Marriage alliances among governing families were an important instrument of political integration in Postclassic Mesoamerica, especially in Mixteca. Alliances among Mixtec nobles persisted during the colonial period, although after the sixteenth century, the caciques lost much of their political power to the gobernadores and indigenous town councils. This article investigates the significance of alliances among Mixtec caciques through the marriages of eight generations of the Villagómez family of Acatlan and Petlalcingo, from 1669 until the mid-nineteenth century. It argues that only the first of these marriages was politically strategic. Marriages in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries sought, instead, to consolidate the class position of the participants and to gain access to capital to further their economic interests.

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