Chapter 1 provides an introduction to major themes of the study and to the historical background of the indigenous groups of central Mexico and Oaxaca--the Nahua, Ñudzahui (Mixtec), Bènizàa (Zapotec), and Ayuk (Mixe) peoples--that are the focus of the book. The chapter lays out the dramatic changes that took place in native communities in the decades following the Spanish conquest (1519-21), including depopulation, sociopolitical reorganization, imposition of Christianity, and economic reorientation. Chapter 1 provides a general overview of social structure and gender relations in the post-classic and colonial periods. The Introduction places the work and its contributions in the context of the scholarship on colonial Mexican ethnohistory and Latin American women’s history, and discusses the sources and methods used in the study.
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