• top frame 
  • Coloured drawing depicting the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards; part of an illustrated codex depicting the history of Tlaxcala.
  • Magnifying Glass

Conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards.
Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz/Art Resource, NY

Central and South America


Along with the arrival of the Spanish in the New World came horses. The mounted conquistadors used heavy, large stirrups in the shape of the cross called mitras, named after a bishop's mitre. Francisco Lopez de Gomarea, writing in the early 16th century noted that these heavy stirrups were also used as weapons to crush opponents in battle. This particular type of stirrup fell from use after the Bishop of Cuidad Real de Chiapa in Mexico complained to King Carlos III of Spain in 1778 that their resemblance to a bishop's mitre was profane.