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Image - Cacao Pod Vessel - K6706 © Justin Kerr FAMSI © 2002:
John Monaghan

The Indigenous Nobility and the Reinscription of Mesoamerican Codices
Vea este informe en Español.

Research Year:  2000
Culture:  Mixtec
Chronology:  Late Colonial
Location:  Oaxaca, México
Sites:  Acatlán, Puebla, Suchitepec and Tequistepec

Table of Contents

Project Goal and Rationale
Preliminary Findings
Publications and Presentations by John Monaghan, Based on FAMSI-sponsored Research
Sources Cited

Project Goal and Rationale

The aim of this project is to examine the Villagómez family, descendants of the ancient Mixtec nobility of southern México. The Villagómez were the owners of a collection of pre-conquest and post-conquest pictorials written in the Mixtec style, which they accumulated as heirs of the rulers of the Mixteca. They were also among the largest landowners in México in the second half of the colonial period through the late 1800s. Branches of the family owned sugar haciendas, ranches, an inn and other commercial enterprises, and they have the longest documented genealogy of any family in the New World.

The project is also of interest to Mesoamericanists because the Villagómez complicate our ideas about ethnicity and class in the colonial and national periods. On the one hand the Villagómez based their claims to wealth and power on their indigenous roots, and many family members spoke Mixtec, even in the nineteenth century, so even though they became part of the regional elite, they maintained an identity distinct from other members of this elite. On the other hand they do not at all fit the stereotype of indigenous people as peasant farmers who occupied positions of extreme subordination and whose only capacity for historical action was in terms of resistance or some kind of other subaltern strategy. Villagómez family members played a pivotal role in shaping the socio-political and economic landscape of a large region of southern México. Among other things, individual Villagómez family members served as a jefe politico during the Porfiriato, as a revolutionary leader in the period of the Mexican Revolution, as a federal deputy in the 1930s who helped to build the modern Mexican state, and as Treasurer of the City of Puebla. Villagómez were also schoolteachers, clergy, and army officers (including one general in the Mexican army).

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Submitted 09/04/2002 by:

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