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Negotiation within Domination

New Spain's Indian Pueblos Confront the Spanish State

Edited by Ethelia Ruiz Medrano and Susan Kellogg

Publication Year: 2010

"This volume offers a wealth of theoretically informed case studies about the relationships between indigenous communities and the Spanish state in the colonial period... The book contributes to the variegated and complex body of scholarship on the culture of colonial politics and advances our understanding of the variations of that political culture."—Marin Nesvig, The Americas

Negotiation within Domination examines the formation of colonial governance in New Spain through interactions between indigenous peoples and representatives of the Spanish Crown. The book highlights the complexity of native negotiation and mediation with colonial rule across time, culture, and place and how it shaped colonial political and legal structures from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Although indigenous communities reacted to Spanish presence with significant acts of resistance and rebellion, they also turned to negotiation to deal with conflicts and ameliorate the consequences of colonial rule. This affected not only the development of legal systems in New Spain and Mexico but also the survival and continuation of traditional cultures. Bringing together work by Mexican and North American historians, this collection is a crucially important and rare contribution to the field. Negotiation within Domination is a valuable resource for native peoples as they seek to redefine and revitalize their identities and assert their rights relating to language and religion, ownership of lands and natural resources, rights of self-determination and self-government, and protection of cultural and intellectual property. It will be of interest primarily to specialists in the field of colonial studies and historians and ethnohistorians of New Spain.

Published by: University Press of Colorado

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

Tables and Map

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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xv

What makes for domination? More concretely, what made for domination in a place without a standing army or an established constabulary in which the dominators were outnumbered, at times ten to one and never less than three-to-one, by the dominated...

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pp. xvii

This book has been long in the making, and the editors thank the contributors for their efforts and patience. Ethelia Ruiz Medrano expresses gratitude to the Dirección de Estudios Históricos del Instituto Nacional de...

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1. Introduction—Back to the Future: Law, Politics, and Culture in Colonial Mexican Ethnohistorical Studies

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pp. 1-17

Historians who surveyed the schools of interpretation within North American scholarship on colonial Spanish America in the 1980s described how social history, history from the bottom up, emerged out of institutional and political...

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2: Empire, Indians, and the Negotiation for the Status of City in Tlaxcala, 1521–1550

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pp. 19-44

In 1525, a few short years after the fall of Tenochtitlan, Pope Clemente issued a bull that designated Tlaxcala as the seat of the Bishopric of Tlaxcala.1 By the mid-1520s, below the four teccalli (principal noble houses) of Tepeticpac...

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3: Fighting Destiny: Nahua Nobles and Friars in the Sixteenth-Century Revolt of the Encomenderos against the King

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pp. 45-77

It is well-known that the Indians of the city of Mexico hardly ever attempted to rebel against Spanish colonial power. In this chapter I intend to show that the Indians of Mexico City tried to participate in the encomenderos’ (holders of grants...

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4: Indigenous Centurions and Triumphal Arches: Negotiation in Eighteenth-Century Mexico City

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pp. 79-105

Annual Catholic festivals marked cycles of time during the history of the viceroyalty of New Spain. For the indigenous residents of the valleys of Mexico and Toluca, the season beginning with Semana Santa, Easter Holy Week, and ending with the festival of Corpus Christi was a sustained...

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5: The Power of the Law: The Construction of Colonial Power in an Indigenous Region

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pp. 107-135

Over the course of a little more than three centuries—from the end of the fifteenth to the first decades of the nineteenth century—the Spanish Crown managed to conquer and subjugate a vast, far-flung territory.1 Its success in this enterprise depended...

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6: Costumbre: A Language of Negotiation in Eighteenth-Century Oaxaca

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pp. 137-171

On September 15, 1700, a seismic shift in the balance of political forces shook the district of Villa Alta, Oaxaca, a rugged, mountainous region far removed from colonial power centers. The residents of the Zapotec pueblo of San Francisco Cajonos...

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7: Peace Agreements and War Signals: Negotiations with the Apaches and Comanches in the Interior Provinces of New Spain, 1784–1788

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pp. 173-204

Negotiation becomes necessary whenever two forces find themselves in relative equilibrium and realize that political agreement is better than the continuation of open conflict. In a paradoxical way, in the last decades of the eighteenth century...

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8: Waterways, Legal Ways, and Ethnic Interactions: The Ríos District of Tabasco during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

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pp. 205-228

The purpose of this essay is to examine part of the colonial period history of the peninsular Maya who lived in the southwestern area of the Yucatán Peninsula, an area interlaced with rivers, focusing in particular on their varied interactions with the Spanish...

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Afterword: The Consequences of Negotiation

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pp. 229-232

The essays in this volume demonstrate that negotiation was a vital component of the colonial legal system. They support Tamar Herzog’s notion that what was “political” and what was “legal” in early modern states cannot necessarily...


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pp. 233-251


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pp. 253-254


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pp. 255-264

E-ISBN-13: 9781607320333
E-ISBN-10: 1607320339
Print-ISBN-13: 9781607320326
Print-ISBN-10: 1607320320

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 5
Publication Year: 2010