Article

Landscape Change in the Maya Region, 1450–1910 ad

Rani T. Alexander

in The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195390933
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195390933.013.0071

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Landscape Change in the Maya Region, 1450–1910 ad

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Landscape transformations are at the heart of archaeological debate over whether native cultural practices in the Maya region survived the Spanish invasion. This article examines landscape change in the Maya region using the theoretical lens of historical ecology. It compares two trajectories of change: the period from 1450 to 1750, marked by the upheavals of conquest, demographic decline, and economic contraction; and the period from 1750 to 1910, marked by the transition from colonial to postcolonial political regimes, demographic growth, and economic expansion. The archaeological record reveals shifts in political-economic structures, agrarian ecology, the production of commodities for the world market, and negotiations of native cultural autonomy for communities and regions rarely mentioned in the documentary record.

Keywords: historical ecology; conquest; demographic decline; economic contraction; colonization; economic expansion; demographic growth; archaeological record

Article.  6137 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology by Region ; Historical Archaeology

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