This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to explore the social and cultural history of the indigenous inhabitants of the Toluca Valley. It looks at the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with the aim of giving central Mexican ethnohistory a longer perspective and breathing room to see and appreciate time and trends, and to do so through the study of the household. The chapter also discusses the scope and limitations of the study, and provides an overview of the subsequent chapters.
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