Anzaldúa's explanation of the original peopling of the Americas was based on the general understanding of this topic in the 1980s. Her account offers a helpful summary of broad principles, but of course there are continuing developments, new information and scientific debates. The Wikipedia article Models of Migration to the New World offers a good overview of this fascinating topic.
The Aztec culture and language were highly visual, communicating through imagery. This depiction of Huitzilopochtli is from the 16th century manuscript called the Codex Telleriano-Remensis. See page-by-page images of the whole document at the Foundation for Mesoamerican Studies. Because Huitzilopōchtli--who was typically depicted as a hummingbird, with emblems of a snake and a mirror--was in constant battle with the darkness, his energy had to be replenished by sacrifices in order to ensure the survival of the sun.
Anzaldúa's account of the events leading up to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo--in which Mexico was effectively forced to cede more than half of its land to the U.S.--is generally accurate. These events are central to understanding the feelings of many Mexican-Americans (and also many North American Indians) that their historic homeland was usurped. But this chapter of U.S. history is little known to most people. See the treaty and a summary online at the Hispanic Reading Room of the Library of Congress. This map shows the area (in white) transferred from Mexico.
This photograph shows the Rio Grande River running through Big Bend National Park. On this side is U.S. territory. Across the river is Mexican territory. The land is in its natural state, and it suggests how the desert areas of south Texas looked before the introduction of irrigation farming. The Texas Handbook Online offers a very good summary of how development in the Rio Grande Valley has changed the region's landscape and culture.
A link between women's rights and the treatment of immigrants is increasingly recognized by social activists, as shown at this 2007 immigration rights rally in Washington, D.C. There is a good introduction to the issues associated with human smuggling at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. It provides links for more information.
"Hieros gamos"--which means "sacred union" or "holy marriage"--is an archtypal idea that occurs in many cultures and contexts, throughout history. In paganism, the hieros gamos is represented by the sexual union of a god or goddess with a mortal man or woman. For the medieval alchemists, the King and Queen were often used as symbols of sun and moon, as shown in this emblem from the famous alchemical manuscript Rosarium Philosophorum.
The union of the King and Queen could result in the production of the Hermaphrodite or Divine Androgyne--"half and half," like the mita y mita described by Anzaldúa. The article "Spritual Alchemy" by Karen-Claire Voss offers a wonderful overview, with lots of illustrations. There is also an excellent introduction to the many facets of alchemy at Adam McLean's comprehensive website.
In this section Anzaldúa introduces a figure who will recur many times throughout the book: Malinali Tenepat or Malinchin (who is known also as Dona Marina and La Malinche), a Nahuatl woman who served as translator for Cortes. There is much debate about her role in history--for an in-depth view, with beautiful illustrations, read "Reinterpreting Malinche" by John Taylor. Dona Marina appears in many drawings like this one, reproducing images from a mural cycle that was completed around 1540 in the royal houses of the Tlaxcalans.