Benfield's 2013 Travels travel blog

The History of Mexico and Mankind Mural

A view of some of the panels

Learning about the mural from the Chamber Lady


First Section

Second Section

Third Section

Fourth Section

Fifth Section

Sixth Section

Seventh Section

Eighth Section

Last Section


Surplus Store

Scenes Inside the Surplus Store




Today a full bus of Winter Ranchers took off on a Mystery Bus Tour. Jack drove us to Harlingen where a couple of Chamber people met us and we went on a tour of downtown Harlingen. Since it was so cold, Jack did a bit more driving taking us as close as we could get to whatever our Tour Guide was taking us to see. Then we'd get out and do places that were close. Then it was back on the bus again to the next spot where we could see some more places. It was really a fun trip and we got a real taste for Harlingen.


At Centennial Park there is a wonderful set of murals entitled "The History of Mexico and Mankind". This spectacular, 905-piece ceramic tile mural was created by Raúl Esparza Sanchez of Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico. It was purchased from museum in Los Angeles in 2000 and is now located at Jackson Street and the Rail Tracks in Harlingen, Texas.

First Section: The mural begins with the origin of ideas, life and the universe symbolized by the mathematical concept of the universe framed by Mayan and Aztec profiles.

Second section: This section represents the various pre-Hispanic cultures. Since the Olmec are considered by many to be the "mother-culture" because of their influence on the other pre-Columbian groups a giant Olmec head is shown receiving knowledge from divine hands. Sitting below is Xochipilli, the Aztec Goddess of Spring, Poetry, Song and Dance. On the left representing other pre-Hispanic cultures are the Teotihucan Quetzalcoatl feathered serpent Thaloc, the God of Water, and the column of Mayan numbers. On the right the Toltec giant statute of Tula and Zapotec funeral urn. The oval inlays depict fathers who are teaching crafts to their sons.

Third section: This section is a tomb cover from the Temple of Inscriptions in Palenque, Chiapas. It is nearly 1300 years old and weighs more than five tons. The slab covers the first tomb discovered in a Meso-American Pyramid.

The fourth section: The Myan Calendar is shown in the fourth section. It consisted of 18 20-day months and 1 5-day month making a total of 365 days and 6 hours. This calendar was more exact than the one used in Europe.

The Fifth Section: This section depicts the siege of Tenochtitlan, Old Mexico City. The Aztec Warriors in the center hopelessly try to defend the city against the Spanish and Tlaxcaltecan Indians.

The Sixth Section: The Sixth Section is "The Conquest and Independence of Mexico. It shows Cortez and Dona Marina between separate cultures. Tenochtitlan (left) and the Cathedral of Mexico (right). The plant in their hands symbolizes the beginning of a hybrid Spanish-American race. Cortez holds the emblem of the first university while Dona Marina holds the first print made in the Americas. In back is the Mexican Independence Monument. Below Pipila emerges with the torch symbolizing liberty of the Mexican pueblo.

The Seventh Section. The Monument to the Liberators of the Americas being built by stone cutters embraces the American Hemisphere. Left to right: Jose San Martin (Argentina), Jose Marti (Cuba), Simon Bolivar (Venezuela), Benito Juarez (Mexico), Abraham Lincoln and George Washington (USA).

In the last scene the Aztec Sun of Fire, top center, shines down on the Pyramid of the Sun unifying the entire mural.

Our Tour Director gave us a lot of information about the murals and their significance.

Across the street from Centennial Park is the Surplus Supply Company which has been in business since June, 1946. Leonard Leonard and his wife opened the Army Surplus Supply Company which provided military surplus goods to the Rio Grande Valley. In 1953, the store was moved to 306 W. Jackson, which has been its permanent location ever since. We didn't have a lot of time to look around but what we saw was pretty interesting.

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