Toltec invaders and Spanish conquistadors: Culture contact in the postclassic Teotihuacán valley, Mexico

Susan Toby Evans

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The Spanish conquest of Aztec Mexico initiated one of the world's most dramatic episodes of contact between cultures, and its consequences have been much studied. It is less well known that the Aztecs themselves were once cultural interlopers, that their ancestors were among the Toltec era migrants to central Mexico in the eleventh through the thirteenth century A.D. This chapter is a case study of a single village whose history encapsulates both episodes. The study uses subsistence strategy and belief system to gauge changes resulting from two very different cases, both of culture contact and incorporation into empire. The farming strategy perfected by Toltec era migrants, which provided much of the Aztec rural population with its livelihood, became useless in the early colonial period when declining populations opened the land to new, European-sponsored subsistence strategies such as ranching and plantation monocropping. The Aztec belief system was also radically altered, yet in rural villages some of the ancient practices persisted, cloaked in new, Spanish-style garb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStudies in Culture Contact
Subtitle of host publicationInteraction, Culture Change, and Archaeology
PublisherSouthern Illinois University
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9780809334100
ISBN (Print)0809334097, 9780809334094
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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