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date: 24 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

At the end of the prehispanic era, highland Mesoamerica was dominated chiefly by three major empires: the Aztec Triple Alliance, the Tarascan Empire, and Tututepec. However, at the heart of this macro-region a small state, Tlaxcallan, retained its independence despite being surrounded by the Aztec. This chapter explains how Tlaxcallan was able to remain independent and fend off multiple Aztec conquest attempts. Tlaxcallan maintained its autonomy stems by implementing a highly collective political strategy that effectively mobilized Tlaxcaltecas across social sectors for military corvée and retasked teccalli (patrimonial estates) as administrative units. The newly formed Tlaxcaltecan state completed this political strategy by supplying public goods, constructing a disembedded capital, and reorganizing regional settlement patterns. By implementing these strategies, it was able to achieve compliance with tax and corvée demands as well as the political integration necessary to fend off attacks by the Aztec Triple Alliance and preserve its independence.

Keywords: Tlaxcallan, republic, collective action, corvée, teccalli

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