What Did The Last Aztec Emperor Look Like?

We do not have any contemporary portraits. The Spanish were pretty busy conquering and defeating him to have Cuauhtemoc sit for a painting. And though several codices from shortly after the conquest have representations of Cuauhtemoc, we cannot know if the artists ever saw the emperor himself. Since he only ruled from 1520 to 1521 it is likely they did not. But one Spanish chronicler, Bernal Diaz del Castillo, helpfully described how he saw Cuauhtemoc, the last Aztec emperor. Unfortunately he was also one of the Spanish who were involved in ordering Cuauhtemoc’s torture after his capture. Which is how we know Bernal actually saw Cuauhtemoc:

“His face is rather long, and cheerful; he had fine eyes, and…could express geniality or, when necessary, a serious composure.”