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Cholula is a small city in the state of Puebla, Mexico. The legal, though little used, full name of the city is Cholula de Rivadavia.
Cholula is located at 19.06°N, 98.31°W, about 15 km west of the city of Puebla, at an approximate elevation of 2135 meters (about 7000 ft) above sea level. The population of the city is somewhat less than 100,000 people as of 2004.
Cholula was an important city of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, dating back to at least the 2nd century BCE, with settlement as a village going back at least some thousand years earlier. It was later the second largest city of the Aztec empire.
Cholula was a major center contemporary with Teotihuacan and period. Cholula thus remained a regional center of importance, enough so that, at the time of the fall of the Aztec empire, Aztec princes were still formally anointed by a Cholulan priest, in a manner reminiscent, and perhaps even analogous, to the way some Mayan princes appear to have come to Teotihuacan in search of some sort of formalization of their rulership.
At the time of the arrival of Hernán Cortés Cholula was part of the Aztec empire and was second only to the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan (modern Mexico City) as the largest city in central Mexico, possibly with a population of up to 100,000 people. In addition to the great temple of Quetzalcoatl and various palaces, the city had 365 temples.
In 1519 Cortés, either in a pre-meditated effort to instill fear upon the Aztecs waiting for him at Tenochtitlan or (as he later claimed when under investigation) wishing to make an example when he feared native treachery, conducted an infamous massacre here, killing thousands of unarmed members of the nobility gathered at the central plaza and partially burning down the city.
A few years later Cortés vowed that the city would be rebuilt with a Christian church to replace each of the old pagan temples; less than 50 new churches were actually built, but the Spanish colonial churches are unusually numerous for a city of its size.
During the Spanish Colonial period Cholula was overtaken in importance by the nearby city of Puebla.
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This city is also known as: Cholula.