Synopsis Indigenous allies helped the Spanish gain a foothold in the Americas. What did these Indian conquistadors expect from the partnership, and what were the implications of their involvement in Spain's New World empire? Laura Matthew's study of Ciudad Vieja, Guatemala--the study first to focus on a single allied colony over the entire colonial period--places the Nahua, Zapotec, and Mixtec conquistadors of Guatemala and their descendants within a deeply Mesoamerican historical context. Drawing on archives, ethnography, and colonial Mesoamerican maps, Matthew argues that the conquest cannot be fully understood without considering how these Indian conquistadors first invaded and then, of their own accord and largely by their own rules, settled in Central America.
Shaped by pre-Columbian patterns of empire, alliance, warfare, and migration, the members of this diverse indigenous community became unified as the Mexicanos--descendants of Indian conquistadors in their adopted homeland.
Memories of Conquest: Becoming Mexicano in Colonial Guatemala - Laura E. Matthew - Google книги
Their identity and higher status in Guatemalan society derived from their continued pride in their heritage, says Matthew, but also depended on Spanish colonialism's willingness to honor them. Throughout Memories of Conquest , Matthew charts the power of colonialism to reshape and restrict Mesoamerican society--even for those most favored by colonial policy and despite powerful continuities in Mesoamerican culture. In that work, Matthew and other prominent scholars effectively demonstrated how indigenous nobility, archers, spear-throwers, footmen, and auxiliary from major Nahua ethnic-states such as Tlaxcala, Quauhquechollan, Huejotzingo, Cholula, Xochimilco, Texcoco, and Chalco became crucial participants in the Spanish conquest of Mexico, as well as of the whole of Central America.
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Memories of conquest : becoming Mexicano in colonial Guatemala
Volume L aura E. Amos Megged. Empowered by European technology, they provided their expertise on the tactics of their foes and their knowledge of the terrain. Matthew argues that they took a much more active role in the conquest than simply functioning as auxiliary troops for the Spaniards.
She shows how the Mexicano conquistadors fought in the frontlines and played a decisive part in the struggle against the local Maya. While providing a detailed description of the conquest, this chapter stresses the point that the Mexicanos saw themselves as key and equal partners in an alliance with the Spaniards, rather than second-class assistants in a Spanish war of conquest.
Chapter three builds on the work of Florine Asselbergs in analyzing the Lienzo de Quauhquechollan, a cartographic history presumably commissioned by Mexicano conquistadors, and discusses a collection of probanzas, or proofs of merits and services to the Crown, to ascertain the place of the various Mexicano groups in Ciudad Vieja. Matthew describes how the Mexicanos obtained privileges, particularly tribute exemption, for their aid in the process of conquest.
She also analyzes how these privileges were put to the test, and how the Mexicanos reminded the Crown of their own merits as conquistadors to restore their advantageous place in society. The Mexicanos were in a peculiar position: they enjoyed prerogatives that the Maya groups living around them did not, while at the same time they were subordinated to the whims of the Spanish Crown.
Additionally, there were distinctions within the Mexicanos: the Tlaxcaltecas and Cholultecas were set above the Tenochas and the Zapotecs. According to Matthew, the subordination of certain Mexicano groups to others mirrored pre-Hispanic patterns of war and politics, as well as the series of events leading to the fall of Tenochtitlan in , back in Mexico. Spanish and Mesoamerican policies of domination coincided in a hierarchical system organized according to ethnicity.
This made the establishment of the Spanish imperial system an easier task, so long as they found groups that reinforced this social stratification. Chapter four goes into detail about the projection of the various specific Mexicano polities on the geographical and social organization of Ciudad Vieja, where Matthew argues that Mexicano identity makes its most complex manifestations.
Matthew analyses how the Mexicano settlement in Ciudad Vieja, created shortly after the conquest, was separated from the Spaniards and the Maya both legally and physically. The Mexicano settlement itself was further subdivided into several units, or parcialidades, organized according to the different polities where the warriors had originally come from: Tlaxcala, Cholula, Texcoco, Tlatelolco, and so on. Ethnicity in Mesoamerica was not strictly linked to language, territory, descent, or kinship, but Mesoamericans did have a sense of belonging to their place of origin in early colonial times.
Thus, the parcialidades of Ciudad Vieja maintained their individual histories, patron deities and migration stories that distinguished them from the rest. Claiming provenance from one of the many polities of central Mexico and Oaxaca was part of what defined a person as Mexicano in Guatemala.
Laura Matthew, "Memories of Conquest: Becoming Mexicano in Colonial Guatemala"
In chapter five, Matthew moves away from geography and deals with the activities that created a sense of community among the Mexicano conquistadors. She discusses the importance of confraternities, militias and cabildos the basic municipal governing assembly in Spanish America in the shaping of Mexicano identity in Ciudad Vieja throughout the colonial period.
Militias, confraternities, and cabildos were all institutions that gave Mexicanos a formal area of interaction with the Spanish authorities, where they could defend their status as an elite among the Indians.