Expression of Status in Sixteenth Century Tlaxcala
AuthorEdmiston, Kelly J.
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The Tlaxcalans were Mesoamericans who allied with the Spanish conquistadors during the Conquest of Mexico. Due, in part, to their alliance with the Spaniards, the Tlaxcalans' experiences in the early colonial period were unique. The Tlaxcalans capitalized successfully on their military service by petitioning for and receiving certain privileges from the colonial Spanish authorities. This campaign was successful because the Tlaxcalans chose to communicate their identity and status to the Spanish government in a Hispanized manner. In sixteenth century Tlaxcala traditional ideas about the communication of identity, social rank, and prestige quickly incorporated newly introduced Spanish cultural norms. This thesis examines sources such as The Tlaxcalan Actas, or municipal council records, to discern the ways in which Tlaxcalans – as individuals, a community, and a corporate entity – attempted to express their status and improve their position in the sixteenth century through adoption of Spanish ideas about status expression.