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The Environmental Conquest of West Mexico: The Lake Pátzcuaro and Malpaso Valley Case Studies

Author(s): Christopher Fisher ; Michelle Elliott

Year: 2017

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Though the next century will bring great environmental challenges the impact of global warming pales in comparison to the dramatic environmental changes associated with European Colonialism, beginning in the late 15th century.

Chief among them is the Conquest of the Americas involving the breakdown of millennial-aged systems of land engineering and tenure, compounded by depopulation, and the introduction of the Euro-agro suite. Throughout Central Mexico the initial century of Conquest Europeanized the landscape limiting subsequent landuse to an adapted Mediterranean-style system of extensive agriculture and pastoralism.

Here we explore the environmental implications of these changes – pre and post conquest – for two disparate regions of Mesoamerica, the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin, Michoacán, and the Malpaso Valley, Zacatecas. I will also demonstrate how the Post Colonial and modern landscape are products of this critical transition, and suggest future implications for conservation and global change.

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The Environmental Conquest of West Mexico: The Lake Pátzcuaro and Malpaso Valley Case Studies. Christopher Fisher, Michelle Elliott. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430903)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16320

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America