LEGEND OF THE MEXICAN EAGLE. ~ Device on the Flag Comes From an Aztec Tradition.

December 21, 1908

Device on the Flag Comes From an
Aztec Tradition.

American people take things very nearly as they find them, and avoid asking unnecessary questions if the subject under discussion does not directly concern them. In Mexico it is different, according to Jose Dosal, representing that country as consul to Kansas City.

"A Mexico City boy wants to know the meaning of every stripe in the American flag as soon as it is shown to him the first time. What is the meaning of Chicago, Michigan, Nebraska? He takes a keen interest in the names and the symbols. In our country there are many beautiful legends woven about commonplace names. The eagle on the central field of the flag has a history that is semi-mythological and very romantic. Many of the great streets of the capital have gruesome tales connected with their names, which suggest them."

Mr. Dosal then told t he story of the origin of the eagle device in the Mexican flag. Only a few hundred years after the Christian era, the Aztec tribes started on a long journey south from some point, probably now in the United States.. They traveled year after year, stopping a season at a time to cultivate crops. Finally they arrived in the beautiful valley of Mexico.

At a spot not far from the present site of the capitol the Aztec emperor consulted the astrologers and was told to follow the flight of the first eagle seen from the camp to its first resting place, and there build the city.

One day an eagle was sighted. Scouts were detailed to follow the bird and in the middle of Lake Texcoco they saw it light on a cactus growing on an island. When the scouts approached they saw it held in its talons a snake, which it was devouring.

The device of an eagle eating a snake, profile,, was adopted as the Aztec coat of arms by Montezuma II. The Mexican republic likewise adopted the eagle and the snake to use on its flag, making the picture face view. The present flag of Mexico was adopted by the Cura Miguel Hidalgo y Costello, at 11 o'clock, night, September 15, 1810. There is a story told to the effect that the colors were suggested by an Italian in the rebel army, who made them the same as those of his native country.