rulers, ‘Quaunáhuac’ was recognized as having extraordinarily mild and consistent climate. One of the last Aztec rulers, Motecuzóma, even had a country estate built in Cuernavaca because the weather and surroundings were so beautiful.

When the Spanish arrived and destroyed the Aztec empire, they changed the name to Cuernavaca, Spanish for “horn of the cow”…which is substantially less glamorous than “among the trees”! However one thing they did not fail to recognize is the wonderful climate the Aztecs celebrated. Cortés subsequently build a palace in Cuernavaca that still stands at the center of town completely intact to this day.

As you might know, the Spanish were finally thrown out of Mexico in the early 1800’s, only to be immediately replaced by the French. Incidentally, that is why Mexico has such wonderful bread and pastries; the French brought over the art of cooking these delicacies and it has remained ever since. At that time a governor named Maximilian was appointed by Napoleon to run Mexico, and Maximilian chose none other than Cuernavaca as the location for his country estate. Maximilian’s country estate still survives to this day, restored to former glory along with its massive gardens.

Today Cuernavaca is a city of over one million people and is the single most luxurious retreat for the wealthy and powerful of Mexico City – a city of almost twenty million people. It is equivalent to the Hamptons for New York, Palm Desert for Los Angeles, or Napa Valley for San Francisco.

Come join us!