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Frontiers of Colonialism$
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Christine D. Beaule

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813054346

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813054346.001.0001

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This Land Is My Land

This Land Is My Land

Identity and Conflict on the Western Frontier of the Aztec Empire

(p.293) 11 This Land Is My Land
Frontiers of Colonialism

Jay E. Silverstein

University Press of Florida

Ethnohistoric and archaeological data are used to explore frontier dynamics in the Late Postclassic conquest of the Chontal people of Oztuma by the Aztecs, in the Mexican state of Guerrero. Long situated as a frontier between the Aztec and Tarascan empires, the province of Oztuma provides a unique opportunity to challenge interpretations of Prehispanic colonialism by evaluating archaeological and ethnohistorical data concerning those indigenous to the province as well as those who arrived and settled as agents of the Aztec Empire. These data illustrates that the boundary between the Aztec and Tarascan Empires was shaped not only by imperial design and strategic necessity, but by a complex frontier dynamic in which conquered peoples were neither passive nor subdued. When opportunity appeared in the form of the destruction of the Aztec central government, local peoples contested the legitimacy of rule by the Nahuatl-speaking colonists.

Keywords:   Aztec, Tarascan, Oztuma, Chontal, Mexico, Colonialism, Frontier, Late Postclassic

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