An Immaculate Deception

The colonialist roots of La Virgen de Guadalupe

A man crawls during the annual pilgrimage to Tepeyak. Photo by Eman Kazemi / Alamy Stock Photo

“The beginning of the last preaching of the gospel on the eve of the end of the world.”

Figure 1. The three Ages of Joachim of Fiore

“Aside from her association with a traditionally sacred space, her female gender, and her reputed powers over natural forces, the Mexican Guadalupe was an eminently European image that had little meaning for the native worshipper.”

Figure 2. La Virgen de Guadalupe, Extremadura, Spain.
Figure 3. Virgen de la Conquista del Estandarte o Pendon de Hernan Cortes. Museo del Castillo de Chapultepec, Cdad. de México, D.F.
Figure 4. La Virgen of Guadalupe: Tilma Image, Marcos Cipac de Aquino, 16th century
Oil and Tempera on Cloth, Basilica de Guadalupe, Mexico D. F.

“A woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”

Figure 4. Virgen del Coro, Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Extremadura, Spain c 1499
Figure 5. The Madonna and Child in a Rosary, ca. 1490
Figure 6. Detail of “The Assumption of the Virgin,” Ambrogio di Stefano da Fossano, c 1500

“The Virgin’s apocalyptic iconography embodied all the components of the creole program: to verify the miraculous apparitions of Guadalupe as an American phenomenon, to justify the conquest, and to glorify Mexico”

Miguel Hidalgo, issuing his famous “Grito de Dolores.”


(Chicano/Nawa/Mazewalli) Archaeologist, filmmaker, and founder of the Chimalli institute of Mesoamerican Arts. Professor of C/S at Colegio Chicano del Pueblo.

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