Central Mexican States and Imperial Tribute Systems

Frances F. Berdan

in The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195390933
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Central Mexican States and Imperial Tribute Systems

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This article discusses central Mexican tribute systems. Tribute in central Mexican prehistory consisted of one-way movements of goods and labor from conquered polities to their conquerors. Military conquests were frequent, especially during the Postclassic period, and repeated aggressive excursions often resulted in conquest states or, more extensively, in empires. A common goal of conquest was control over economic resources and production, and this goal was achieved through the imposition of tribute demands on conquered peoples. Tribute payments consisted of both raw materials and manufactured goods, with an emphasis on manufactured items. Conquerors demanded materials and items that were readily available to the conquered people. As the empire expanded geographically, more and more luxuries were demanded in tribute.

Keywords: Mexican tribute systems; goods; labor; military conquest; tribute demands

Article.  2649 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology by Region ; Industrial Archaeology

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