Laura Matthew F'12
ACLS Fellowship Program 2012
Circulations: Death and Opportunity in Southern Pacific Mesoamerica, 1480-1630
This book-length project asks whether Spanish conquest radically altered indigenous trade and migration along the Pacific coast of southern Mesoamerica, and with what cultural impact. Some natives who subsequently colonized the region were "Indian conquistadors." Others, however, were merchants from central Mexico, Chiapas, and Oaxaca. Many settled along the southern Pacific Coast, a source for luxury and other goods such as cacao, jade, and salt. Did their migration represent a continuation of older patterns of regional trade and settlement, or a rupture caused by invasion and the terrible effects of epidemic disease on local populations? Were new opportunities created for some Mesoamericans out of the misfortune of others?