Maximo and Bartola were born microcephalic. They were originally from the village of Decora in St. Salvador and entered history in 1848, the year the US-Mexico war ended and thousands of miles of Mexican lands were seceded to the US.

 

There are two stories of their existence. The first taken from a 48 page fictional memoir published in 1850, recalling an eventful expedition in Central America; resulting in the discovery of the idolatrous city of Iximaya, in an unexplored region; and the possession of two remarkable Aztec children, descendants and specimens of the sacerdotal caste, (now nearly extinct,) of the ancient Aztec founders of the ruined temples of that country. Here Pedro Velasquez recounts the travels to a world unknown, the Aztec lands in Mexico. It is here where he finds the last two Aztecs alive, Maximo and Bartola.

 

The second story, recounted in some encyclopedias follows the travels of Ramon Selva, a Spanish trader, who while in a village in San Salvador, found the two teenage children and saw money in their curious disposition and weight. After negotiating with their family he promised to bring them to America and cure their microphelia.

 

Maximo and Bartola never returned to St Salvador. Instead, they were exhibited throughout the world as Curiosities: as the last Aztecs to breath. As relics of a lost civilization, Maximo and Bartola toured with P.T. Barnum for decades, and were renamed The Aztec Wonders. During and after their lifetime, their base material existence helped promote phrenology and other psuedoscientific systems of belief and aesthetics like surrealism.

 

Excerpt from an article by John M. Rivera titled Aztec Children

 


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