Many estates in the Mixteca region of southern Mexico were controlled by the descendants of the Mixtec nobility well into the second half of the nineteenth century. Rather than view these estates, or cacicazgos, as the last gasp of the waning colonial order, this article focuses on their transformations. It examines the connections between the cacicazgo and other key nineteenth-century rural institutions in the Mixteca, such as the corporate community and the hacienda. It also examines the continued deployment of the idea of cacicazgo in nineteenth-century struggles over land tenure, jurisdictional boundaries, issues of sovereignty, and group definitions—even when the cacique was no longer present and the cacique's estate was no longer extant.

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