Accommodation and resistance of elites in transition: The case of Chiapa in Early Colonial Mesoamerica

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The need for reciprocity after the first violent confrontations in early colonial Latin America was quickly acknowledged by Spanish and Indians alike. The conquerors turned to the native elite to support their goals in return for patronage and alliances that would insure the elites' survival under the colonial regime. The ability of members of the native elite to maneuver within the newly established colonial order was very much determined by the social and political structures of their society prior to the Spanish conquest. In areas like Chiapas, the hereditary Indian nobility found the Dominican friars their best allies against Spanish intrusion and its threat to the political and cultural integrity of the Indian community. Others, often members of the lesser elite, found the best allies in secular Spanish patrons who could provide them with political and economic advantages within the community and outside it. In the conflict which developed between the Dominicans and the encomendero oligarchy over control of Indian lands and resources the native elites played an important role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-500
Number of pages24
JournalHAHR - Hispanic American Historical Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 1991


  • Guatemala -- History
  • History
  • Spaniards
  • Indigenous peoples of the Americas
  • Elite (Social sciences)
  • Conflict (Psychology)
  • Artistic collaboration
  • Academic-industrial collaboration
  • Chiapas (Mexico)


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