From June 1812 to December 1820, the Papantla region in northern Veracruz was a crucible of guerrilla warfare. Papantla, the seat of a subdelegación and the center of a prosperous vanilla trade, had a tradition of political unrest. Riots rent the community in 1735, 1762, 1764, 1767, and 1787, earning the villagers a well-deserved reputation as a troublesome people.1 Although the mostly Totonac-speaking inhabitants of the region did not immediately respond to Hidalgo’s call to arms, once the town rebelled in 1812 it did not easily return to order. During the greater part of the war of independence, insurgents dominated the coastal region between the ports of Tuxpan and Veracruz. And although by 1818 the royalist army had gradually reconquered all the towns in the area, the rural hinterland remained in rebel hands. Indigenous insurgents from Papantla withdrew to the rough terrain to the south and established a fortified mountain refuge at Coyusquihui, where for the rest of the war they resisted the royalist military.

Then in December 1820, when Colonel José Barradas, the royalist commander in charge of the campaign against the insurgent redoubt, reported that his garrisons were deserting and his offensive flagging, the rebels accepted terms of surrender. Barradas celebrated this act as signifying a return of the indigenous population to their proper position of subservience.2

Subsequent events demonstrated that Colonel Barradas was overly optimistic in assuming that the old order had been restored, for during the war an important transformation had occurred in the way in which indigenous villagers viewed their relation to the state. Correspondence between the rebels and government negotiators provide a unique glimpse into how the former viewed the political objectives of the war they had fought. In his account of the event, the leading insurgent commander, Mariano Olarte, described the surrender as an act that indicated the rebels’ acceptance of the new constitution, not their willingness to return to the old order.3 Olarte’s letters raise questions about precisely what the rebels expected from the new constitutional regime and how, after years of bitter guerrilla warfare, they conceived of political power.

Although there is an extensive body of work dealing with the political objectives of the creole advocates of independence, these studies often exclude rural insurgents from the discussion.4 In exploring the reasons for the outbreak of insurgency, recent work has focused on long-term social and economic tensions that developed in the twilight years of the Spanish empire, or on more immediate causes such as food shortages.5 The literature tends to skirt the issue of the impact of these tensions on the political aspirations of the independence movement, as if to substitute “cause for reason” when describing peasant motives.6 Jaime E. Rodríguez summarized much of the recent research when he proposed that during the war “wo broad movements emerged: an urban upper-class demand for home rule and a rural revolt against exploitation.”7

This essay explores how elite concerns filtered into the camps of indigenous insurgents, who then gave new meanings to issues of constitutionalism and independence. James Scott reminds us that popular beliefs are in constant dialogue with the official ideologies of the powerful.8 Scott’s insights help explain how, as the rebellion progressed, local insurgents reacted to the changing political scene by adopting new political objectives and identities. While these objectives had a provincial bent, they did not simply revolve around the issues of village land and local pride. Rather, they set out to redefine the political ties between the patrias chicas of the rebels and the larger state. The insurgency built on the traditional hostility toward gachupín officials and merchants as it linked village politics to a wider vision of politics. Villagers claimed new identities as citizens, casting off the sociopolitical category of indio and claiming new rights for local rule. Village rebels appealed to the concept of patria and named their troops “nacionales” to distinguish themselves from the royalist militias they fought.9 Constitutionalism and a protonationalist rhetoric entered into village discourse and helped sustain the guerrilla war through the long years of royalist ascendancy.

For the villagers of northern Veracruz, the insurgency offered them opportunities to favorably resolve issues of political power in two critical areas: within the pueblos themselves (between cabecera and sujeto), and between the pueblos and the state.10 The villages experienced the war not as a war between Indians and Spaniards, but as a civil war within the pueblos that divided them along the same hierarchical lines that had evolved during the colonial period.11 One indication of these internal divisions appeared in 1813, when the royalists reoccupied Papantla after 18 months of insurgent rule. The república de indios literally split in two, as large numbers of villagers took refuge in the hills, while loyalist Indians enlisted in government militias. Antonio Pérez Ticante, a gobernador pasado of Papantla, became commander of the Indian militia company. On at least one occasion, Totonac insurgents under Olarte burned one of the barrios of the cabecera, evidently in reprisal for royalist assaults against the rebel settlements.12 A second line of political tension ran between the village and the Bourbon state, which in its efforts to increase revenues and streamline administration had raised taxes and increasingly intervened in community affairs.

The attitude of the rural insurgents at the end of the war reveals an attempt to shift the balance of power in favor of the communities by having its members affirm their new status as citizens and assert their rights to autonomous town governments (ayuntamientos).13 Socioeconomic issues found an avenue for political expression through the rebel critique of state-pueblo relations. The new constitutional debates that permeated local politics opened up novel vistas to villagers who had become discontent with pueblo government.14 The new ayuntamientos, therefore, were at the center of the events of 1820-21. The transformation of repúblicas de indios into constitutionally based forms of local rule offered villagers opportunities to address the disputes over power that had affected relations both between crown officials and subjects and within the pueblos themselves.

Apparently, however, reactions to the new system of local politics varied widely. Traditionally, historians have interpreted the ayuntamiento as a victory for local non-Indian elites, who used this new institution in their attempts to control local resources.15 But the role of the new ayuntamientos was much more complicated. In the Yucatán, for example, villagers seized on the recently introduced ayuntamientos to challenge heavy taxes and renegotiate political arrangements between villagers, indigenous elites, and priests.16 Local government was in flux as a result of both the war and constitutional change, a situation that created unusual opportunities for subalterns to claim political rights.

The rebel worldview is evident in how insurgents organized their resistance to the state. Another useful benchmark of rebel attitudes is the rhetoric they employed to respond to late colonial political change, particularly the reintroduction of the Constitution of Cádiz in 1820. In the following section, I describe the organization of the local insurgency, paying particular attention to the regional space in which the insurrection thrived and to situating changes in the rebels’ political identities in this space. I then discuss the political situation created by the readoption of the Constitution of 1820 in the context of a country exhausted by years of warfare. In the last two sections, I explore the meaning of nación and constitución to rural people by focusing on the evolution of political identities within the insurgent camp.

How the War Was Fought: The Regional Context

During the colonial era, Papantla, located on the Gulf of Mexico in northern Veracruz, was the seat of a subdelegación and the center of a prosperous trade in vanilla, maize, wax, and, to a lesser extent, sugar. Papantla was an Indian pueblo with a well-established non-Indian presence. By the late colonial period, prosperous local merchants had built up a fleet of 15 ships dedicated to the coastal trade that connected the town to the port of Veracruz; at the same time, an active network of overland trade over rough mule tracks linked the coast to the sierra de Puebla and beyond. This network of east-west trade routes dominated the geographic logic of the region, as merchants in the late colonial period looked toward Tulancingo and Mexico City for credit and political protection.17 Given these traditional contacts, it is not surprising that during the insurgency the coastal rebels maintained close ties to representatives of the insurgent government in Zacatlán de las Manzanas.18

Indigenous villagers joined the insurgency in 1812 and quickly overwhelmed the royalist militia that had taken refuge in the principal towns. The insurrection spread along trade routes coming into the Papanda region through the Huasteca and the sierra de Puebla. In the coastal lowlands, two important social groups found the insurgency particularly appealing: Indian villagers and pardo militiamen. Rebel emissaries arrived and incited villagers to remove the subdelegados and expel the gachupines. Some rebels made their appeals more effective by suggesting that the rebellion enjoyed the sanction of the captive king, Fernando VII.19 Rebel action directly attacked local officialdom, targeting the traditional objects of village unrest: the subdelegados and royal tobacco monopoly officials. In Papanda the insurgent villagers also singled out the commercial elite for abuse. This no doubt reflected resentment toward merchants and officials who promoted a system of repartimiento de mercancías to control the profitable vanilla trade.20 Insurgents also effectively subverted the local militias by offering soldiers better pay.21 And they promised pardo militiamen that they would be promoted to officer rank, positions that they were denied in the royalist army, where the government generally reserved command positions for whites.22 The impact of insurgent subversion was impressive. By June 1812, with the notable exception of the officers, almost the entire coastal militia had defected and the royalists had lost control of all the coastal pueblos between the ports of Tuxpan and Veracruz. The rebellion in Papantla followed this same pattern whereby rank-and-file militiamen joined indigenous villagers in overthrowing the subdelegado and imprisoning local militia officers.

Papantla became the regional insurgent command center. The influential leaders from the sierra José Francisco Osorno and Ignacio López Rayón commissioned a priest, José Antonio Lozano, to administer the region for the insurgent cause, and bestowed upon him the title of “coronel y comandante de armas nacionales.”23 Throughout the insurrection rebels from the sierra and the coast worked in close cooperation. Papantecos moved from the coastal regions to inland rebel strongholds such as Tlaxcalantongo, Apapantilla, Pahuatlán, and Iluachinango, obtaining weapons and soldiers from the serranos who, in turn, gained access to the outside world through the modest ports of Tecolutla, Nautla, and Boquilla de Piedra.24

While the coastal rebels had close ties to the sierra insurgents, there was no closely articulated hierarchical organization between the two groups. Local rebels fought in small bands that coalesced around allegiance to their own pueblo leaders. A case from Misantla offers a fine illustration of the military autonomy of these groups. When Guadalupe Victoria, the rebel commander who time and again ambushed royalists and merchants traveling along the camino real to Veracruz, ordered Misantla insurgents to send him their cannon, they refused, asserting that they had bought it themselves and that it was very much theirs.25 In the Papantla region, the Olarte family became the dominant leaders, mainly on the basis of their long established role in indigenous cabildos and their ability to muster large numbers of Indians to fight for them.26 Serafín Olarte and his son Mariano became the leading insurgents by virtue of their ability to forge a coalition among the region’s diverse rebel bands, who joined together to sustain Olarte’s redoubt in Coyusquihui.

In September 1813 royalist forces staged a minor rally when they reoccupied Papantla. But government troops made real progress only after 1817, with the decline of the insurgency in the sierra de Puebla, a decline that forced the insurgents to abandon all of the principal towns of northern Veracruz. However, rather than suppressing the insurrection, as the military hoped it would, the royalist reconquest of the towns simply displaced the rebellion, turning it into a guerrilla war between towns occupied by royalist garrisons and hinterlands infested with intransigent rebels.

Events between 1813 and 1820 demonstrated the royalists’ inability to defeat the insurgent challenge. As the royalist armies reoccupied the region, the towns split and rebel combatants fled into the hills with their families. These rebel households became the nuclei of new communities that formed in opposition to the royalist-controlled cabeceras. The pattern became so common that each royalist town seemed to be shadowed by a corresponding insurgent camp (cantón). In 1816 Colonel Carlos María Llorente described this curious geography of rebel communities, reporting that he had garrisons located in Tuxpan, Tamiahua, Temapache, Tihuatlán, Papantla, El Espinal, and Nautla, while in the rough terrain of the sierra his opponents had created a line of camps facing each of the royalist-controlled towns.27 Rebels established communities in Tlacolula, Cimarrona, and Palo Blanco, near the towns of Temapache and Tihuatlán. Likewise, they occupied the lands of the haciendas of San Diego and San Antonio and the hill of Coyusquihui, all close to Papantla, and surrounded El Espinal with insurgent camps at Mesa Grande, Palo Gordo, and Tenampulco (the latter now in the state of Puebla). The division between cabecera and hinterland during the war exacerbated one of the sources of tension that had existed within colonial pueblos. The political logic of the Indian repúblicas made the sujetos perennial foci of dissidence, particularly in regard to the distribution of tax and labor burdens. The sujeto communities and oudying settlements in the hinterlands of indigenous towns proved too dispersed for the military to garrison. Traditionally, the colonial state had placed few of its representatives in sujetos, relying instead on indigenous intermediaries to administer rural hinterlands. In the conditions of civil war, the rough terrain and, in the coastal region, the dense forests that surrounded these communities offered a ready-made refuge for the insurgents and added to the difficuldes of the royalist army.28 Although close to Papantla as the crow flies, Coyusquihui was separated from the town by streams impassable in the rainy season and by dense forests and a hilly landscape that throughout the year made military operations almost impossible to coordinate.

Although royalist commanders used military terminology to describe these rebel settlements, calling them “cantones”; in reality they were much more than that. The rebels recreated their villages, bringing their families with them as they fled the loyalist occupation.29 Not only did peasants rebuild their huts (jacales), they also assembled large community structures (galeras); and in Palo Bianco rebels even built their own church.30 Unfortunately, little information about how these communities governed themselves has survived. The royalist military reports, which emphasize the armed activities of rebel leaders, give some indication that the refugees recreated their own repúblicas de indios. For example, one captured Totonac, Salvador Méndez, described himself as an official of the “república de indios rebeldes.”31 As they had done before the insurgency, the rebels sustained themselves and their communities by growing and selling a wide variety of commercial crops, including sugarcane, tobacco, and vanilla. Rebels used the small port of Boquilla de Piedra to trade with the outside world, and commercial ties between rebels and nominally royalist estate owners provided the means by which insurgents were able to acquire goods that they could not produce locally. Insurgents thus fashioned a social and economic identity independent of the traditional villages, which remained in the hands of royalist garrisons.

Villagers defined their political identities (insurgent or royalist) in terms of their relation to local elites and the seats of colonial administration. At the center of rural insurgency were the questions of internal divisions within the pueblos as well as their relation to the state. The war translated into a conflict for control of the pueblos and an attack on outside administrators who dominated local resources and commerce. While late colonial riots often had multiple causes, in northern Veracruz and the Huasteca conflicts over pueblo elections often accompanied complaints against repartimientos de mercancías and administrative abuses.32 During the war itself, royalist military commanders took control of town governments, which they used both to recruit companies of “patriot militia” and to collect taxes that would sustain their military operations. Rebels sought to renegotiate the relation between the colonial repúblicas de indios and the representatives of the state. Although these rebels viewed the insurgent cause through the lens of the municipal “patria chica,” this does not mean that they were without any sense of national identity.33 Nationalism had many meanings in 1821, meanings that were rooted in the soil of localized village identities and the very local conflicts of the previous 11 years of war.34

The last years of insurgency provide some unusually good documentation that describes the transformation of political identities in Coyusquihui, the refuge of a large contingent of indigenous rebels from Papantla.35 In the following section, I explore how recalcitrant villagers reacted to the Spanish constitution promulgated in 1820. The jockeying for power between government and rebels reveals how rural insurgents perceived their struggle and how these perceptions had changed since 1810. Concomitantly, this power struggle provides insights into rebel aspirations and demonstrates the pivotal role that the constitution readopted in 1820 played in Olarte’s surrender.

The Negotiated Settlement and the Constitution

The government of Viceroy Juan Ruiz deApodaca pursued an effective policy of negotiating with local insurgents and granting liberal terms of amnesty. This policy played a key role in pacifying the sierra de Puebla, where in 1817 the local insurgent leader José Francisco Osorno negotiated an amnesty for himself and many of his principal officers. The relative success of the royalist army under Apodaca was in large measure due to an amnesty policy that sanctioned the military and political authority of repentant guerrillas. The settlement negotiated in Coyusquihui followed this pattern. But widt the changes that accompanied the promulgation of the Spanish constitution in 1820, Olarte’s capitulation was much less than a surrender.

On May 9, 1820, Colonel Carlos María Llorente wrote Viceroy Apodaca that pamphlets from Havana had arrived with news that the Spanish Constitution had been readopted. Llórente revealed his antipathy to the change, remarking, “Your Excellency already knows the kind of venom that such publications contain . . . news is already spreading to the interior.”36 Perhaps Llorente sensed the challenge to his own authority that a return to the constitutional order entailed. Without a doubt the reestablished constitution posed merely one of the difficulties that the royalist military faced. In the summer of 1820, a new commander, Colonel José Rincón, led the local military in a successful but costly campaign against the insurgent redoubt in Coyusquihui. His plan consisted of ringing rebel territory with garrisoned forts and maintaining his troops in active campaigns throughout the rainy season.37 In spite of its military success, the royalist offensive began to crumble under the impact of disease and declining supplies of men and money. In September, Colonel Rincón abruptly resigned his post. Wien his replacement, Colonel José Barradas, arrived, he found that the garrisons surrounding Coyusquihui were dangerously undermanned. Desperate for reinforcements, on October 7, 1820, Barradas reported that one-third of his soldiers were ill and that he would soon have to abandon the forts surrounding Coyusquihui. He concluded by stating his regret at sending such a bleak report. 38

In this context of impending crisis, Barradas began negotiations with the Coyusquihui rebels. The negotiated settlement that resulted from the new commander’s initiative can help us understand how villagers perceived the political changes associated with the new constitutional system. When Barradas replaced Rincón in September 1820, his first action was aimed at winning the trust of the insurgents. He sent letters to the rebels informing them of Rincón’s departure and dispatched José María Aguilar, the parish priest of Tlapacoyan who once had spent several months in Coyusquihui as Olarte’s prisoner, to the insurgent camp to inform the rebels about the readoption of the constitution and to baptize rebel children. He also sent an offer of amnesty by way of a sergeant who had also been held captive in Coyusquihui. More than simply offering amnesty, however, Barradas wrote “of the transformation of the government. . . [and of the new] immortal Constitution that makes men free and independent. Now” he concluded, “you have what you have fought for and dreamed offor so long"39 Even so, Barradas’s envoy did not receive a positive reception. Upon his arrival, the sergeant was accused by insurgent captain Pedro Ferrai “of seducing the people so that they would ask tor amnesty.” Acting tor Olarte, who was ill, Ferral took the emissary to a ranking rebel chief, who was presented with a copy of the constitution. “I explained at length,” reported the sergeant, “that the war must end, not in threats that would give cause and motive for a new outbreak of war . . . but with the Constitution.”40 The insurgents responded with caution, stating that they would consult with Olarte before making a decision. Nevertheless, Prudencio Ibáñez, one of the rebel officers, wrote that Rincón’s replacement with Colonel Barracks was a positive sign, because of the “punishing policy” that the former army commander had pursued. He added that the change in officers had given the insurgents “hope to enjoy the peace that some of us desire, according to what the government of the Spanish monarchy’s Constitution has granted us.”41 One reason rebels such as Ibáñez were happy to see Rincón go was precisely because his tactic of repeated campaigns and the permanent garrisoning of troops in forest fortresses was having a tremendous impact on rebel troops. Rincón’s scorched earth policy destroyed the provisioning system that had fed the insurgent cantones. Such conditions had created dissension. One captured rebel, Mariano González, testified through a translator that Olarte was determined to fight on even if “all the milpas are destroyed” and that he vowed to kill anyone he encountered who accepted the government amnesty.42

In November, Barradas again sent Father Aguilar to negotiate with the rebel camp and, as an act of good faith, he also released Francisco Ibáñez, the brother of Olarte’s lieutenant.43 Prudencio Ibáñez soon responded that he and several other gente de razón among the rebels were willing to accept the amnesty but had held back “out of compassion for the Indians, whom they do not wish to leave.”44 Ibáñez reported that the exhausted rebels were waiting for a general meeting that Olarte planned to call. However, on November 11, Pedro Ferral and a group of non-Indians appeared in Nautla and accepted the terms of amnesty, while reporting that Olarte and about two hundred rebels were crossing the Espinal River in order to continue the struggle alongside rebels in the nearby camp of Palo Gordo. Worried that he would not favorably conclude negotiations before Olarte discovered the weakness of his garrisons, Barradas made an attempt at psychological warfare. He released two amnestied insurgents, who were instructed to go to the rebel camps and spread the word that the royalists would soon attack Olarte.45

In December 1820 Olarte’s forces finally reached an accord with the royalist officers when the rebel commander led 468 armed rebels, organized in seven military companies, to accept the amnesty. In a letter published in the Gazeta de México, the official organ of the government in Mexico City, Olarte disavowed his previous actions and declared that he and his followers had been “engañados” (deceived).46 Olarte thus adopted the language of the Gazeta, where reports always described rebels as deluded or misled. Yet Olarte’s repentant declaration, created for the military as part of its propaganda campaign, only temporarily obscured what his subsequent actions soon revealed: the evolution of a new political text that was articulated by the former rebels.

This change from intransigence to negotiation was due to the diplomacy of Father José María Aguilar and the very generous terms of the amnesty. Aguilar and Barradas agreed that the rebels would be entitled to establish new pueblos in the regions they had occupied during the war. On November 17, the commander of Papantla recognized the new municipality of El Cepillo, founded by Pedro Ferrai and his followers. This no doubt sent a clear and reassuring message to the rebels still under arms in Coyusquihui, who subsequently set up a new town council in their redoubt. The fact that they were allowed to do so amounted to a de facto recognition of formerly autonomous rebel cantones as legitimate pueblos under ex-insurgent control, with political rights protected under the terms of the constitution. With the creation of these new municipal governments at the end of the war, power shifted away from the principal towns that had traditionally administered large hinterlands. Unlike those who had participated in earlier colonial rebellions, the rebels of 1820 demanded constitutional guarantees that would ensure that the transformation (mutación) of the government would be permanent.

After Olarte’s surrender, the only remaining rebel band in the Papantla region was that of José Santiago Moreno, located in Palo Gordo. Barradas demanded that Moreno and his followers accept unconditional surrender, but Viceroy Ruiz de Apodaca ordered Barradas to commission Moreno as a lieutenant who would, along with his armed followers, be placed under Olarte’s immediate command. Moreno’s rebels surrendered “with the condition that they not put down their arms, which they would no longer use to pursue, invade, or fight, but [only] for their defense.” The local royalist commanders agreed that “in the name of the Nation . . . [the rebels be allowed] to keep their arms for personal defense.”47 The question of against whom, precisely, they needed to defend themselves, seems not to have been asked.

Ruiz de Apodaca’s policy of absorbing former rebels into the royalist army was a double-edged sword. It allowed for the rapid pacification of the countryside, but it also gave recognition to the new political actors who emerged from the long insurgency. The treatment of Moreno and his followers indicates that the peace accords allowed political autonomy with teeth. The rebels kept their arms, and their own insurgent officers commanded the new militias. For example, on November 30, 1820, several rebel leaders wrote Olarte that they accepted the constitution and that they “have kept their arms in hand to defend their rights.”48 This letter may well have influenced Olarte’s decision to surrender, since soon afterward he declared his loyalty to the constitution. Mexico City authorized Barradas to grant Olarte a commission as a cavalry captain.49 As further proof of government goodwill, Barradas sent ammunition to the newly commissioned “national” militia of El Cepillo under Ferral’s command. The new militias adopted the terminology that local insurgents had begun to use in 1813. But it was only after the promulgation of the constitution in 1820 that the government troops dropped the term realistas in favor of nacionales, implying that the militiamen were in the service of the nation rather than the king. A change had clearly occurred in how militiamen perceived their service.

In essence, Olarte had made his peace with the constitution before he accepted the government that ruled in its name.50 Most immediately, the rebels implemented the terms of the new constitution when they established an ayuntamiento named Santiago Coyusquihui. The former rebels had a strong appreciation of the prerogatives won under the negotiated settlement and the constitution. When Juan Vidal, the new commander of Papantla, arrested some of Olarte’s followers in April 1821, Olarte protested to the viceroy in terms that indicated his interpretation of the peace agreement. Olarte stated that Barradas had told him that his followers in Papantla would not be bothered for any reason, neither by the military chief Vidal, nor by anyone else. Captain Olarte believed that his people had the right to put their entire efforts into building their community wherever he and they found it most convenient. “This,” continued Olarte, “is what I have been offered on behalf of the Sovereign and the Nation.”51 Olarte thus interpreted the truce as a recognition of local autonomy from colonial authorities. And he set out to create a new pueblo using the political rights granted to ayuntamientos by the constitution. In claiming that both the sovereign and the nation had granted him these rights, he suggested that these rights originated from a source beyond the personal will of the monarch.

Evolution of Insurgent Ideology

Eric Van Young’s work has shown that the insurgents originally espoused a form of “naive monarchism,” believing that the insurgency was in defense of the king and that it was supported by Fernando VII.52 This perspective also characterized revolt in the Huasteca region during 1811 and 1812, when it aimed to restore the royal protector. The villagers saw the monarch as a ruler who intervened in their favor and whose beneficent laws had been maliciously frustrated by the gachupines.53 Though monarchism was the language of power, it was not an idiom wielded exclusively by those in power. The myth of a beneficent king became a powerful mobilizing tool for rebels. This deeply rooted belief made it possible for the rebels to claim legitimacy as they defied authority.

Even during the early stages of rebellion, popular beliefs about the monarchy played a role in creating a new nationalist idiom. For example, an insurgent letter sent to Huejutla on January 16, 1811, invited the local militia to revolt “under the banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe and King Fernando VII in favor of America, faith, and religion, but against the gachupines.”54 Captured rebels declared that they followed “the law of Our Lady of Guadalupe.”55 In Zacualtipan, a sierra community located far to the west of Papantia, the Indian governor wrote to the insurgents asking for protection, explaining that “the gachupines protect the gente de razón but we have no other protection but Our Lady of Guadalupe.”56 In the world of indigenous villagers, the absence of the monarch created a profound crisis of state legitimacy because without the king there was no check on the power of the subdelegado and other gachupín officials. Insurgency became one way of protecting the community against the subdelegado and his local merchant allies. At the local level, anti-gachupín sentiment had a very concrete meaning. In claiming to speak for the king, rebels implied that the monarch was the source of their political legitimacy. But at the same time, insurgents modified their royalism with an “American” identity. Even in the earliest stages of the revolt, they identified the enemy as the colonial state and the gachupines, suggesting a new alternative order in the “American” party.

One remarkable aspect of the rebellion is that although the violence had its roots in the local conflicts of village politics, insurgents used a protonational language. As Alan Knight has pointed out, by 1810 key elements of “cultural nationalism” had already filtered into popular consciousness.57 Anti -gachupín sentiment and an identification with the Virgin of Guadalupe were evident in local indigenous rhetoric. Village rebels immediately identified the royalist government as the protector of the gachupines. In essence, for them the vaunted paternalism of the colonial regime fell far short of popular expectations.

Anti-gachupín sentiment and royal paternalism may have dominated the early declarations of village rebels, but their political outlook did not remain static. Insurgent officials constantly sought to bolster the morale of their followers with propaganda that took the changing political scene into account. Debates surrounding the Spanish Constitution and the insurgent charter of Apatzingán filtered into the rebel camps, especially during the period of rebel administration under José Antonio Lozano. Although Lozano held the impressive title of commander general, he was aware that his survival depended on the goodwill of the villagers. Insurgent villages could, and often did, refuse Lozano’s attempts to command village militias or tax their community members.58 Lacking the powers of royalist officers and subdelegados, Lozano adopted a language of persuasion to get what he needed, circulating letters to the indigenous town governments in favor of the insurgency. Reminding the villages of the services that he and the insurgents had rendered the community, Lozano stressed the defense of the patria in very local terms, equating it with the defense of the pueblos. Lozano played on the very real fears of royalist revenge, warning of the consequences of a royalist restoration. “Since my arrival in this command,” he said to local rebels in 1813, “I have not followed any other course but to defend the places where you live and to avoid the ruin that would befall you if the enemy returned to dominate you; [if that were to happen] incalculable evils would result.”59

The insurgents attempted to create a new political order in the towns they controlled. In 1813 they held elections in Papantla and the surrounding towns to choose electors for the provincial delegation to the insurgent congress in Chilpancingo.60 The local rebel leaders, although threatened by a royalist counteroffensive, paused to carry out the elections.61 Apart from the traditional voting for officials in the repúblicas de indios, diese were the first elections many pueblos participated in, and they indicate a new political practice in rural Mexico.

The political structure that Lozano sought to create collapsed in September 1813, when the royalist army reoccupied Papanda and rebel resistance was increasingly reduced to the activities of a loose confederation of insurgent villages and camps. Even then, however, continued ties to the colonywide insurgency meant that “peasant localism” did not simply dominate the insurgent struggle. For example, the Supremo Congreso Nacional Americano maintained a presence in the region through the person of José Joaquín Aguilar, the intendant of Veracruz, who established his headquarters in the Papanda region in 1814. Besides his military activities, Aguilar dedicated considerable energy to antigovernment propaganda. Between 1813 and 1816, he wrote and circulated tracts that ridiculed the practices of the old regime. Aguilar engaged in a give-and-take with the royalist Gazeta de México. He wrote circulars denouncing the Gazeta's war propaganda, debunking royalist claims of military victories and defending the demands of “the Americans.” Aguilar’s pronouncements challenged the legitimacy of the colonial state by referring to Viceroy Félix Calleja as “the Tyrant called Viceroy of the kingdom,” who taxed and conscripted villagers. He ridiculed the inability of the royalists to defeat insurgent guerrillas and contrasted the “courage, enthusiasm, strength, and resourcefulness of the Americans” with the royalist “wave of slaves” that tried to subdue them.62 Aguilar’s public letters indicate the existence of political debate within rural Mexico, a struggle for the minds of villagers.

The extent to which Aguilar’s letters were “consumed” by the public is hard to gauge. Lacking printing presses, local insurgents could not publish the letters. Instead they circulated through the loose chains of command within the insurgent camp.63 Aguilar used the language of the widely circulated Gazeta de México to mock the regime in Mexico City. He adopted the rhetoric of the Gazeta to describe “American” victories and to point out the discrepancy between government reports and the ongoing war. Significantly, royalist propaganda relied on the same ideas as those of the insurgents: patria, religion, and even monarchy. The idea of the noble defense of patria runs throughout royalist discourse.64 Insurgents merely added that defense of the patria meant fighting gachupines. The popular discourse absorbed elements of elite thought but turned it to revolutionary purposes. The political changes that took place in Spain before the return of Fernando VII also allowed an easier diffusion of the new political identity of ciudadano in the colonies.65

The influence of Lozano and Aguilar is apparent in the proclamations of Mariano Olarte, written in the rustic Spanish of a village-educated insurgent. In his own proclamations, Olarte adopted the terminology and mimicked the mocking tone of Aguilar’s dispatches. Even before 1820, Olarte’s discourse recognized villagers’ rights as citizens and supported their demands for increased local autonomy. In an 1819 document, for example, he referred to the lives of villagers under the viceroyalty as similar to those of “beasts of burden” and “slaves.”66. He lauded the “nationals” (i.e., insurgents) because they offered villagers control of local politics in opposition to the towns, which were then under royalist military command. Olarte’s words indicate that political autonomy was high on the list of rebel objectives:

We must no longer allow ourselves to be ruled by Viceroys, oydores, and subservient ministers of the tyranny that has sucked the blood from our hearts; rather we must govern ourselves so that w'e may see the subjects as brothers, not as mules or animals, which up to now is how the previous government has viewed us. Yes, my brothers, those who have offered you amnesty are the same ones who would shackle you with the chains of slavery.67

In his declaration Olarte introduced the image of the beast of burden, a metaphor that worked on different levels. From the perspective of indigenous villagers, Olarte’s comments reminded his readers (and listeners) that colonial officials and royalist military commanders continually imposed forced labor. His condemnation of how Indians were treated as beasts of burden (jumentos) struck a responsive chord among Indians who had been forced to give personal service to officers and functionaries. Here the political demand for autonomy had clear economic overtones for the Totonacs holding out with him in the hills. On a more general level, Olarte was challenging the caste system and the unequal distribution of burdens and privileges that permeated the entire colonial order. The idea of brotherhood served as Oiarte’s term for citizen and evoked a claim of egalitarianism within the insurgent movement.

Olarte’s denunciation of slavery indicates that peasants perceived their new political rights in terms of local systems of labor and exploitative taxation. A new, aggressive definition of citizenship also appeared in the “pacified” communities. After 1820 the constitutional regime provided the pueblos with new means by which to oppose the actions of petty officials and military commanders. In 1821 the subdelegado of Yahualica, José Gómez Escalante, wrote an alarmed letter stating that the local Indians had become excessively proud of their rights. “The vain Indians,” he said, “have with gusto begun to call themselves citizens.” The immediate cause of Gomez’s protest was the Indians’ refusal to provide the labor services that subdelegados had traditionally enjoyed.68

The declaration of Olarte also indicates how far the rhetoric of Spanish constitutionalism had penetrated the ranks of rural insurgents. Jaime Rodriguez has demonstrated that the Cortes de Cádiz undermined the position of the royalist government. Indeed, Olarte’s declaration seems to mimic the language of the Cortes that was published in the Gazeta de Mexico: “From this moment, American Spaniards, you see yourselves elevated to the dignity of free men . . . your destinies no longer depend on Ministers, Viceroys, nor Governors; they are in your hands.69 After Fernando VII revoked the Constitution of i8iz, insurgents found it even easier to wrap themselves in the cloak of Spanish constitutionalism.

Insurgents who accepted government amnesties after the readoption of the constitution in 1820 demonstrated considerable independence of thought when interpreting the specifics of the new legal order. But even before December 1820, they had obviously discussed the meaning of the constitution with envoys who had been sent to rebel camps. Thus when Olarte accepted the amnesty, it became clear that his view of constitutional rights differed from that of local royalist commanders. Only two weeks after Olarte’s surrender, these differences gave Barradas cause for second thoughts about the peace process. He complained that “seditious letters opposed to the healthy morality of religion and society” were passing among the pacified insurgent commanders.70 Barradas’s experience was not unique; other royalist military commanders reported renewed agitation throughout New Spain. But for Barradas, the priests negotiating the peace were to blame for the subversive tone of the letters. And indeed, some local priests were extremely sympathetic to the insurgents’ interpretation of the new constitutional order. For example, in a letter to José Moreno, Francisco Parroga, the párroco of Huehuetla, interpreted the constitution promulgated in 1820 as a product of the constitution that Morelos and his followers had adopted in Apatzingán:

I have written you three letters that have gone without response in which I inform you of the joy that came to our America when the Americans promulgated the worthy constitution [of Apatzingán] in the year of [1]814. When the government refused to accept this in order to keep us forever as its slaves, all Americans took up arms until they saw that what they demanded had been carried out. The happy day has arrived in which we Americans can have a break from so much misery, from the hunger and lack of clothing we have suffered, we have emerged to see the establishment of the Constitution to which we American priests have sworn loyalty.71

In the same letter, Parroga invited the “national troops” to swear loyalty to the newly promulgated constitution, because if the “old bayonets . . . challenge our liberty, together we are the national troops who are ready to resist.” Addressing those who had accepted amnesty, he added that “all the pueblos will declare that you are not pardoned (indultados) but rather free citizens, loyal to your homeland, who did not put down your arms until you saw the Constitution of which we have dreamed established.”72

Barradas was correct to worry about the nature of the rebel correspondence. Essentially, the rebels were claiming the right to rebel if they felt that the army violated the constitution. In January 1821, Barradas reported that seditious proclamations were circulating in the newly pacified region. A group calling themselves “padres de la patria” issued a document that called for independence on the grounds that the Spaniards dominated the Cortes and the king was too far away to understand American needs. The letter carried a municipal seal and apparently originated in Jalapa.75

Pueblo and Nation

The Mexican War of Independence was undoubtedly a regional affair, rooted, as Brian Hamnett points out, in the social tensions of local societies.74 As we have seen, even within a given locale the insurgency was a loose confederation of rebel camps, each with its own caudillo, who jealously guarded his autonomy of action. The violence of independence heightened the already provincial orientation of the colonial economy. No overarching economic identity existed that would provide the impetus for a national state, and even the colonial army became balkanized as the war progressed.75 If the factors that historians have often designated as having promoted national unification were absent, what did the nation mean in 1821?

Mexico’s new independent reality was born out of the decentralization of power that occurred during the war. Revealing a central tenet of the insurgency, Father Parroga’s letters quoted above used the term pueblos inter changeably with nación, as if the “national” audience were a plurality of pueblos, revealing a central tenet of the insurgency. The rural insurgents approached the nation from a localized perspective. They promoted a vision of a decentralized nation where local traditions could survive in defiance of Mexico City. As Knight has noted, this formulation of identity had its advocates throughout the nineteenth century and can be summed up in Ignacio Ramirez’s phrase, “El municipio es la nación.”76 Insurgents seemed to have imagined the nation as a confederation of regions, a pluralist reality, just as they had organized the insurgency itself. Indeed, the federal constitution adopted in 1824 was one attempt to accommodate the new political realities produced by the war. The new Constitution of 1824 conceived of the nation as a union of sovereign provinces, in other words, as a collection of patrias.77

While many theorists of national identities assume that nationalism was exceptionally thin in early-nineteenth-century Latin America, involving only a fraction of the creole population, the events surrounding Coyusquihui suggest that alternative nationalisms developed on the peripheries of New Spain.78 The negotiated settlement and the letters to and from local insurgents supposed that sovereignty resided in an authority other than the monarch. According to their interpretation of the constitution readopted in 1820, the nation was composed of strong and autonomous municipalities, capable of defying the power of the “old bayonets.” Indeed, the barrier between elite and popular discourse was more porous than it now appears, and villagers participated in the ideological creation of the nation along with the creole elite. The spread of the cult of the Virgin of Guadalupe into New Spain’s hinterland is a case in point. The local patron saint of Mexico City became a national symbol as creole priests, trained in the Basilica of Guadalupe, promoted the cult in their Indian parishes. At the same time, muleteers spread the practice of the cult along commercial routes.79 By 1810 the cult provided a supravillage identity, enabling the insurgents to transcend the local patron saints of individual villages. Benedict Anderson assigns a central role to the creole elite’s “bureaucratic career” pilgrimages in the creation of national identities. William Taylor’s work resonates with Anderson’s idea of pilgrimage and goes one step further by suggesting how creole priests (and muleteers) could promote a national cult of the Virgin in their remote parishes. Thus the Guadalupe symbol was far from traditional; it represented the genesis of new practices in the villages. The fact that by 1810 indigenous insurgents adopted the language of a national virgin saint to justify their actions indicates that they found no contradiction between the new nation and their local patron saints.

Indian villagers were often less provincial than observers have supposed. In their commercial transactions and efforts to pursue litigation in the central courts, Totonacs from the coast made frequent trips through the sierra de Puebla, an activity that gave them the elements to create a vision of national space. Mexican insurgents adopted a nationalist discourse before the emergence of national markets or a united national elite, a process that confirms the emerging consensus that nations are not a natural phenomenon but are ideologically constructed. Insurgents sought to create a nation out of the localist impulses of the rebellion and the overarching elements inherited from colonial society. The insurgents “imagined” a nation from below without the regions being subordinated to the national center. Although this regional vision of the state did not triumph, this does not mean that it was not crucial in the formation of the nation during the nineteenth century.80


Observers of rural Mexico agree that indigenous villages were fraught with internal divisions. Studies of Totonac communities in the sierra de Puebla describe territorial animosities occasionally overlain with ethnic divisions as well as other social tensions.81 The insurgency added new forms of political protest to this inflammatory mix of social and political tensions. Independence offered villagers new opportunities to renegotiate power in Mexico’s hinterlands.

The insurgency shared with the more modest riots of the late eighteenth century common roots in the politics of rural villages. As in the colonial period, there were factional splits within and between villages, fueling social conflict. The insurgents challenged the ways in which rural communities functioned, both internally and in their relations with “outsiders.” The constitution readopted in 1820 accommodated some of the changes in popular politics that villagers had developed during the long period of guerrilla warfare.

The insurgents’ attitude toward this constitution indicates that the independence movement had created a critical shift in ideas concerning government and political identities. Earlier colonial revolts were brief protest movements designed to redress specific abuses of local officials. But by the end of the war of independence, rather than frame their nonconformity in terms of dissatisfaction with particular officials, villagers asserted their rights to control local officials. This was a slow process, assisted by the lack of clear legal authority during the Spanish king’s absence. While the rebels’ early grievances recalled the “naive monarchism” of colonial riots, by 1820 Olarte had come to question the foundation of Spanish rule, describing it as “three hundred years of Tyranny,” language borrowed from Spanish declarations about the Constitution of Cádiz readopted in 1820 that came to form part of the liberal heritage of nineteenth-century Mexico.82 More than just the issue of monarchy, Olarte repudiated the traditional status of Indians as subordinate subjects in the colonial system. Villagers in northern Veracruz began to describe themselves as citizens rather than subjects; and a language that stressed national service rather titan royal service became the norm. The activity of Olarte and the negotiated settlement that brought a truce to the region indicate that Indians had developed a set of political objectives during the war and they did not cease fighting until they had achieved some of their aims.

The ten years of war created a profound disruption in the old order, thwarting efforts to return to the past. The war had so widely diffused political and even military power, that when the Plan de Iguala offered greater autonomy to the provinces, the viceregal government quickly collapsed.83 The actions of the villagers at the end of the war presage some of the conflicts of the new nation. At the center of the negotiated settlement with the Coyusquihui warriors was a promise of autonomy by way of the constitutional ayuntamiento. Such a promise left unresolved the issue of how the municipio would relate to the nation and how the municipio would encompass the former functions of the republica de indios. The constitution reauopteu in 1520, along with subsequent events, left unanswered the questions of who would rule in the hinterland and what the relation between a national state and the patria chica would be.


In the riots of 1787, the government had to mobilize the coastal militia and even regular troops to put down the disorders. Col. Ildefonso Arías de Saavedra recommended that regular troops be stationed permanently in Papantla because the frequent rebellions in the area had given “the natives a propensity to this class of disorders”; Archivo General de la Nación (hereafter AGN), Criminal (hereafter AGN-C), vol. 315, exp. 2, fol. 94. The Indian community rioted against the alcalde mayor, priests, and occasionally resident Spanish merchants. For a detailed account of the riots, see Michael T. Ducey, “Viven sin ley ni rey: rebeliones coloniales en Papantla, 1760-1790,” in Procesos rurales e historia regional (sierra y costa totonacas de Veracruz), ed. Victoria Chenaut (Mexico City: Centro de Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social, 1996). The principal manuscript evidence concerning the rebellions may be found in AGN-C, vol. 284, exp. 5, and vols. 303, 304, 308, 315, 333; and the Archivo General de Indias, Sevilla (hereafter AGI), México, legs. 1934 and 1935. Brian R. Hamnett, Roots of Insurgency: Mexican Regions, 1750-1824 (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1986), 79 -80, also briefly discusses the colonial antecedents to the war in Papantla.


Barradas to Viceroy Ruiz de Apodaca, 17 Nov. 1820, AGN, Operaciones de Guerra (hereafter AGN-OG), vol. 725, fol. 332. On the crisis in the royalist garrisons, see Barradas to Viceroy Ruiz de Apodaca, 7 Oct. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 223. Adding to Barradas’s difficulties was a complete lack of assistance from the new constitutional ayuntamientos, which suspended payment of war taxes and recalled their citizens from militia service.


In Mariano Olarte’s letter to Prudencio Ibáñez, one of his lieutenants negotiating with the authorities, Olarte wrote that he was happy to see that Ibáñez had received die new constitution, and as you [Ibáñez] describe it to me, I and all of our comrades willingly embrace the [constitutional] party”; Olarte to Ibánez, 15 Nov. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 725, fol. 335. See also Olarte to Col. José Barradas, 15 Nov. 1820, AGN-OG vol. 725, fol. 334. It is interesting to note the differences between the language Olarte used in his letters and that of the official declaration in which he recognized the government. While in the declaration he abjures his errors, in his letters he emphasizes his interpretation of the constitution, as if to imply that the government had come around to his way of thinking.


Two significant exceptions to this observation are Peter F. Guardino, Peasants, Politics, and the Formation of Mexico's National State: Guerrero, 1800-1857 (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1996); and Virginia Guedea, La insurgencia en el Departamento del Norte: los llanos de Apan y la sterra de Puebla, 1810-1816 (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; Instituto Dr. José María Luis Mora, 1996). Both of these works sally into the relatively uncharted territory of the mobilization of insurgents in their regional contexts and emphasize the efforts of village rebels to restructure the state in their favor. Jaime E. Rodríguez has developed a discussion of this shift within Spanish American thought as a result of the constitutional crisis of 1808 and the subsequent wars for independence; see his La independencia de la América española (Mexico City: El Colegio de México; Fideicomiso Historia de las Américas; Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1996).


John Tutino’s synthesis of the Bajío region in the years leading up to the war is one of the finest examples of this scholarship; John Tutino, From Insurrection to Revolution in Mexico: Social Bases of Agrarian Violence, 1750-1940 (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1986), 61-100. See also Eric Van Young, “Moving toward Revolt: Agrarian Origins of the Hidalgo Rebellion in the Guadalajara Region,” in Riot, Rebellion, and Revolution: Rural Social Conflict in Mexico, ed. Friedrich Katz (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1988), and “Los ricos se vuelven más ricos y los pobres más pobres. salarios reales y estándares populares de vida a fines de la colonia en México,” in La crisis del orden colonial: estructura agraria y rebeliones populares de la Nueva España, 1750—1821, trad. Adriana Sandoval (Mexico City: Alianza Editorial, 1992); and Enrique Florescano, Precios del maíz y crisis agrícolas en México, 1708-1810, rev. ed. (Mexico City: Ediciones Era, 1986), 89-91, 100-2.


Ranajit Guha, “The Prose of Counter-Insurgency," in Selected Subaltern Studies IV, cds. Ranajit Guha and Gayarti Chakravorty Spivak (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1988), 47. Van Young’s work goes the furthest in addressing the popular logic behind the insurrection.


Jaime E. Rodríguez O., “From Royal Subject to Republican Citizen: The Role of the Autonomists in the Independence of Mexico;" in The Independence of Mexico and the Creation of the New Nation, ed. Jaime E. Rodríguez O. (Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center Publications, 1989), 20. Rodríguez’s recent, Independencia de la América española demonstrates that he has modified his view of this division between elite and popular ideology. See, for example, his discussion on Enlightenment ideas and the popular classes, pp. 16, 61. Guardino also emphasizes the unity of political thought in the colony and notes, as does Guedea, that the insurgents framed their initial discussions of political legitimacy in terms of Spanish legal traditions of the pueblo; see Guardino, Peasants, Politics, 45, 49-69. Brian R. Hamnett, “Mexico’s Royalist Coalition: The Response of Revolution, 1808-1821,” Journal of Latin American Studies 12 (1981), also provides a fine survey of elite reactions to the insurgency.


James C. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1990), 18, 49, 54, 134 – 35, proposes that subaltern classes constantly use the ideology of ruling classes to justify a whole gamut of acts of defiance from petitions and court cases to outright rebellion. Scott’s discussion of the subversive potential of the “good czar” myth is particularly useful; sec pp. 96-103.


For examples, see “Proclamation of Coronel Felipe Lobato,” 26 Aug. 1813, AGN-OG, vol. 4, fol. 193. In the same document, Lobato referred to the royalists as “the emissaries of Napoleon”; see also Antonio Lozano to Col. Francisco Antonio Peredo, 26 Aug. 1813, AGN-OG, vol. 84, exp. 2, fol. 27. Guedea has demonstrated that the insurgency made a serious effort to introduce a constitutional basis to rebel rule in the sierra de Puebla; see her Insurgencia, 51-53, 67, 72-73, 78-79.


Cabecera and sujeto refer to the political divisions within communities that evolved as part of colonial town government. Cabeceras, or head towns, served as the seats of Indian cabildos, whereas sujetos were villages under the jurisdiction of head towns. Leaders of cabeceras often enjoyed privileged access to community resources, including claims on the labor and taxes of sujetos. For a discussion of cabccera-sujeto conflicts in the colonial period, see Ducey, “Viven sin ley,” 25, 41-42. Guardino has pointed out that divisions Within villages became evident during the war of independence, when villagers loyal to official and merchant interests were accused of being “agachupinados”; see Guardino, Peasants, Politics, 52-53.


Marcelo Carmagnani, El regreso de los dioses: el proceso de reconstitución de la identidad étnica en Oaxaca, siglos XVII y XVIII (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1988), 208-9; and Bernardo García Martínez, Los pueblos de la sietra: el poder y el espacio entre los indios del norte de Puebla hasta 1700 (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 1987), describe the origins of political hierarchies within indigenous villages in Oaxaca and the Totonac sierra de Puebla, respectively.


Olarte burned the barrio oi Zapote on 24 Dec. 1819. The commander of the 2a. División del Norte (Veracruz) reported that one of the barrios, Naranjos, was especially loyal to Olarte, and continued to resist after the royalists reoccupicd the town; González de la Vega to Calleja, 8 Sept. 1813, AGN-OG, vol. 692, fols. 422-23. Over the course of the war, both royalists and insurgents found Papantla a difficult town to control because of the continuous presence of a “fifth column,” regardless of which side controlled the community. As late as 5 Nov. 1820, Juan Baptista Vidal, commander of Papantla, wrote to José Miguel Fernández, commander of Tuxpan, that he feared a rebellion in Papantla due to a conspiracy that he suspected to exist involving the “cabecilla” Mariano Olarte and the Indians of the town; AGN-OG, vol. 767, fol. 343. On Pérez Ticante, see Rincón’s service report of 28 Oct. 1819, AGN-OG, vol. 890, fob 153. Pérez Ticante participated in the expedition that killed Mariano Olarte’s father, Serafín. Mariano had the opportunity to reciprocate when he captured Pérez Ticante’s son and held him hostage while threatening to execute him if his father did not desert the royalist cause; Capt. Carvallo to Barradas, 16 Oct. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 251. On the death of Serafín Olarte, see Lubían to de la Concha, 6 Jan. 1819, AGN-OG, vol. 124, fol. 59.


Rodríguez, Independencia de la América española, 237-38, 243-44, demonstrates that the political traditions of ayuntamiento rights were turned to new uses in 1820. The rise of constitutional rule was also at the root of the royalist military crisis at the end of the war; see Christon I. Archer, “Where Did All the Royalists Go? New Light on the Military Collapse of New Spain, 1810-1822,” in The Mexican and Mexican-American Experience in the Nineteenth Century, ed. Jaime E. Rodríguez O. (Tempe: Bilingual Press, 1989), 37-38. I describe the specifies of the local royalist limitations in Michael T. Ducey, “La causa justa: los defensores del dominio español en el norte de Veracruz., 1810-21," in El conservadurismo mexicano del siglo XIX, eds. Will Fowler and Humberto Morales Moreno (Puebla: Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, 1999).


See Alicia Hernández Chávez, La tradición republicana del buen gobierno (Mexico City: El Colegio de México; Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1993), 26-27. Hernández Chávez describes the rapid creation of ayuntamientos in 1820 and notes some of the tensions existing within traditional repúblicas de indios, 39-42.


See, for example, the description of ayuntamientos in the Huasteca in Antonio Escobar Ohmstede, “La conformación y las luchas por el poder en las Huastecas, 1821-53” Secuencia (Mexico City) 36 (n. época) (1996): 15.


Terry Rugeley, Yucatán's Maya Peasantry and the Origins of the Caste War (Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1996), 40 -42. Rugeley notes that in some eases villagers directly attacked the república de indios, but that in general the old repúblicas coexisted with the new ayuntamientos. I have described a similar situation in northern Veracruz; see Michael T. Ducey, “From Village Riot to Regional Rebellion: Social Protest in the Huasteca, 1750-1870” (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Chicago, 1992), 214-30, and “Liberal Theory and Peasant Practice: Land and Power in Northern Veracruz, Mexico, 1826-1900,” in Liberals, the Church, and Indian Peasants: Corporate Lands and the Challenge of Reform in Nineteenth-Century Spanish America, ed. Robert H. Jackson (Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 1997), 72-73.


José María Bausa, “Bosquejo geográfico y estadístico del partido de Papantla,” Boletín de la Sociedad Mexicana de Geografía y Estadística 5 (1857): 376. Materials from the late colonial period offer descriptions of the sierra trade; see, tor example, AGN-C, vol. 304, exp. 2, fol. 112. See also Juan Carlos Grosso, “El comercio interregional entre Puebla y Veracruz: de la etapa borbónica al México independiente,” in La Palabra y el Hombre 83 (1992): 85, 88-90; and John Leiby, ed., Report to the King: Colonel Juan Camargo y Cavallero's Historical Account of New Spain, 1815 (New York: P Lang, 1984), 65.


Ample evidence of correspondence between the leaders of the insurrection in the sierra de Puebla, Ignacio Rayón and José Francisco Osorno, and the insurgents of Papantla may be found in AGN-Infidcncias (hereafter AGN-Inf), vol. 84, exp. 2, fols. 1-43; and Virginia Guedea, cd., Prontuario de los insurgentes (Mexico City: Centro de Estudios sobre la Universidad; Instituto Mora, 1995), 140, 171-72, 299, 306, 343.


An early example of this sentiment appeared in December 1810, when a vaquero was arrested in Huejutla for spreading the rumor that the king was traveling with the rebels in a “closed carriage”; see the criminal testimony against Manzano, 13 Apr. 1811, AGN-C, vol. 230, exp. 8, fol. 347. Eric Van Young develops this idea of naive monarchism in “Quetzalcóatl, King Ferdinand, and Ignacio Allende Go to the Seashore; or Messianism and Mystical Kingship in Mexico, 1800-1821,” in Rodríguez, Independence of Mexico, 111. For a brief description of the outbreak of the rebellion that stresses the disloyalty of the militia, see the petition of Papanda militia commander Juan Vidal de Villamil to Calleja, 13 Mar. 1814, AGN-OG, vol. 273, fols. 143-47. In response to the Hidalgo insurrection, the government formed a company of Indian militia in Papanda. This militia revolted in 1812 under the leadership of Serafín Olarte; see Llorente to Viceroy Ruiz de Apodaca, 16 Apr. 1819, AGN-OG, vol. 124, fol. 49.


Issues of credit and local administration seem to far outweigh regional land conflicts. On previous patterns of revolts and resentment over the repartimientos de mercancías in Papantla, see Duccy, “Viven sin ley,” 20-22.


Hugh M. Hamill Jr., “Royalist Propaganda and ‘La Porción Humilde del Pueblo’ during Mexican Independence,” The Americas 36 (1980): 437-38, notes that the royalists took these salary offers seriously enough to address them in their anti-insurgent propaganda. There is extensive documentation that details how rebels subverted the town of Chicontcpec with offers of autonomy, military posts, and the elimination of the gachupín” subdelegado; see AGN-Inf, vol. 17, exp. 7, fol. 161. For a similar case, see Juan Antonio Sánchez to Antonio Cortés of Huejutla, 16 Jan. 1811, AGN Indiferente de Guerra (hereafter AGN-IG), vol. 149, fol. s.n.


In the 1780s, for example, the Papantla creole Ignacio Patiño refused to serve under a pardo sergeant; AGN-IG, vol. 100a, fol. s.n. From 1812 to 1815, militia sergeant Francisco Bermúdez served as one of the leading insurgent commanders in Papantla.


Lt. Col. Carlos M. Llorente wrote to the comandante general and intendente of Veracruz, Brigadier Fernando Millares y Mancebo, that Osorno called on lowland rebels for reinforcements whenever royalist incursions threatened his sierra strongholds. He described the rebels in Papantla as “followers of Osorno”; Llorente to Millares y Mancebo, 15 Jan. 1816, AGN-OG, vol. 525, fol. 1. Likewise, the rebels on the coasts called on saranos when they were threatened by royalist attacks. José Antonio Lozano was originally sent to Papantla to raise cavalry troops for Rayón; see Carlos María de Bustamante, Cuadro histórico de la revolución mexicana, 8 vols. (1846; facsimile, Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Estudios Históricos de la Revolución Mexicana, 1985), 3:481. Guedea, Insurgencia, 61, 67, notes that Lozano was one of the principal organizers in Osorno’s camp.


In 1816 Llorente stated that through the ports that they held, rebels had received “great and continuous quantities of arms and munitions” from overseas; AGN-OG, vol. 526, fol. 165; see also Manuel B. Trens, Historia de Veracuz, 6 vols. (Xalapa: Gobierno del Estado de Veracruz; Mexico City: La Impresora, 1947-50), 3:284. For additional reports of arms shipments, see AGN-OG, vol. 525, fols. 162, 173, 198 (for 1815); vol. 927, fols. 121, 216 (for 1816).


Arturo García López to Gen. Dávila, report, 2 June 1816, AGN-Inf, vol. 38, exp. 8, fol. 152. Osorno had little control over the bands he nominally commanded in the sierra de Puebla; see Guedea, Insurgencia, 33 – 34.


See Lozano to Col. Serafín Olarte, 18 Aug. 1813, AGN-Inf, vol. 84, exp. 2, fol. 20.


See Llorente to Calleja, 31 Jan. 1816, AGN-OG, vol. 525, fol. 11; and Llorente to Viceroy Ruiz de Apodaca, 19 Sept. 1817, AGN-OG, vol. 526, fols. 259-60. For further dispatches from Llorente on the geography of the rebellion, see vol. 526, fol. 128; and vol. 527, fols. 138-46.


During the colonial period, sujetos often came into conflict with cabeceras and Spanish authorities. In 1768 an Audiencia judge ordered that the maquines, elected officials of the sujetos, be suppressed to prevent further outbreaks in Papantla. The judge blamed them for challenging the authority of the Indian gobernador and the Spanish alcalde mayor. His solution effectively increased the power of the cabecera and Spanish officials; see “Causa criminal de tumulto y alzamiento de indios totonacos: centencia [sic],” AGI, México, leg. 1934, fols. 458-59. Rugeley has also noted the central role of sujeto villages and their officials in organizing rebellions in the Yucatán; see his Yucatán's Maya Peasantry, 16, and passim.


All family members, not just male adults, appear in the lists of rebels granted amnesty; see “Lista de indultados,” AGN-OG, vol. 725, fols. 340-46. Loyalist officers also treated women and children captured in insurgent territory as rebels, sending them to be held in loyalist towns, often widi the hope that by imprisoning their families, rebel sons and husbands would feel themselves forced to surrender; see Lt. Col. Manuel González de la Vega, report, 7 Feb. 1814, AGN-OG, vol. 697, fol. s.n.


Llorente to Calleja, 23 Apr. and 17 July 1816, AGN-OG, leg. 525, fols. 97, 116. Llorente described the agricultural base of the revolt in a letter to the viceroy: “In the rugged mountains, Excellent Sir, these perverse wild animals live in the most horrendous vice. In the remotest hills they build their grass huts, and grow their fields of corn, beans, rice, and other grains that this fertile land produces, [and which] easily provides their livelihood”; Llorente to Viceroy Ruiz, de Apodaca, 23 June 1817, AGN-OG, vol. 526, fol. 125v. During insurgency, rebels created these militarized villages throughout much of Mexico. In the Huasteca, another of my research areas, there were rebel redoubts at Venasco, Siete Palmas, Camarones, and Xihuico, to name but a few; see Gaceta del Gobierno de México, vol. 4, no. 359, p. 168; and AGN-OG, vol. 4, fols. 21-28. Rebels near Coahuitlán, in the sierra de Papantla region, built “a large house with the accouterments of a church; although it lacked a saint’s image, it was well protected from animals and the facade was decorated with flowers and a star and there were many burials”; Cap. Ignacio de Zúñiga to de la Concha, Coyutla, 20 Jan. 1819, AGN-OG, vol. 124, fol. 75.


“Declaración tomada al rebelde aprendido Salvador Méndez,” 29 May 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 890, fols. 210-13. In amnesty lists from the Huasteca, the rebels appear organized into repúblicas de indios rebeldes, complete with gobernadores, alcaldes, and escribanos; Lt. Col. José María Lubían, “Lista que manifiesta los individuos de la comprensión de Palo Blanco y Sombrerete que han impetrado la real gracia de Indulto desde 1° de diciembre de 1817,” 27 Feb. 1818, AGN-OG, vol. 122, fols. 6-8.


Ducey, “Viven sin ley,” 25-27. Influence over the república de indios was of great interest to both priests and crown officials, since it gave them access to communal resources as well as to the mechanisms by which to enforce commercial repartimientos.


Luis González notes diat municipalities were the loci of emotional identity and suggests that Mexican nationalism would be more democratic in nature if it were based on the multiple “matrias” of the numerous regions of Mexico; see “Patriotismo y matriorismo, cara y cmz de México,” in El nacionalismo en México: VIII coloquio de antropología e historia regionales, ed. Cecelia Noriega Elío (Zamora; El Colegio de Michoacán, 1992), 490. Compañías de patriotas was one of the terms that royalists favored for their militia units, another example of how the government introduced a new political language into rural Mexico.


Alan Knight, “Peasants into Patriots: Thoughts on the Making of the Mexican Nation,” Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos 10 (1994): 146. Patrias chicas were, in Knight’s view at least, potential building blocks of the nation.


The military reported that 2,051 men, women, and children from Coyusquihui surrendered in December 1820; see “Lista de los individuos presentados al señor D. José Barradas,” 20 Dec. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 725, fols. 340-48.


Llorente to Viceroy Ruiz de Apodaca, 9 May 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 767, fols. 326-28. On 21 June 1820 Llórente published the constitution; see AGN-OG, vol. 768, fol. 97. In referring to the pamphlets from Havana, Llórente gives credence to the idea, as described by Rodríguez, Independencia de la América española, 121, that Havana played a role as a center for the dissemination of subversive literature during the insurgent decades.


For a detailed description of the campaign, see Ducey, “From Village Riot,” 182-97. Christon 1. Archer, “Insurrection-Reaction-Revolution-Fragmentation: Reconstructing the Choreography of Meltdown in New Spain during the Independence Era,” Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos 10 (1994): 80-82, gives a brief account that situates Coyusquihui in a wider military and economic perspective. Before this change in tactics, rebels had been able to use the rainy season to recuperate from royalist offensives; Rincon’s tenacity had a terrible effect on the rebels. According to one of his followers, Olarte still believed that “although [Rincón] might destroy all of the milpas and burn all of the houses,” he would eventually leave, “at the latest when the rains come”; “Declaración tomada al rebelde aprendido Salvador Méndez,” 29 May 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 890, fol. 213.


Barradas to Viceroy Ruiz de Apodaca, 7 Oct. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 223. Llorentc showed little willingness to cooperate with Barradas; indeed, the two had been feuding since 1814, when they served together in the plains of Apan; see Guedea, Insurgencia, 118.


Barradas to the “rebels of Coyusquihui,” 30 Sept. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 235 (emphasis in original). This language recalls that of the royal proclamation of 23 July 1820, and it seems that Barradas was following a script provided by the liberal Spanish Cortes; see Timothy E. Anna, The Fall of the Royal Government in Mexico City (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1978), 197.


Barradas to Viceroy Ruiz de Apodaca, 7 Oct. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 231.


Ibáñez to Aguilar, 4 Oct. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 240. Rincón had also sent peace proposals to the rebels after the promulgation of the constitution. These met with little success because the rebels “had an absolute aversion to him”; see Mariano de los Ríos (one of Olarte’s non-Indian officers) to Aguilar, 4 Oct. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 239; and Rincón to Viceroy Ruiz de Apodaca, 15 Sept. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 890, fol. 260. Méndez voiced the same opinion after his capture, AGN-OG, vol. 890, fol. 212.


“Declaración tomada al rebelde aprendido Mariano González,” 29 May 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 890, fol. 207. A certain Captain Blasco reported that the rebels had executed one of their commanders, Lucas Ximénez, for advocating acceptance of amnesty and that Olarte had disarmed another, Alberto Bermùdez, on suspicion of wanting to obtain an indulto; see Cap. Blasco to Llorente, 21 Jan. 1818, AGN-OG, vol. 767, fols. 142–43. The field diaries of Col. Rincón contain frequent monthly reports of milpas and cañales that had been destroyed, and trapiches, houses, and granaries that had been burned. For examples, see Rincón, “Diario de operaciones,” 1 Apr., 30 Apr., and 1 July 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 890, fols. 175, 199-200, 235.


Ibáñez to Fr. Aguilar, 17 Oct. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 262.


Fr. Aguilar to Barradas, 18 Oct. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 263. See also de los Ríos to Aguilar, 17 Oct. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 267.


Barradas to Viceroy Ruiz de Apodaca, 11 Nov. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fols. 285-86; and testimony of Pablo Antonio Hernández, 7 Nov. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 287. The former rebels claimed that the Indians “disagreed with the [gente] de razón and never wanted to accept the amnesty, and that they were going to cross the Espinal River with their families to go to Palo Gordo and unite with the Morenos.”


Olarte to Barradas, 1 Dec. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 271.


José Francisco González and José Ignacio María Panana to Barradas, 3 Dec. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 282.


González and Partana to Olarte, 30 Nov. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 275.


Viceroy Ruiz de Apodaca to Barradas, 11 Dec. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 270.


Olarte’s letter accepting amnesty, cited at the beginning of this article, described his surrender as an act that embraced the “party of the constitution,” not the government.


Olarte, 23 Apr. 1821, AGN-OG, vol. 725, fol. 377. The situation suggests that Olarte also claimed the right to be the political arbiter of his community with caudillo-like powers.


Eric Van Young, “The Raw and the Cooked: Elite and Popular Ideology in Mexico, 1800-1821,” in The Indian Community of Colonial Mexico: Fifteen Essays on Land Tenure, Corporate Organizations, Ideology, and Village Politics, eds. Arij Ouweneel and Simon Miller (Amsterdam: Centro de Estudios de Latinoamérica, 1990).


See also Ducey, “From Village Riot,” 114-15. Creoles clung to dreams of naive kingship and Fernando VII even after the triumph of the Plan de Iguala, a tendency that indicates that popular and elite consciousness were not completely alien to each other. Anna shows that the Plan de Iguala succeeded because of the widely held hopes that a Bourbon would accept a Mexican throne; Timothy E. Anna, The Mexican Empire oflturbide (Lincoln: Univ of Nebraska Press, 1990), 11, 17, 24. Andean historians have been less reluctant to link indigenous and creole ideologies; for an interesting case, see Alberto I'lores Galindo, “In Search of an Inca,” in Resistance, Rebellion, and Consciousness in the Andean Peasant World, 18th to 20th Centuries, ed. Steve J. Stern (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1987), 201, and passim. See Scott, Domination, 96-103, for a discussion of the revolutionary potential of monarchist beliefs.


Juan Antonio Sánchez to Cap. Antonio Cortés, 11 Jan. 1811, AGN-IG, vol. 149, fol. s.n.


Testimony of Sebastián Antonio (Indian alcalde of Tlatelmaco), 10 Jan. 1812, AGN-C, vol. 251, exp. 12, fol. 321.


Pérez (Indian gobernador of Papantia) to Juan Agustín González, 25 Nov. 1811, AGN-C, vol. 251, exp. 1, fol. 6. In a letter, the rebels claimed to have royal orders to arrest anyone who defended the government “because what the government does favors the gachupines’.' J. M. Cisneros to Diego Hernández (Indian gobernador of Chicontepec), 27 May 1811, AGN-C, vol. 17, exp. 7, fol. 166.


Knight, “Peasants into Patriots,” 141.


Lozano to Juan Pérez, 16 Aug. 1813; and I.ozano to José Mariano Belendes (priest of Coxquihui) on “donation for the nation,” 19 Aug. 1813, AGN-Inf, vol. 84, exp. 2, fols. 22 and 23-24, respectively.


Lozano to “los señores gobernadores y alcaldes de Espinal, Zozocolco, Coxquihui, Chumatlán, Mecatlán, Santo Domingo, Coahuitlán, Coyutla, Chicualoque y Tenampulco,” 2 Aug. 1813, AGN-Inf, vol. 84, exp. 2, fol. 9. See Lozano to Bernardo Angulo, 17 Aug. 1813, AGN-Inf, vol. 84, exp. 2, fol. 23.


Virginia Guedea, “Las elecciones entre los insurgentes, 1811-1813” in Five Centuries of Mexican History: Papers of the VIII Conference of Mexican and North American Historians, San Diego, California, October 18-20, 1990, eds. Virginia Guedea and Jaime E. Rodriguez O. (Mexico City: Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. José María Luis Mora; [Irvine, Calif.]: Univ. of California, Irvine, 1992)> 309-11, discusses tire process of popular participation in the insurgent elections. Guedea’s work on Mexico City elections during the first constitutional period also reveals the importance of increasing popular participation in the political life of the colony. A dramatic evolution of political identities occurred even within “royalist” Mexico; see Virginia Guedea, “El pueblo de Mexico y la política Capitolina, 1808-1812,” Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos 10 (1994): 60-61. Guedea, lnsurgeticia, 78-83, 171-76, endeavors to demonstrate that the sierra insurgents made frequent efforts to create a new political order in their territories. One of the characteristics of changes in political practice during the insurgency is that there were often parallel developments widlin the two sides, with insurgents often borrowing from the practices that came out of the Spanish Constitution; sec also Rodríguez, Independencia de la América española, 123.


Lozano to Nicolás Bravo, 16 Aug. 1813; Lozano to Peredo, 16 Aug. 1813; Lozano to Calixto García (priest of Papanda), 20 Aug. 1813; and Lozano to Peredo, 31 Aug. 1813, on representatives elected from El Espinal; AGN-Inf, vol. 84, exp. 2, fols. 21, 24, 25, 28, respectively.


Letter of José Joaquin Aguilar, “cuartel general por la nación de la sierra y costa de Barlovento,” 2 Dec. 1816, AGN-OG, vol. 65, fols. 57-60. Aguilar’s surviving circulars mirror the Gazeta in that they manifest an obsession with giving the insurgent “parte militar” as a reply to the “partes militares” printed so frequently in the official paper.


The rebel camps, although often independent of each other, seem to have established a systematic mail service to keep in touch. A royalist emissary in the insurgent camp of Palo Blanco reported that mail arrived daily with news of political events; José Ignacio Martínez to Alvarez de Guitian, 20 Mar. 1816, AGN-OG, vol. 65, fol. no.


The royalists often used the term patria in their dispatches. See, for example, Christon I. Archer, “The Militarization of Mexican Politics: The Role of the Army, 1815-1821,” in Guedea and Rodríguez, Five Centuries of Mexican History, 285; also Llorente, 24 May 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 528, fol. 66.


Rafael Sagredo Baeza, “Actores políticos en los catecismos patriotas y republicanos americanos, 1817-1827,” Historia Mexicana 45 (1996): 507-8, notes that in 1814 the crown attempted to prohibit the circulation of Spanish “political catechisms" in the colonies.


Declaration of Mariano Olarte, 1 Mar. 1819, Campo Nacional dc Coyusquihui, AGN-OG, vol. 490, fol. 202.


Ibid. The spelling and calligraphy of the Spanish original indicates that the author had a village education, even though his political vision was clearly not restricted to the village: “lla no ai que dejarse Gobernar de Virreyes, oydores, y Ministriles de jentes de la Tirania que nos an chupado esta Sangre del Gorazon sino Gobernarnos por nosotros mismos para ber en los Subditos unos ermanos no unos Jumentos o animates como nos a bisto asta aqui el Anterior Gobierno, si Ermanos mios esos que os an ofresido el Yndulto Son los Mismos que os an de echar las cadenas desclabitud.”


Biblioteca del Congreso del Estado de Mexico, Toluca, año 1820, leg. 19, folder 1, fol. 2. Archer points out that the constitution made it increasingly difficult for local military men to raise the manpower and fiscal resources needed to continue the war; Christon I. Archer. “‘La Causa Buena’: The Counterinsurgency Army of New Spain and the Ten Years’ War,” in Rodriguez, Independence of Mexico, 106, and “Where Did All the Royalists Go?” 31, 34, 38. Similar protests occurred in the Yucatán, where the Mayas seized upon their newly won rights to refuse clerical demands for taxes and labor during the first constitutional period of 1812 to 1814; see Rugeley, Yucatan's Maya Peasantry, 41-42.


Gazeta de México, vol. 1, no. 56 (18 June 1810): 413, cited in Rodríguez, Independencia de la América española, 120. As mentioned above in the discussion of Aguilar, the insurgents readily borrowed the constitutional rhetoric that appeared in the Gazeta.


Barradas to Viceroy Ruiz de Apodaca, 6 Dec. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fols. 274-75. Rodríguez notes that the restoration of the constitution seems to have created an opening for the noninsurgent autonomists to agitate for deeper changes, Independencia de la América española, 243-44, 248-50. Parroga’s letters may well have fit into this tendency.


Parroga to José Santiago Moreno, (insurgent leader of Palo Gordo), 10 Dec. 1820, AGN-OG, vol. 107, fol. 277.


Ibid., fol. 278. The important distinction that Parroga made in this text is even more striking when one considers that after the triumph of Iturbide, Mexicans began to call Spaniards “capitulados,” that is, people who surrendered and had no rights; see Anna, Mexican Empire oflturbide, 33.


Barradas to Viceroy Ruiz de Apodaca, 8 Jan. 1821, AGN-OG, vol. 725, fol. 363.


Hamnett, Roots of Insurgency, 24, and passim.


Luis Alberto de la Garza notes that one result of the regionalized economy was the failure of the Mexican merchant class to act like a “decent” national bourgeoisie should; see Luis Alberto de la Garza, “El México posindependiente,” in Evolución del estado mexicano, vol. x; Formación, 1810-igio, ed. Germán Pérez Fernández del Castillo (Mexico City: Ediciones El Caballito, 1986), 33. See also Eric Van Young, “Are Regions Good to Think?” in Mexico’s Regions: Comparative History and Development, ed. Eric Van Young (San Diego: Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, Univ. of California, San Diego, 1992), 12-14. The army also failed to become an effective unifying force given that the counterinsurgency effort tended to divide the army into smaller and smaller units with little supervision, while regional commanders sought to create their own semi-autonomous satrapies; see Archer, ‘“La Causa Buena,’” 101; and Hamnett, Roots of Insurgency, 178, and “Royalist Counterinsurgency and the Continuity of Rebellion: Guanajuato and Michoacán, 1813-1820,” HAHR 62 (1982): 48.


Knight, “Peasants into Patriots," 146.


Timothy E. Anna, “Inventing Mexico: Provincehood and Nationhood after Independence,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 15 (1996): 9.


Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed. (London: Verso, 1991), 48.


William B. Taylor, “The Virgin of Guadalupe in New Spain: An Inquiry into the Social History of Marian Devotion,” American Ethnologist 14 (1987): 1, 14, 16-19.


Mario Cerruti describes the consolidation of Latin American nations as a process of linking “regional power bases together.” See Mario Cerruti, “Monterrey and Its Ambito Regional, 1850-1910: Historical Context and Methodological Recommendations," in Van Young, Mexico’s Regions, 146. See also Florencia E. Mallon, Peasant and Nation: The Making of Postcolonial Mexico and Pent (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1994); and Guy P. C. Thomson, “Agrarian Conflict in the Municipality of Cuetzalán (sierra de Puebla): The Rise and ball of Pala Agustín Dieguillo, 1861-1894,” HAHR 71 (1991), and “Bulwarks of Patriotic Liberalism: I he National Guard, Philharmonic Corps and Patriotic Juntas in Mexico, 1847-88,” Journal of Latin American Studies 22 (1990), on peasants and Díaz’s early alliances.


See Carmagnani, Regreso de los dioses, 171, 181, 185-87; and García Martínez, Pueblos de la sietra, 189, 201-4, and passim.


Declaration of Mariano Olarte, 1 Mar. 1819, Campo Nacional de Coyusquihui, AGN-OG, vol. 490, fol. 202; see also “Declaración de los capitanes del campo de Coyusquihui,” 22 Feb. 1819, AGN-OG, vol. 323, fol. 308.


Anna, Mexican Empire of Iturbide, 20-24; and Archer, “Insurrection-Reaction-Revolution-Fragmentation,” 96-98.