Commonly viewed as one of the major organizers of the colonial system in the Andes, Viceroy Francisco de Toledo and his colonial consolidation policies have received their own share of attention from Andeanists, partly as a general assessment of the social and cultural transformation that his overhaul of the Andean and Inca societies (1569–1581) effected. Analysts have generally addressed the relevance of the reducciones, or resettlement program, in particular; given the scarcity of significant documentation found so far, it seems that the program was less effective than Toledo hoped and promised in the large body of legislation he produced to that end.

Rather than trying to debunk this argument, Jeremy Ravi Mumford's Vertical Empire adds to a growing body of scholarly work in Andean history that problematizes our understanding of early modern empire building. By historicizing the formation and fleshing out...

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