Message #273:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Europeans In Valle del Mezquital Impacted Otomi
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 1997 20:29:16 -0700

[ just found 1996 article -- SASIG Ed. ]

Otomi People and Colonization 
About TED Categories and Clusters 
Otomi People and Colonization A. IDENTIFICATION 1. The issue      The
conquest of the New World was not only a military or political conquest.
It was also a biological conquest.  The presence of  chickens, pigs,
donkeys, goats, sheep, cattle, horses, and mules are evidence of an
ecological revolution brought about by the European invasion, that
caused a shift in the modes of production from horticulture to some form
of agro-pastoralism. In turn, the expansion of pastoralism enabled the
conquest of the indigenous populations and the domination of vast areas
of rural space. This paper describes the processes by which the grazing
animals entered and dominated a semiarid New World region, transforming
the physical environment and, as a result, the traditional natural
resources of the indigenous communities. Specifically, this paper
focuses in the environmental and social consequences of the European
entrance into a region of highland central Mexico, the Valle del
Mezquital, and the impact that it had on the Otomi culture.  2.
Description      The conquest of the New World can be viewed as a
biological conquest too. Spaniards traveled not only with their horses
and war dogs, but with more ordinary animals such as pigs, chickens,
sheep, goats, and cattle. They also carried with them Old World
pathogens. In addition, the introduced species did not discreetly move
into unoccupied niches - they exploded into huge populations that in one
way or another transformed the biological and social regimes of the New
World.       According to the ecological imperialism thesis [2],
Europeans did best in temperate regions where climates similar to Europe
allowed their grazing animals and crops to thrive, and where the
indigenous populations were sparse. That would explain why Argentina,
Canada and the United States, for instance, are still today
distinguished by populations of predominantly European extraction and by
the economic predominance of Old World flora and fauna. The fact that
Mexico, for instance, is mostly dominated by New World peoples, flora,
and fauna, support the thesis in that Europeans failed to transplant
their ecosystem due to the arid climate.       The apparent
environmental continuity we see in the American tropics is misleading
[3]. Despite that the Europeans did not biologically dominate in much of
what we know today as Latin America, the biological status quo was not
maintained. The native biological regimes underwent radical changes
following the introduction of Old World species, and new landscapes that
we now think of as typically New World were formed.      The expansion
of Old World grazing animals and the demographic collapse of the
indigenous populations were major processes in this transformation.
Diseases endemic to Europe such as smallpox, measles, and influenza,
exploded into terrifying and unpredictable epidemics that swept through
the Americas, leaving communities decimated.  The combination of the
virulent nature of the epidemics themselves and the collapse of the
indigenous populations meant that the Europeans were able to move
quickly into even densely populated and highly organized regions. How 
did these alien species -- the disease organisms and the grazing animals
-- expand into the New World ecosystems? The answer can be found in two
biological processes: a. Virgin soil epidemics are characterized by an
immunologically defenseless host population, extremely rapid spread, and
almost universal infection. Old-World pathogens were successful because
the New World populations had never been infected by them and had no
defenses. The estimated population decline in Mexico, for example, was
90-95 percent between 1519, when the Spaniards arrived, and 1620, when
the indigenous population began its slow recovery. b. Ungulate irruption
occurs when ungulates are faced with more food than is needed to replace
their numbers in the next generation, an ungulate irruption is the
result.  Non-domestic ungulates includes, for example, deer, caribou,
and bison. Goats, pigs, sheep, cattle, donkeys, mules, and horse are the
common domesticated ungulates of the Old World. The animals react to the
excess of food in a manner similar to pathogens encountering virgin soil
populations: they increase exponentially until they overshoot the
capacity of the plant communities to sustain them; Then, their
population crash, and finally they reach an accommodation with the
now-reduced subsistence base at a lower density.       During the course
of an ungulate irruption plan communities are changed beyond
recognition. Selective browsing simplifies species diversity and reduces
the height and density of the vegetation; species unable to withstand
the pressures of heavy grazing are relegated to relic stands in
out-of-the-way places, and are replaced by others that are either
browse-resistant or unpalatable.      The ungulates that irrupted into
the New World environments were domestic grazing animals that were part
of a culturally defined system of animal and range management:
pastoralism. Their diet, their daily wanderings in search of food and
water, even their life span, were often subject to human choice and
decision making. The lands they grazed also were subject to human
choice. The landscapes not only looked different, with new and different
animals that radically changed the vegetative cover, but access to and
exploitation of the natural resources were changed as well. In the New
World there was a continuum of environmental responses to the
introduction of Old World domesticates that ranged from changes in the
biological regime associated with feral animals to changes associated
with the introduction of pastoralism in combination with other
activities such as cropping, mining, logging, lime manufacture, charcoal
making, road building, and so on.      As the environment was degraded
and the productivity of the land destroyed - thus radically changing the
natural resource base and forcing further choices. In the Mexican case,
the productivity of the indigenous modes of resource exploitation masked
the fragility of the ecosystems, leading the Spaniards to make choices
based on production levels current at the time of conquest rather than
on the capacity of the land to support new and different regimes. As a
result of their initiatives, the natural resource base for both
indigenous agriculture and the introduced modes of land use deteriorated
rapidly, forcing the development of extensively grazed latifundia rather
than the smaller, more intensively worked holdings found in other
regions of apparently rich resources.  That is, changing New World
realities  constrained the Spaniards' choices, if not their
expectations.      The major obstacles to Spanish settlement of the
Valle del Mezquital in the early decades were the frosts, the infrequent
rainfall, and, most especially, the dense Native American population.
However, when Europeans first entered these wide, flat valleys and
plains they saw a landscape that had been shaped by centuries of human
occupation. It was a fertile, densely populated, and complex
agricultural mosaic composed of extensive croplands, woodlands, and
native grasslands; of irrigations canals, dams, terraces, and limestone
quarries. Oak and pine forest covered the hills, and springs and streams
supplied extensive irrigation systems. However, although the soils were
fertile, irrigation was necessary to secure crops. Irrigation, in turn,
depended on a healthy catchment area, which meant the maintenance of
vegetative cover on the hills.       The agricultural production in
these provinces - occupied by the Otomi- focused on the classic
Meso-american triad of maize, beans, and squash, together with chilies,
tomatoes, beans, amaranth, sage, and others.  In areas without water for
irrigation, subsistence was based on plant species typical of arid
regions: maguey, nopal cactus, and mesquite, together with a striking
number of wild animals, birds, reptiles, and grubs.       It is clear
that the Otomi (the Native Americans that occupied the Valle at the time
of the conquest) evolved a successful approach to living in this high
region of little rainfall and frequent frosts. Although wild game and
herbs from the forests and woodlands were important elements in the
diet, this was true of all small rural Mexican towns in both the
pre-conquest and colonial periods, as it is today. And though the maguey
and the nopal cactus were important in subsistence and trade, the
inhabitants of this region nevertheless were settled agriculturalists
who produced large grain harvests. Indeed, the dense populations, the
high levels of grain production, and the extensive forests of the early
decades masked the fragility of the ecosystems of this semiarid region,
an thus the nature of the relationship between the human populations and
their environment, leading the Spaniards to make choices that led
ultimately to the destruction of this way of life. By the end of the
sixteenth century, the picture had changed. The fertile flatland were
covered in a dense growth of mesquite dominated desert scrub, the high
steep-sided hills were treeless, and the piedmont was eroded and gulled.
Sheep grazing, not agriculture, took precedence in regional production.
Sheep dominated the ecosystem of the Valle del Mezquital and shaped its
landscapes.      Spaniards first began to import elements of European
agriculture into areas that conformed to their ideas of lands with
economic potential. They did so because they thought they were
developing the New World in introducing more advanced agricultural
tools. then, wheat was grown for tribute in the more humid south by
order of the royal officials; barley was grown in the arid northeast.
Old World fruit trees such as peers, peaches, nectarines, apples,
quinces, pomegranates, oranges, limes, dates, figs, and walnuts, as well
as roses and grapes, were grown wherever climate and water resources
allowed.  Grazing animals were pastured within the Indian agricultural
lands, thereby putting in motion the processes by which herbivores and
plant communities adjust to one another. Spaniards did not notice the
delicate and fragile ecosystem built up by Native Americans. They saw a
green, fertile land and they assumed that it was naturally a fertile
land.       How was the process of adjustment? During the first twenty-
five to thirty years the number of animals introduced was small:
thirty-four flocks of around a thousand head were introduced in the
1530s. The animals were at a relatively low density at this point.
However, that they were maintained within a dense populated. Intensively
worked agricultural lands meant that they caused more damage than their
low numbers imply. The legalization of squatters' rights, boundary
descriptions and disputes, complaints filed by the Indians of stations
encroaching on their village lands, damage done to crops, and the
violent behavior of the herders, make it clear that the introduced
animals were a menace by the middle of the sixteenth century.  When
cattle and horses were expelled from the Valle del Mezquital, the
competition for forage was reduced and the sheep population irrupted.
Flock size increase fourfold during the 1550s.       The mid-1560s were
a turning point for the indigenous populations. Before this, the land
was still populated by enough Indians to make the government policy of
the protection of their land rights both necessary and feasible. After
1565, however, this was any more possible. An epidemic know as the Great
Cocolistle ended Indian regional predominance both in population density
and in production.      The period from the mid 1560s to the end of the
1570s was marked by high densities of animals -the product of natural
increase combined with the artificial maintenance of high densities and
the introduction of new flocks in to the region- and rapid reduction of
the height and density of the vegetative cover. This period saw the
takeover of regional production by pastoralism and the displacement of
humans by sheep. As the waves of animals flooded over the land they
transformed the vegetative cover, and by the end of the 1570s the
vegetation of the region was reduced in height and density. In some
places it had been removed altogether and only bare soil remained.
Former agricultural lands  were converted to grasslands, and the hills
were deforested and grazed by thousands upon thousands of sheep Pasture
was exhausted early in the season, and some flocks were moved west each
year to Michoacan for the dry season pasture.       Finally, during the
last quarter of the sixteenth century the plants composing the
vegetative cover of the region shifted toward such arid zone species as
lechuguilla maguey, nopal cactus, yucca, thorn scrub, mesquite, and
cardon. As the pasture declined in quality and quantity during the
1570s, the flock size dropped sharply.  The flocks further declined in
numbers and quality during the 1590s. Ewes were so underweight that they
were beginning their reproduction cycle later, and the animals
slaughtered for meat were smaller and weighed less. The decline in
animal numbers slowed down by the early seventeenth century and the
flocks seem to have achieved an accommodation with a much-reduced and
transformed vegetative cover.      The changes in the biological regime,
namely diminution of height, density, and species diversity of the
native vegetation; enlargement of the bare spaces between plants; and an
increase in armed woody species of plants, were complicated by human
activities associated with pastoralism such as the firing of grasslands
and the maintenance of excessively high grazing rates, as well as by
accelerated deforestation to provide timber for the mines and fuel for
lime and charcoal manufactures. The result was extensive environmental
degradation, including sheet erosion, gulling, and deterioration of the
land's catchment value. The sixteenth-century transformation of the
water regime of this region prejudiced future exploitation. The Valle
del Mezquital received increasingly arid forms of land use. Sheep in the
sixteenth century were followed by goats and cattle in the seventeenth,
followed in turn by the cultivation of the domesticated maguey for the
production of pulque, and by exploitation of the wild lechuguilla maguey
for rope in the eighteen and nineteenth centuries. The importation of
water in the twentieth century confirms the continued inability of the
Valle del Mezquital to internally generate spring water.            
Today, the soils at the center of the wide flat valleys of the region
are incredibly fertile due to the irrigation plan. However, the hills
are bare rock and the piedmont is scarred tepetate. Water rushes over
theses surfaces in the rainy season and is not restrained long enough by
the sparse vegetation to sink into the soil and replenish the water
table.       3.   Related Cases   POTATO case  CEDARS case  MEXDEFOR
case  HUDSON case  BRONZE case  MESQUITE case      Key Words (1): Mexico
(2): North America (3): Habitat Loss 4. Draft Author: L. Valentina
Delich (May 1996) B. Legal Cluster 5. Discourse and Status:
Disagreement. Complete.      The expansion of pastoralism in the Valle
del Mezquital combined legal resource exploitation, illegal land
grabbing, and force. The natural resource base of pastoralism is grass.
The Indians did not systematically exploit grass. Grass was used as
needed, in making adobe for example, and it was an element of the
ecological niches ( grasslands, forests, and edge habitats ) of the wild
animals such as deer and rabbits that formed part of the Indians'
subsistence base.      By contrast, the Spaniards had a specific use for
grass. They considered it a resource for the maintenance of domestic
livestock wherever it grew. Wherever and whenever land was not being
used to grow crops, it could be treated as common pasture; where use
could not be demonstrated, individual claims to the land lapsed. The
principle of the commonality of Nature's fruits was extended to the New
World colonies.  Animals could legally graze wherever grass grew; there
was, therefore, no legal hindrance to the introduction of grazing
animals into even densely populated regions. Furthermore, because there
were no indigenous domesticated grazing animals, there were no local
rules governing the use of grass, and no cause for concern a about
superseding native custom.      However, in the 1550s Viceroy Velasco
had moved to protect Indian agriculture because, although pastoralism
was a crucial element of Spanish culture and there were strong
incentives to develop ranching in the New World, Indians supplied the
food that maintained the Spaniards. In addition, as subjects the Indians
were entitled to the unmolested use of their lands. In the Valle de
Mezquital, however, these laws did not have the desired result. In fact,
the regulations of the 1550s structured relations between the Indian
agriculturalist and the Spanish pastoralist in such a way that Indian
control over land outside the designated areas was weakened, leaving it
open to Spanish usurpation.       In addition, because "stations" to let
the animals freely graze were placed in the hills, and in woodlands and
wastes, they transformed woodlands into eroded badlands that translated
into the loss to the Indian communities of traditional resources for
subsistence and trade, such as herbs and roots, animals and birds, and
wood products (for example sheep ate the leaves of edible roots so that
they could not be found for harvesting and trampled stands of the shrub
tlacol, which was used as a wood substitute in the production of lime). 
Whereas it is true that the laws restricting animals to specified
distances from Indian communities provided a buffer, however, they also
acted to further reduce effective Indian control over communally held
lands, because land outside of the limits was liable to use and
usurpation by the Spaniards.  6.   Forum: Spain (16-18th centuries) 7.  
Decision Breadth: UNIlateral      Spanish's decisions were applied to
the whole New World. However, Viceroys dictated specific regulation for
the region they commanded. 8.   Legal Standing LAW C. Geographic Filters
9.   Geography a. Continental Domain: North America b. Geographic Site :
Southern North America c. Geographic impact : Mexico      The Valle del
Mezquital is located in Mexico [4]. It encompasses  the catchment area
of the Tula and Moctezuma rivers, that falls within the coordinates
longitude 98 45'-104 W and latitude 19 35' -20 55' N; the total surface
area is approximately 10,139 square kilometers.      It is bounded on
three sides by high mountains : the Sierra de Pachuca to the east, the
Sierra de Juarez to the north and, to the south, the mountain range
separating Xilotepec from Toluca together with the Sierra de las Cruces.
      Today, the Valle del Mexquital is very different from the one the
Spaniards encountered. Although the land is irrigated (grace to an
irrigation plan), and modern agricultural methods are intensive, they
are very different that those practiced by the indigenous populations at
contact. Monoculture has replaced mixed horticulture, the plow has
replaced the digging stick, pastoralism is and integral part of
subsistence.      Another marked difference between the indigenous and
modern landscapes is the extent and types of forests and woodlands.
Primary forest cover is now confined to the oak and pine forest in the
Sierra de las Cruces and to coniferous forests in the hills to the north
of Huichiapan and Alfaxayuca. The few remaining wooded hilltops in the
Huichiapan area are covered with oaks and live oaks.  10.  Sub-national
factors:  YES 11.  Type of Habitat : DRY D. Trade Filters     12. Type
of measure: [Regulatory Standard]      In the 1550s, in response to the
problems posed by the rapid increase in animal numbers, Viceroy Velasco
limited the period when animals could graze in the stubble to January 1
to February 28. But in 1574, as pasture deteriorated throughout New
Spain, the period during which pastorialists had access to harvested
fields was expanded to December 1 through March 31. In the Valle of
Mezquital the majority of the Indian complaints of Spanish intrusions
into their lands occurred because Spanish pastoralists did not abide by
the rules, and either entered their animals before the period set aside
for "agostadero", when crops had not yet been harvested, or refused to
remove their animals in time to let the Indians prepare the land for
their crops.       At the end of his term as Viceroy, Velasco not only
enforced many old regulations, but introduced new ones aimed at clearing
the Indian villages of animals and preventing the use of their lands for
grazing: even the customary right to communal pasture was prohibited
within a radius of one league surrounding the villages. Also, the
densely inhabited central regions of New Spain were cleared of cattle by
his order, and made few grants for stations in heavily populated
agricultural regions. 13. Direct vs. Indirect:  [Indirect] 14. Relation
of Measure to Impact a. Directly Related to Product: No      Velasco
hastened the process of takeover by making so many grants in the hills
and outlying lands that he effectively opened up, or at least
intensified, the exploitation of the natural grasslands and forested
areas.  Despite the move to place the stations well away from Indian 
communities, the Spanish continued the practice of free grazing in
harvested and fallow fields and ignored the regulations controlling the
use of these lands.       The shift in viceregal practice from granting
"mercedes" in densely populated areas to granting them for stations in
our-of-the way places had the result of placing them in the hills, and
in woodlands and wastes. Transformation of woodlands and former
agricultural lands into eroded badlands meant the loss to the Indian
communities of traditional resources for subsistence and exchange, such
as herbs and roots, animals and birds, and wood products. Indeed, the
transformation was often so complete that indications of former modes of
land use were erased, leaving only evidence of sheep grazing. b.
Indirectly related to Product : Yes. Sheep      The ecological changes 
tended to confirm Spanish claims of ownership of the land by use-right
and to deny Indian claims. The separation of communal rights to
Natures's fruit from ownership of land became the means by which the
Spaniards conquered and dominated. That is, the process of usurpation
and the associated environmental transformation combined with the
regulations restricting Indian control over land no under cultivation to
facilitate the movement of land into the Spanish system of land use. c.
Not Related:  No d: Process Related:  Yes  Habitat Loss 15. Trade
Product Identification: Many      Before the conquest, the Otomi and
others grew maize, chilis, squash, tomatoes, beans, amaranth, sage,
among a variety of crops. In areas without water for irrigation,
subsistence was based on plant species typical of arid regions, nopal
cactus and mesquite. Also, the maguey formed a consistent and important
element in the economy of the region as a whole. Up to 1560s, existed
adequate woodlands and extensive croplands. Forest  products such as
lumber, firewood were for domestic use and the lime industry, herbs and
roots for food and medicine as well as forest-dependent wild animals
were an important part of the indigenous economy. At high altitudes the
forest were composed of both oak and pine, while oak forest alone were
more often found lower down.       With respect to the animals, there
were coyotes, deer, field mice, bobcats, hares, moles, rabbits, skunks,
wolves, squirrels, and weasels. Birds includes species such as barn
owls, buntings, crows, ducks, eagles , sparrow hawks and llaner falcons.
Reptiles and insects included cicadas crickets, fish, lizards,
crustaceos, locusts, maguey grubs, and toads. 16. Economic Data Area of
land converted to pastoralism expressed as a percentage of the total
surface area.                          Table 1 Valle del Mezquital
(10,029 km2) By 1539,  2.6% of the land was dedicated to pastoralism By
1549,  5.8%  By 1559,  8.4%  By 1565, 21.4% By 1569, 22.8% By 1579,
31.0% By 1589, 45.3 By 1599, 61.4%                          Table 2
Estimated number of sheep per decade (in thousands) By 1539,    34 By
1549,    75 By 1559,   421.2 By 1565, 2,020.5 By 1569, 3,090 By 1579,
3,995 By 1589, 4,376.1 By 1599, 2,913 17. Degree of Competitive Impact:
[High] 18. Industry Sector: Many       19. Exporters and Importers :
Mexico  E. Environment Clusters 20. Environmental Problem Type: Habitat
Loss      The most striking change in the environment was the
development of a dense cover of mesquite-dominated scrub on the
flatlands and piedmont during the last half of the sixteenth century,
associated with increasing aridity.      As the quality of the forage
declined, the average weight of the animals decreased. Weight loss led
to a decline in the reproduction rates of the ewes, and the production
of wool, tallow, and meat declined in quantity and quality. The thick
secondary growth lowered the numbers of sheep that could be maintained
still further.  The value of these lands for the production of cereals
was lost under secondary vegetation and slope-wash, and cultivated
fields were reduced to Indian subsistence crops on the remaining humid
bottomlands.  21. Species      The species mentioned in this section
were lost only in the Valle del Mazquital as a consequence of the
introduction of pastoralism and the following aridization of the region.
None of these species disappeared from Mexico.       After the 16th
century, it was impossible to grow maize, chilis, squash, tomatoes,
beans, amaranth, or sage in the Valle of Mezquital. Neither nopal cactus
and mesquite. In addition, the maguey, that formed a consistent and
important element in the economy of the region as a whole, disappeared.
Woodlands and forest  products such as lumber and firewood could not
being exploited anymore and herbs and roots for food and medicine
started to be scarce. At high altitudes the forest became composed of
both oak and pine. However, lower down, only oak forest alone were
found.       With respect to the animals, there were coyotes, deer,
field mice, bobcats, hares, moles, rabbits, skunks, wolves, squirrels,
and weasels. Birds includes species such as barn owls, buntings, crows,
ducks, eagles, sparrow hawks and llaner falcons. Reptiles and insects
included cicadas crickets, fish, lizards, lobsters, locusts, maguey
grubs, snakes, and toads. 22.  Impact and Effect : [HIGH and Structure]
23.  Urgency and Lifetime: Low and 100s of years F. Other Factors 25. 
Culture: Yes      If we accept the thesis that the biological changes
brought about by the Spaniards into the New World were the main causes
for the domination of the indians, then it could be said that cultural
changes were a consequence of the conquest, which in turn, was
facilitated by the environment revolution produced by the conquerors.   
    In broad terms, we can say that the cultural impact of the conquest
was as big as the environmental impact. Language is a now a common
characteristic of almost all Latin America. In no other place in the
world is it possible to travel so far, though so many countries in which
the same language is spoken. Also, the cities, towns, and villages were
laid essentially in the same fashion. Except in those places where the
industrial age is rushing in, destroying the patterns of centuries, the
checkerboard streets of the "grid plan" town surround the central plaza
with its cathedral or church, government buildings, and market. In
addition, in religion, Catholicism is dominant. From the Rio Grande to
Patagonia the cult of the Virgin Mary is the core of religious loyalty;
the same saints are honored on the same days and in essentially the same
fashion, and the same mass draws the faithful each Sunday. It is
possible to understand how the conquerors culture, religion,  and
architecture were so strange to the Otomi culture just in describing
Otomi's culture.         For example, Otomi religion and beliefs were
far from the catholic creed. In the eyes of Otomi, people are involved
with a number of powerful beings and gods. The most important of these
were: God, Our Sacred Mother, Our Sacred Father, the Sacred Water, The
Sacred Fire, The Sacred Earth, and the zidqhamy (which means "respected
great lord"). People must maintain diplomatic relations with the
powerful beings in order to receive help. The Otomi had religious
channels through which one could raise to a position of influence in the
community. Because of envy, a peasant could not achieve high status by
accumulating wealth. He usually had only one means of achieving
prestige, respect, and power in his community, and that was through the
sponsorship of religious celebrations.        The cultural response of
the Otomi to the impact of Catholicism was to compress the universe into
an elevated, celestial sphere that was put under the guidance of the
Christian god, called "Santisimo" (identified by sun light), on the one
hand, and an inferior sphere, that of the Otomi, where the Devil is
revealed as being the prestigious administrator. With zeal and
punctuality the Otomi devoted themselves to the ceremonial duties that
the christian religion and the celebration of the local saintly patron
prescribed for them.            Health is another area where Otomi and
Spaniards greatly dissented. Otomi's communities had Shamans to cure
their people. The consultation was the first visit a patient or family
member made to the shaman to discuss a particular problem. During the
consultation the shaman divines, by magical means, the nature of the
problem or illness and outlines a course of action that could be taken
to combat it. There were two categories of illness, "good" and "bad".
Good illnesses appear gradually, run a definite course, and are
alleviated with medicine. They do not trouble people unduly, although
they can result in a 'good' death, at the time that God has appointed.
"Bad" illness, on the other hand, cannot be cured with medicines and are
not sent by god but are the result of evil acts carried out by people
and evil beings. The Shaman was an specialist in dealing with bad
illnesses. There were several kinds of bad illnesses: sorcery,
poisoning, and attacks by airs.       In a more theoretical approach,
some scholars call acculturation the processes and results of the
contact of cultures. Although anthropologists generally recognize that
an acculturative process occurs when groups of essentially equal power
and cultural complexity meet, in practice most studies have dealt with
situations in which a more complex or powerful donor group controls the
contact situation and guides at least a part of the transmission of its
culture. in contact situations marked by disparity in power and cultural
complexity, the donor group changes its ways in some degree, but the
major changes are found in the ways of the recipient group. In our case,
the major changes can be found in the Otomi life-style.      How did new
animals' introduction by Spaniards impact on Indian culture? New World
domesticated animals were restricted to a handful of forms like the
turkey, guinea pig, and llama, which were found only in limited areas
and which were tended in a fashion rather different form European
livestock practices. It is therefore not surprising that European
animals brought with them a whole complex of superstitions and of
methods of care. In addition, Pastoralism imposed to the indian no only
an economic, social and legal change, but a change in their daily life. 
    A direct effect of the introduction of unknown animals, was the
introduction of new diseases as well. These diseases spread out
decimating indian population. Collective death had a considerable impact
on memories, societies and cultures, by setting up often irreparable
interferences and breaks.      26.  Human Rights [YES]      Spanish
jurists and theologians dealt for a long time with the problems set by
the conquest, evangelizing and governing of the native peoples of the
New World so alien in appearance, customs and dress to the
conquistadors. It was by a slow progression that these thinkers came to
recognize the natural rights of such peoples to live and be free,
prerogatives which we understand today under the term "human rights".   
  Some of the thinkers who evolved the political philosophy of the
Conquest had never been to the New World; others were "indianos", that
is to say, Europeans with experience of life on the other side of the
Atlantic. A certain difference may be observed between their respective
lines of thought. Moreover, variations characteristic of the creole, the
mestizo or the Indian soon arose in the attitude towards the New
Continent.      Some Scholastic thinkers and others trained in
Renaissance ways of though adopted the classical theory of the
relationship of civilized men to barbarians, proclaiming the natural
subservience of the Indians and the right of the Spaniards to subdue
them by force.      In contrast to this theory came the ideology of
Stoic and Christian origin which affirmed the freedom of the indigenous
peoples and viewed the mission of the colonizers as a civilizing
guardianship.      The first Spaniards to enter the Valle del Mezquital
came as "encomenderos", missionaires, and royal officials. These
representatives of the Spanish regime redefined the hierarchy of towns
and villages and fixed their boundaries according to a new vision of the
natural order. Other Spaniards followed rapidly on the heels of the
encomenderos, the clerics and royal officials. Merchants come to the
region to buy charcoal, wool and rope, to carry wine to the taverns in
the mining areas, to cut wood to mend their carts, and to buy wheat to
carry to Zacatecas. 27.  Trans-bordery Issues [NO] 28. Relevant
Literature Crosby, Alfred. "The Columbian Exchange: Biological and
Cultural Consequences of 1492". Westport, Conn. 1972 Melville, Elinor G.
K., " A Plague of Sheep". Environmental Consequences of the Conquest of
Mexico.Cambridge University Press. Foster, George "Culture and
Conquest", America's Spanish Heritage. Quadrangle Books, 1960.
Gruzinski, Serge, " The Conquest of Mexico" The Incorporation into the
Western World , 16the-18th Centuries. Polity Press. 1988 Zavala, Silvio,
" The Defence of Human Rights in Latin America " Sixteenth to eighteen
centuries. Unesco. 1964. References [1] This paper is based primarily on
Ms. Melvilles' work "A plague of Sheep". [2] The thesis of ecological
imperialism has been developed by Alfred Crosby. See for example
"Ecological Imperialism: the Biological Expansion of Europa, 900-1900"
New York, 1986.  [3] See "A Plague of Sheep", Elinor Melville. Cambridge
University Press.  [4] The Valley of the Mezquital was named after the
mesquite, a tough shrub, common in Texas, that needs little water and
only scanty soil to stay alive.  

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May 6, 1996