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Tobacco, Reform, and Violence in Eighteenth-Century Papantla, Mexico


162 Pages, 6 x 8.75

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $34.95 (CA $46.95) (US $34.95)

Publication Date: June 2019

ISBN 9781789760187

Rights: US & CA

Sussex Academic Press (Jun 2019)

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Riot!: Tobacco, Reform, and Violence in Eighteenth-Century Papantla, Mexico is an exploration of the Totonac native community of Papantla, Veracruz, during the last half of the eighteenth century. Told through the lens of violent revolt, Riot! is the first book-length study devoted to Papantla during the colonial era. Riot! tells the story of a native community confronting significant disruption of its agricultural tradition, and the violence that change provoked. Papantla's story is told in the form of an investigation into the political, social, and ethnic experience of an agrarian community. The Bourbon monopolization of tobacco in 1764 disturbed a fragile balance, and pushed long-term native frustrations to the point of violence. Through the stories of four uprisings, Jake Frederick examines the Totonac's increasingly difficult economic environment, their view of justice, and their political tactics. Riot! argues that for the native community of Papantla, the nature of colonial rule was, even in the waning decades of the colonial era, a process of negotiation rather than subjugation. The second half of the eighteenth century saw an increase in collective violence across the Spanish American colonies as communities reacted to the strains imposed by the various Bourbon reforms. Riot! provides a much needed exploration of what the colony-wide policy reforms of Bourbon Spain meant on the ground in rural communities in New Spain. The narrative of each uprising draws the reader into the crisis as it unfolds, providing an entrée into an analysis of the event. The focus on the community provides a new understanding of the demographics of this rural community, including an account of the as yet unexamined black population of Papantla.

Author Biography

Jake Frederick is associate professor of history at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. He has published articles on native political factionalism and race in colonial Mexico in Ethnohistory, The Americas, and the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History. His next book Minting the Nation: Money and Power in the Mexican-American Frontier, 1776–1867, written with Dr. Tatiana Seijas, is to be published in Spring 2017