Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 October 2021
The ability of the nobility to shore up its position in the face of demographic decline reached its limits in the seventeenth century. Xochimilco’s ongoing financial troubles, which had their twin origins in population loss and the dislocations brought by climate extremes of the Little Ice Age, further destabilized relations across class lines, as did the criminality of a ruling class that had become estranged from the old collective bonds of the community. examines labor drafts and town finances and presents a microhistory of crime and political violence to explain political change. The upheavals were part of a wider, global crisis of the seventeenth century. With the passing of the old dynastic rulers, an alternative basis for authority came into being. By the century’s end, a new cohort of officeholders came to dominate local government whose authority came to rest on good stewardship of the city’s finances and resources. Lineage and esteemed ancestry ceased to be key factors in local politics as non-native peoples began to assume positions of power at a time increasing ethnic and racial complexity.