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date: 27 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Basin of Mexico was the political, demographic, and economic core of the Aztec Empire. Its landscape of lakes and marshes shaped settlement patterns, the flow of resources, and the subsistence base. This chapter focuses on the lakes’ nonagricultural resources—waterfowl, fish, other edible plants and animals, reeds, and salt—and on the people whose livelihoods depended on them. Exploiting aquatic resources brought people together as they shared territories, followed local rhythms of production, and participated in networks of exchange. To understand the forces that shaped demand for these products, and the lives of their producers, this chapter looks beyond subsistence economies to consider the cultural and commercial networks in which lacustrine products were embedded. As such, this investigation adds to a growing literature on rural Aztec economies that were regionally varied and interdependent.

Keywords: Aztec, Basin of Mexico, lakes, marshes, salt, reeds, fish, waterfowl, aquatic resources, lacustrine products

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