Native Resistance and the Pax Colonial in New Spain

Native Resistance and the Pax Colonial in New Spain

Native Resistance and the Pax Colonial in New Spain

Native Resistance and the Pax Colonial in New Spain


Ethnic rebellions continually disrupted the Pax Colonial, Spain's three-hundred-year rule over the Native peoples of Mexico. Although these uprisings varied considerably in cause, duration, consequences, and scale, they collectively served as a constant source of worry for the Spanish authorities.

This meticulously researched volume provides both a valuable overview of Native uprisings in New Spain and a stimulating reevaluation of their significance.

Running counter to the prevailing scholarly tendency to emphasize similarities among ethnic revolts, the seven contributors examine episodes of rebellion that are distinguished by their ethnic, geographical, and historical diversity, ranging culturally and geographically across colonial New Spain and spanning the last two centuries of Spanish rule. Unparalleled access to colonial archival sources also enables the writers to more fully consider indigenous perspectives on resistance and explore in greater detail than before the precipitating factors and effects of different forms of protest. A provocative concluding essay balances this line of inquiry by investigating how a shared cultural disposition toward violence in colonial New Spain contributed to the atmosphere of ethnic tension and rebellion.


Susan Schroeder

We should exterminate them! -- Public declaration in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, January 1994, upon learning of indigenous protestations in Chiapas

It has been almost five hundred years since the Spaniards conquered the Indians of ancient Mexico Tenochtitlan; yet modern Mexico's nonnative populations not uncommonly still feel threatened and angry whenever there is a manifestation by indigenous groups to make known their grievances. Why this misplaced animosity toward Indians continues is hard to understand. the natives' protests are usually localized and only mildly disruptive, taking the form of encampments on the capital's zócalo or along its thoroughfares; more recently, however, they were broadcast globally by the media and received international attention even though the outbreak was centered in a distant southern state. Already as a panacea and doubtless as counterpoise to the quincentenary, the United Nations declared the year 1993 to be that of indigenous peoples. in North America, the United States designated 1992 the year of the American Indian, while Mexico's Constitution was amended to officially, place the country's fifty-six extant indigenous languages on a parity with Spanish--an important initiative toward recognizing its ten million native inhabitants. Yet when Chiapas's Mayas took up arms to protest their wretched living conditions and the dismal prospects for the future that they anticipated because of the North American Free Trade Agreement, not all Mexican citizens were sympathetic.

Nonnatives' qualms are rooted in the colonial era, when Spaniards worried constantly about Indian uprisings and particularly about the vulnera-

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