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Chocolate in MesoamericaA Cultural History of Cacao$
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Cameron McNeil

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813029535

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813029535.001.0001

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Cacao Production, Tribute, and Wealth in Sixteenth-century Izalcos, El Salvador

Cacao Production, Tribute, and Wealth in Sixteenth-century Izalcos, El Salvador

(p.307) 15 Cacao Production, Tribute, and Wealth in Sixteenth-century Izalcos, El Salvador
Chocolate in Mesoamerica

William R. Fowler

University Press of Florida

This chapter discusses changing trends in the production of cacao plants in Izalcos, El Salvador, during the sixteenth century. The use of cacao as money in Mesoamerica is connected to long-distance trade, marketplace exchange, and the need for formalized media of exchange. These phenomena and ther change in the use of cacao were associated with the emergence of state, urbanism, and stratified society during the Middle to Late Formative periods. By the time of the Spanish Conquest, the use of cacao as a currency was also widespread in Mesoamerica, from Central Mexico, Yucatan, and Nicaragua. One of the participants of this system was the Nahua Pipils of the Izalcos region. This chapter focuses on the emergence of private ownership and inheritance of cacao trees and orchards in sixteenth-century Izalcos. Discussion in this chapter includes the history of cacao use in Izalcos, the social and political organization of Izalcos, and land tenure and household production of cacao.

Keywords:   cacao, production of cacao, Izalcos, sixteenth century, use of cacao, Nahua Pipils, private ownership, inheritance of cacao, sixteenth century Izalcos, land tenure

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