Rosamund Fitzmaurice (UCL) - 2020-21 Students

Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican “Slavery” and Dependency in Post Classic Aztec and Maya Cultures

I am investigating the supposed presence of indigenous slavery in Postclassic Mesoamerica (ca CE 900-1521) focusing on Maya and Aztec cultures. Using methodology from archaeology, ethno-history, and anthropology I investigate relationships of dependency it in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. I use Spanish and Pre-Columbian indigenous sources to determine how formal and informal systems of forced labour were present in Mesoamerica prior to Spanish contact and conquest. I take into account cultural differences between Postclassic Mesoamerica and Early Modern Spain and the transcultural ideas which emerged from the melding of the cultures. Slavery touches on many themes of study within Mesoamerica, and thus I shall also be covering warfare, captives, tribute, and sacrifice in this context. Finally, I use a compare ideas of slavery and dependency to ancient and even modern slave systems and slave societies to determine how we understand slavery and dependency globally.

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