This article examines a series of fights, called saçemis, between indigenous peoples and Spanish campaigns to suppress them in the silver-mining town of Zacatecas, Mexico. Between 1587 and 1628 rival groups gathered in indigenous neighborhoods to engage in large-scale, sometimes lethal fights using rocks and other weapons. Colonial officials did not undertake a vigorous campaign to suppress the fights until they affected Spanish spaces and economic interests. This article considers what insights saçemis and shifting Spanish perspectives on and responses to them reveal about Indians, violence, and the nature of colonial hegemony in urban centers. It argues that the proliferation and pervasiveness of this type of indigenous violence in cities—generally considered Spanish administrative and demographic strongholds—underscore the spaces for negotiation, flexibility, and historical agency within colonial rule and illustrate the endemic conflicts that characterized the Pax Colonial.

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