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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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All the King's Men

All the King's Men

(p.153) Chapter Five All the King's Men
Dreaming of Dry Land

Vera S. Candiani

Stanford University Press

This chapter examines the first push for changes in the Desagüe during the eighteenth century, when oidores and military engineers drew the project into both the efforts of the Bourbons to rein in the administration of the colonies and the colonists’ resistance to their reforms. Oidores restricted local producers’ usage of land and water around the Desagüe, fixing what and where each were to be. European royal military engineers proposed methods and techniques drawn from their technical and scientific training to improve and accelerate the completion of the open trench that clashed with the mechanisms by which urban elites reduced for themselves the costs of their own flood protection, the water-sweeping method, the rotational nature of repartimiento labor, and the delegation of maintenance duties to indigenous communities. As a result, none of their proposals prospered. But their enlightened culture did: elites appropriated the features that suited them best.

Keywords:   fortifications, novatores, analytic geometry, hydrometry, hydrology, technical drawing, cartography, Corps of Military Engineers, fascine, visual communication

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