By John K. Chance

Conquest of the Sierra depicts the colonial adventure within the Sierra Zapoteca, a distant mountain quarter of Oaxaca, in southern Mexico. This densely populated quarter is inhabited via Zapotec, Chinantec, and Mixe Indians, whose pre-Hispanic societies lacked the wealth, useful craft economies, and intergration with exchange networks present in the better-known societies of the neighboring Mixteca and the Valley of Oaxaca. Even in the course of the colonial interval the zone remained distant. Its sole Spanish payment, Villa Alta, by no means supported greater than a handful of colonists, and haciendas and mining have been of little significance. but in the course of the Spanish method of compelled construction, the Indians of the Sierra turned certainly one of New Spain’s top manufacturers of cochineal dyestuffs and cotton textiles.

Based on unpublished and hitherto untapped archival resources, this publication lines the evolution of a distinct local colonial society. The actions of Spanish political officers, retailers, and the clergy of Villa Alta are precise, however the relevant concentration is one the Indian communities-their inhabitants, payment styles, economic climate, non secular practices, and sociopolitical association. Of exact curiosity is the emergence of past due colonial Zapotec elites and their position within the pressured construction and trade-the repartimientos de efectos-conducted via Spanish magistrates.

The Sierra Zapoteca differed considerably from different areas of Oaxaca and important Mexico with appreciate to the method of conquest, financial integration, non secular syncretism, and social stratification. Conquest of the Sierra indicates how a comparatively undeveloped pre-Conquest tradition, coupled with a hugely monopolistic colonial economic system, produced a particular version of indigenous society in colonial Mexico.

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Extra resources for Conquest of the Sierra: Spaniards and Indians in Colonial Oaxaca

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Had these existed, they might have served to strengthen the local nobles' power bases within their own communities. This may help explain the weakness of the caciques during the initial entradas of the Spanish in the sixteenth century (see chapter 2). 2. In the highland portions of the district, the steep, mountainous terrain coupled with Neolithic technology placed limits on the size and complexity of the population that could be supported. Here no extensive valley floors are conducive to intensive agriculture as in the Valley of Oaxaca or the Nochixtlh and Tamazulapan valleys in the Mixteca Aka.

The population estimates in table 4 suggest that the number of Hispanic inhabitants changed little between 1565 and 1742, remaining at about 1SO.

After Figueroa's departure, Gaspar Pacheco in 152 8 redistributed these and established several others, casting his net more widely. Cacalotepec, Ixcuintepec, Teotlaxco, Tiltepec, and Yabago (Yaneri) were added to the roster of Nexitzo encomiendas. Others distributed by Pacheco included the Cajonos pueblo Zoochixtepec; Chinantec Teotalcingo and the Guatinicamanes (Petlapa, Toavela, Lobani, and Yaci Uocotepec]); Mixe Amatepec, Jareta, Metepec, Tonaguia, and Totontepec; and perhaps Bixanos Carnotkin, Comaltepec, and Choapan.

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Conquest of the Sierra: Spaniards and Indians in Colonial by John K. Chance
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