In August 1787 in Papantla, New Spain, native Totonacs rose in riot. While the captain of militia of a neighboring community described this as a case of natives rising up against Spaniards and justice generally, a close examination of the event reveals multiple divisions within the community. This study explores how factional interests in Papantla divided the community across racial lines. It particularly considers how one group of native leaders who opposed a corrupt alcalde mayor (Spanish magistrate) were able to foster his removal from office and how corresponding actions by the alcalde mayor's native supporters forced the removal of his successor. This uprising further demonstrates how native leaders were able to tap into community hostility over the Bourbon reforms and deploy that anger in the interests of their own political gain.

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