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Dreaming of Dry LandEnvironmental Transformation in Colonial Mexico City$
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Vera S. Candiani

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804788052

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804788052.001.0001

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(p.315) Epilogue
Dreaming of Dry Land

Vera S. Candiani

Stanford University Press

The story of the Desagüe encapsulates the essence of uneven and combined development that characterized the Spanish legacy in those American regions that had once supported populous and complex indigenous societies. That legacy left behind both the survival of a battered but by no means defeated peasantry and a weak, fractured, and fearful elite that was perpetually desirous of a different reality yet unable to impose it. As Spanish rule collapsed, in the Desagüe district this tension could be observed in the silted trench, the rotting wood of the sluicegates, and the slack enforcement of the measures and obligations the colonial superintendants had labored to put in place. The drainage project resumed under Porfirio Díaz. Although the lakes were eventually dried out, flooding did not end. Instead, it became compounded by sinking resulting from overpumping the aquifer.

Keywords:   aquifer, Gran Canal, developmentalism, soil mechanics, subsidence, compaction, draft-and-drain paradigm

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