The Cuauhtémoc Monument occupies the fifth of the Paseo de la Reforma ten glorietas. It’s probably the most thoroughly described simply because it’s been moved, twice. It was originally dedicated in 1887. Having been designed and elaborated only shortly before, it remains a prime example of Porfirian-era architecture and design.
The statue base is ringed with the names of Cuitlahuac, Cacama, Tetlepanquetzal, and Coanacoch. These were allies of Cuauhtémoc fighting against the Spanish invaders. Cuitlahuac, often credited with having celebrated the most significant victory over the Spanish and thus his name is the most prominent.
The sculpture is the work of the Mexico City artist, Miguel Noreña, (1843-1894). The larger monument was the work of an engineer, Francisco M. Jiménez. Construction began in 1877. The bronze statue was cast in August of 1883 to commemorate the anniversary of the 1521 fall of Tenochtitlan.
- The monument was moved in 1949 due to an expansion of the street and the modifications to the surrounding area. This was the Mario Pani-directed project which involved extensive changes. Most of these changes were never realized. However the famous Plaza Hotel, immediately north of the Monumento a la Madre plaza remains from that time. These 1949 plans pushed the monument to the southwest about 100 meters. Perhaps not entirely coincidentally, Pani’s first real project in the City is also visible from this same monument. Pani had, in 1936 completed the wildly extravagant Hotel Reforma at the next corner, at Calle Paris. The hotel had been begun by Carlos Obregón Santacilia who was also then finishing the Monument to the Revolution. But a falling out took place between Obregón and Pani’s uncle, Alberto J. Pani, an engineer and the former Federal Minister of Finance. This led to the first big break in the younger Mario Pani’s career.
In 2004, the considerable expense was undertaken again to move the Cuauhtémoc Monument once more. This time, it returned almost to original position. After three months of restoration in the Luis Pasteur Garden just to the north, it was placed again, though without the surrounding benches and lanterns. It would take the 2010 completion of the new Mexican Senate building, directly north of the monument for the street to return to something like normal.
Today, it’s clearly not anything like a roundabout. But it’s among the most popular and continually well-respected of the many monuments on the avenue.