Landscapes of Power and Identity: Comparative Histories in the Sonoran Desert and the Forests of Amazonia from Colony to Republic
Duke University Press, 2005 - 431 pages
Landscapes of Power and Identity is a groundbreaking comparative history of two colonies on the frontiers of the Spanish empire—the Sonora region of northwestern Mexico and the Chiquitos region of eastern Bolivia’s lowlands—from the late colonial period through the middle of the nineteenth century. An innovative combination of environmental and cultural history, this book reflects Cynthia Radding’s more than two decades of research on Mexico and Bolivia and her consideration of the relationships between human societies and the geographic landscapes they inhabit and create. At first glance, Sonora and Chiquitos are quite different: one a scrub-covered desert, the other a tropical rainforest of the greater Amazonian and Paraguayan river basins. Yet the regions are similar in many ways. Both were located far from the centers of colonial authority, organized into Jesuit missions and linked to the principal mining centers of New Spain and the Andes, and then absorbed into nation-states in the nineteenth century. In each area, the indigenous communities encountered European governors, missionaries, slave hunters, merchants, miners, and ranchers.
Radding’s comparative approach illuminates what happened when similar institutions of imperial governance, commerce, and religion were planted in different physical and cultural environments. She draws on archival documents, published reports by missionaries and travelers, and previous histories as well as ecological studies and ethnographies. She also considers cultural artifacts, including archaeological remains, architecture, liturgical music, and religious dances. Radding demonstrates how colonial encounters were conditioned by both the local landscape and cultural expectations; how the colonizers and colonized understood notions of territory and property; how religion formed the cultural practices and historical memories of the Sonoran and Chiquitano peoples; and how the conflict between the indigenous communities and the surrounding creole societies developed in new directions well into the nineteenth century.
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Four decades later, the settlement comprised a mixed population of vecinos,
Cunca'ac (Seris and Guaymas), and O'odham (Pimas) in the combined presidio,
villa, and mission of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. Land grants distributed
In July of 1762, an Apache cacique known as Captain Valdes among his people
engaged Gabriel Antonio de Vildósola, captain of the presidio of Fronteras, in
peace negotiations. The initiative began when four Apache men and women ...
Correspondence among Manuel Grijalba, Opata governor of the pueblo of
Opodepe, Pedro Tueros, the commander of the presidio of San Miguel de
Horcasitas, and brigadier Theodoro de Croix, first commandant general of the
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Two Histories of Cultural
Ecological and Cultural Frontiers in Sonora and Chiquitos
Communities Missions and Colonial
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