rom 1574 until his death in Madrid in 1590, Don Diego de Torres,
hereditary chief or cacique of the Muisca town of Turmequé,
near Bogotá, fought a legal battle to regain the rights to his chief-
dom, taken from him by members of the Royal Court, or Audiencia,
in Santafé de Bogotá in a move to block his efforts to denounce the
multiple abuses that Spanish authorities had committed against the
indigenous population there. Don Diego, son of a Spanish conquista-
dor and the sister of the cacique of Turmequé, was a mestizo and an
educated, highly literate, and cosmopolitan colonial actor who pro-
duced innumerable legal petitions in impeccable Castilian Spanish, all
signed with a clear and precise hand.1 He was fully aware of the genres
through which he should formulate his various texts, and he was con-
versant enough in the laws of the Indies to address his needs and com-
plaints properly.2 Furthermore, he understood the need for graphic
representation as part of his presentation, perhaps in response to the
royal questionnaire known as the Relaciones Geográficas of 1571. In
his petition presented to the king in 1586, he includes two European-
style maps, made two years before (figures 1 and 2). They form an inte-
gral part of Don Diego’s document—he addresses Philip II directly, in
word and in image—that voices his hopes that the king would remedy
the abuses committed in the areas represented by the maps. One of
them represents the indigenous communities and the jurisdiction of
the Province of Tunja, in which Turmequé was situated; the other con-
figures the same for Santafé de Bogotá. These are the earliest carto-
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