Shortly after the Spanish conquests in Mesoamerica (or, as the colonizers termed it, New Spain), friars chiefly of the Franciscan and Dominican orders taught the art of alphabetic writing to the indigenous elite. As a result the colonial period saw the production of an extensive body of documentation—overwhelmingly notarial and largely legal in nature—by Mesoamerica's indigenous peoples, written in their own languages but using the Roman alphabet. The language best represented in the surviving material (and thus in the ethnohistorical literature) is Nahuatl, often misleadingly called Aztec but in fact widely spoken throughout central Mexico. Yucatec Maya places a distant second in terms of known records, probably followed in order of magnitude by Mixtec. While this article will focus primarily upon these three tongues, it should also be noted that scholars have investigated a small but significant body of Cakchiquel and Quiché materials from highland Guatemala, and that there are also known to exist unstudied sources in Chocho, Cuicatec, Mixe, Otomí, Tarascan, Totonac, and Zapotec; other Mesoamerican languages may also have been written alphabetically in the colonial period.