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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter focuses on the royal road of the interior that linked Central Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley to highlight the indigenous origins of its pathways and to showcase the economic and political agency exerted by native peoples. Native communities located on the royal road and its vicinity had unique access to commercial opportunities. Indigenous artisans traveled to and along the road to find a market for their products. Farmers similarly relied on a steady stream of travelers seeking food and shelter to buy their surplus corn and other products to make some gains. Indian guides found paying customers who required their services to find their way from one stop along the road to the next settlement. The historiography on royal roads in New Spain has primarily focused on their connection to the Spanish colonial economy. This chapter aims to shift the narrative by illustrating how a number of indigenous communities used the routes for their own purposes.

Keywords: terrestrial routes, indigenous trade, commercial circuits, contact zones, caminos reales, northern Mexico, Mexican Plateau

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