Apr 12, 2018 - Sale 2473

Sale 2473 - Lot 295

Price Realized: $ 18,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
(MEXICAN MANUSCRIPTS.) Archive relating to land sales in Tlaxcala, mostly relating to the San Juan Mixco hacienda. [552], [371], [35] manuscript pages. 3 volumes and detached map. Folio, about 12 x 8 1/2 inches, stitched or disbound, Volume III laid into contemporary vellum wrappers; intermittent dampstaining, some edge wear. Vp, 1683-1823

Additional Details

A collection of documents, many of them in Nahuatl, regarding the sale of indigenous-held lands in Puebla and Tlaxcala. Many sales involve the transfer of the communal lands of indigenous towns to Spaniards. Although local indigenous officials, in some cases as high up as the governor of Tlaxcala, authorized these sales, many indigenous people still held resentment towards the Spaniards who were purchasing the land around them. This can be seen in Volume I (written in Spanish) tracing the ownership of the hacienda of San Juan Mixco, Tlaxcala, from 1719 to 1823 in the post-independence period. The first document in the volume concerns the (ultimately unsuccessful) attempts of two caciques or chiefs from Ocotelulco, Tlaxcala to recover from the hacienda what they claimed was their rightful land. Later there appear disputes between the Spanish hacienda-owning family and Indians from the nearby town of Santa Apolonia over the rights to an aqueduct. It concludes with a suit from the 1820s initiated by the Indians of San Damián who were attempting to claim some of the hacienda's land after the hacienda's owner had fallen into major debt. The San Damián Indians commissioned a map of the hacienda and the surrounding towns (illustrated) which was used in the case, richly illustrated in 1809 by Antonio Santa María de Incháurregui, a noted architect in late colonial Puebla.
Volume II, almost entirely in Nahuatl, also describes sales of indigenous lands in Tlaxcala throughout the 17th century, including lands that would later make up the San Juan Mixco hacienda, often showing traces of indigenous culture and rituals. This one contains even more manuscript maps of the lands sold, some of which feature preconquest-style glyphs of feet, along with several small receipts. It ends with a 1699 decree signed by Viceroy José Sarmiento de Valladares, Count of Montezuma.
Volume III is more wide-ranging. Most of the documents are from San Felipe in Puebla, but others are from Atlixco, Puebla; and San Lucas Tlacochcalco and Santa Cruz, Tlaxcala--including a manuscript map of property in the latter. More than just simple contracts of sale, the documents record the cultural practices that indigenous people in middle and late colonial Mexico engaged in when buying and selling property. One of the documents in Volume I (second leaf), for example, records the lengthy, laudatory speech in Nahuatl which a couple gave in 1737 before the assembled leaders of a community, announcing their desire to purchase some of the community's land.
This archive bears witness to the great transformations in land ownership across the Nahua countryside of eastern central Mexico which would temporarily enrich a select few native elites at the expense of the bulk of the Nahua population.